Lizzy & Jane
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In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone-including herself-when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.50 (inches)|
Availability: This product will be released on 10/28/14
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Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes only when you've run out of ways to escape.
At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She's lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down.
When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she's losing her dream.
And her means of escape.
When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sisters side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy.
As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature, Elizabeth is forced to reimagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can a New York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?
"Deeply moving and intensely meaningful, Reay's latest gives readers an intimate look into the lives of sisters. Delicious descriptions of food and the closeness that it provides to others gives the novel even more depth." RT Book Reviews, 4-1/2 Stars TOP PICK!
Karen CollierKarenCollier.comAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Another lovely literary novel from Katherine ReayOctober 15, 2014Karen CollierKarenCollier.comAge: 25-34Gender: femaleIm happy to report that Lizzy & Jane lives up to the exceedingly high bar set by Katherine Reays fantastic debut novel, Dear Mr. Knightley. I must say, I wondered where this author could go after such a unique and wonderfully touching first novel. After reading her second gem, Id say shes solidified her spot among my favorite authors. More lovely books please?
I really enjoyed the beautiful quotable prose, complete with literary qualities including clever use of metaphors and symbolism. These elements dont feel forced or clichd, but rather fresh and entirely appropriate to the characters and context of the story. Heres an example I highlighted while reading:
"I paused in the living room. The suns rays shot over Lake Washington and ignited the rooms beige walls, warming them from ginger to gold. New York had been cloudy this spring and Id been cloudy with it, but in this moment all my cloudy spaces felt ablaze with light." (from Chapter 10) Beautiful!
Then theres the heroines use of spice combinations to represent people and their characteristics. I loved the cooking theme throughout, and the way even descriptions of colors and settings came through the lenses of the characters. For example:
"The Infusion Center was painted a deeper shade of cream vanilla extract added to milk, with huge plate-glass windows looking out onto the city." (from Chapter 8)
Just as with Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane incorporates literary references to the novels of Jane Austen and other works of classic literature that carry emotional significance for the main characters. I must admit Id never really paid attention to the food references in Jane Austens books before, but after reading Lizzy and Jane, Im sure theyll be jumping out at me next time I read something of Austens and Ill be reminded of Reays Lizzy.
What I loved most about the book was how the characters and their emotions rang so true to real life. In opening themselves up to others they made themselves vulnerable to greater pain, but finally reaped the benefits of true emotional intimacy. The gradual changes in the individuals behaviors and their relationships also felt more realistic and believable than a single moment of epiphany might have felt.
This book prompted laughter, tears, and yes, I found myself shuddering at the description of a particular injury sustained by one of the characters. Cancer is a difficult subject, but this authors treatment of the subject shows a real empathy for what the people going through it as patients and caregivers must face.
As an author, this is a book I want to re-read and learn from. As a reader, I found this an enjoyable and thought provoking read that I would highly recommend.
Thank you to the publisher Thomas Nelson for providing an advance readers copy through Netgalley for review purposes.
Rambling Reader4 Stars Out Of 5Emotional and MemorableOctober 1, 2014Rambling ReaderQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4In "Dear Mr. Knightley," Katherine Reay showed readers that she doesn't shy away from weighty emotional topics. "Lizzy and Jane" is more evidence of her ability to confront tough subjects and create a memorable reading experience. Though the title suggests that Reay's latest novel is inspired by "Pride and Prejudice" the sisterly relationship is very different from that of their namesakes. Reay's Lizzy and Jane have a distant relationship, and Jane's battle with cancer heightens the stress. Their journey is one of physical and emotional healing, portrayed with realistic detail. The plot takes us where few authors venture - into the life of a family affected by cancer and into the treatment center where patients, families, and nurses are fighting to defeat a formidable foe. It is a topic that is relevant to today's readers, but definitely makes "Lizzy and Jane" a weighty read. Reay portrays real-life family dynamics shaped by present fears and scars from the past. The relationship between Lizzy and Jane is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with moments of healing mixed with moments of hurt. They can cut each other with a careless comment, but also offer comfort that only a sister can provide. Although their bond is not as ideal as Austen's famous sisters, it is reflective of real life and creates a strong message of forgiveness and love.
Reay's talent for crafting fully imagined scenes is evident throughout "Lizzy and Jane." Jane's illness and Lizzy's passion for cooking and literature are portrayed in dynamic detail, and blend to create a cohesive plot. Cancer plays a huge role in the story, impacting nearly every action, even Lizzy's culinary skills. Lizzy's experiments with recipes that will be palatable for Jane are described from preparation to completion, emphasizing the ingredients, aromas, and flavors. Reay's incorporation of classic literary figures, like Hemingway and Austen, is creative and adds a new dimension to the cooking scenes. Whether in Lizzy's restaurant, in Jane's kitchen, or in social situations, food is a constant presence and character itself. I became a bit bored during the food passages, and eventually skimmed them. Foodies and cooks, however, will likely find them interesting and engaging.
It is a requirement for any novel inspired by Austen to contain a dashing hero. "Lizzy and Jane" has two heroes - one for each sister. Jane's Peter is more understated, but still Austen-worthy. While he has flaws and doesn't seem like the most devoted husband in the beginning, his quiet care and love for Jane is soon evident. Nick takes the spotlight with his steadfast personality and respect for both Lizzy and Jane. If readers aren't won over by Nick by the end of the novel, they will find him hard to resist when he quotes from "Persuasion." The path to any Austen devotee's heart is most assuredly through her verses, and Reay blended perfectly with Austen for a savory ending.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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