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Review: The Recipe Club

February 6, 2010

Valerie and Lilly were childhood friends.  They didn’t live close enough to play together on a daily basis, so they wrote letters and exchanged recipes as part of their “Recipe Club”.  Valerie’s father is a teacher and inventor and her mother struggles with agoraphobia.  Her orphaned cousin Ben lives with the family.  Lilly’s mother is a tempestuous actress with a  string of lovers and her father is a psychiatrist who treats Valerie’s mother.

The girls live very different lives.  Valerie’s home is loving and Lilly’s father is often a visitor there.  In fact, Valerie develops a very close relationship with Lilly’s father and he becomes her mentor of sorts.  Lilly parents aren’t close and are often gone from their home for long periods of time, so Lilly grows up as free spirit who loves to try new things.

Valerie and Lily remain great friends into young adulthood when something happens that drives them apart and all but ends their friendship.  Several years later, Valerie discovers an old family secret that draws them back together.

All but one small section of  The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel is told in an epistolary fashion.  I’m a big fan of this style book when it’s done well, and in this case, it is indeed done well.  Lilly and Valerie poured their hearts and their problems out in their letters, so it was very easy to get attached to them.  (The fact that the characters were about the same age as me probably helped some too.)  Through the girls, I got a good feel for the other members of their families and their family dynamics.

The recipes in this book are an added bonus!  Since the girls are sending the recipes to each other, they have fun names like “Worry-Free Waffles” and “Diploma Dip with Veggies.”  The recipes are even indexed in the back of the book.

The Recipe Club is a beautiful book with heavy paper, nice illustrations and a gorgeous cover.  I’m afraid my review doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a fairly quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.  To see who else is participating today, click on the logo.

Review copy provided by FSB Associates.   I am an Amazon Associate.
47 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2010 7:18 am

    Love your review, didn’t you just love the recipes?

  2. February 6, 2010 8:13 am

    This is the second reveiw I have seen for this one and they were both positive – it sounds like something I would like too!

  3. February 6, 2010 8:20 am

    Oh, I should be getting this one soon. I’ve seen great reviews, and I can’t wait to read it.

  4. February 6, 2010 8:31 am

    Sounds good. I’ve seen a few reviews of it around the blogosphere.

  5. February 6, 2010 9:00 am

    I have this book here waiting to be read. I’m so glad you thought it was well done. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  6. February 6, 2010 9:03 am

    I have been attracted to this book for a while, both by the title and the cover. It sounds like it is a book that I would enjoy. Thanks for the great review (and helping me add to that TBR pile)

  7. February 6, 2010 9:22 am

    I haven’t heard of this book.

    I trade recipes with a friend in Australia. its fun to try different foods. A challenge at times to decipher the ingredients, but I always find substitutes as required.

  8. February 6, 2010 9:24 am

    I have this but haven’t read it yet; I’m looking forward to seeing the recipes!

  9. February 6, 2010 9:26 am

    I love the epistolary style…I’m going to have to check this one out!

  10. February 6, 2010 9:40 am

    I wish I could start this one today — sounds perfect for being snowed in!

  11. February 6, 2010 9:47 am

    I do think your review did the book justice! I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m off to add it to my list!

  12. February 6, 2010 10:09 am

    I need this book. Anything that is well-written and is about food (and epistolary to boot!) is a huge draw for me. I think you’ve done a fine job with the review!

  13. stacybuckeye permalink
    February 6, 2010 10:14 am

    This one’s been on my list for awhile . Great review!

  14. February 6, 2010 10:41 am

    Sounds good…I’ve never heard of this book. But I love epistolary formats, too.

  15. February 6, 2010 10:55 am

    I supposedly won this on Librarything in December, but have yet to receive it. I have wanted to read it and your review makes me want to read it even more! Hopefully it comes soon!

  16. February 6, 2010 10:56 am

    This was a really fun and different read…very visually appealing! Hope you have a great weekend!

  17. February 6, 2010 11:41 am

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book, which I’m happy about because it’s on my shelf waiting to be read. 🙂

  18. February 6, 2010 12:18 pm

    I have seen this book around,but did not realize it was epistolary. Well, that seals the deal for me. I MUST get a copy because I adore that format. Thanks for such a great review.

  19. February 6, 2010 1:20 pm

    I am a sucker for a beautiful book…even better if it is a good book too!

  20. February 6, 2010 1:28 pm

    I loved the quality of this book and I tried a few recipes and enjoyed them too. Great review Kathy

  21. February 6, 2010 2:30 pm

    I’m so glad you liked it. l did too. I tried a couple of the recipes and they were also good. I liked the way the recipes reflected their age and place in life as they aged.

  22. February 6, 2010 2:37 pm

    This looks really good! I hadn’t heard of it before, but I’ll keep an eye out for it now!

  23. February 6, 2010 2:55 pm

    I love books with recipes in them, and this one sounds like a great read! Definitely adding it to my TBR now 😉

  24. February 6, 2010 3:16 pm

    I love food and recipes in “regular” books. This one sounds worth reading. Thank you for your review.

    Happy weekend to all! 🙂

  25. February 6, 2010 4:06 pm

    This book sounds like it’s right up your alley because of the recipes. What a fun idea – and I’m not a cook. LOL!

  26. February 6, 2010 4:10 pm

    I’m glad you liked this one Kathy. I hope to get to it soon. Recipes are always a plus for me!

  27. February 6, 2010 6:22 pm

    This sounds great! I’ll look out for it for sure. Great review, Kathy!

  28. February 6, 2010 9:45 pm

    Oh wow this book sounds delightful…and delicious! I also love the cover – so simple yet beautiful!

  29. February 6, 2010 9:50 pm

    I read this one and enjoyed it also, I made one of the recipes for Swedish Crescent Cookies 🙂
    Great review.

  30. February 6, 2010 9:56 pm

    I really enjoyed this book, too! It’s a great read and has some wonderful recipes.

  31. February 6, 2010 10:15 pm

    I was impressed also by the weight of the book and quality of the paper. I really enjoyed it and passed it on to a friend who loves to cook!

  32. February 6, 2010 11:31 pm

    ooh, I love both fiction and non-fiction foodie books. And it’s not often that one has a main character with the same name as I do :-)! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for this one.

  33. justicejenniferreads permalink
    February 6, 2010 11:39 pm

    I’m glad that you like this one. I love books that are written in the epistolary fashion. I think its so creative, and can even be more insightful when done write. Even more, it makes me want to start writing letters again! The recipes sound fun too. Makes me want to start a little recipe club of my own.

  34. kadybug permalink
    February 7, 2010 1:31 am

    Any book dealing with food is a plus for me! I’m off to request it from the library.

  35. February 7, 2010 4:18 am

    This book sounds sooooooo good!

  36. February 7, 2010 9:52 am

    I won this on Librarything in December so I should be getting it soon, hopefully. Great review. I love that there are recipes included. That is always a bonus when reading a foodie book!

  37. February 7, 2010 2:17 pm

    This sounds really good and one I would enjoy on a future plane ride!

  38. February 7, 2010 4:33 pm

    Great review Kathy. I am a fan of epistolary fiction as well and I agree that this book was very well done. I liked the story of their friendship and added bonus with the recipes.

  39. February 7, 2010 5:35 pm

    I also enjoyed this book. Only made one recipe so far, and it was tasty 🙂

  40. February 7, 2010 9:30 pm

    I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. It sounds like such a good read!

  41. February 8, 2010 8:36 am

    This is a GREAT review! I think I want this book. sounds fun.

  42. February 8, 2010 9:23 am

    Cooking and reading…I may need to pick this one up. It sounds like a nice comforting read.

  43. February 8, 2010 2:00 pm

    Ooh, this book sounds good. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the review!

  44. February 8, 2010 3:49 pm

    I have been waiting to hear what you think of this one, and I am really glad that you loved it! I am going to be grabbing a copy of this because any book that has to do with food is of immediate interest to me. I also love the fact that it is filled with recipes that are indexed.

  45. February 9, 2010 1:21 pm

    This sounds wonderful! I too love books that are told through letters (when they are done well, at least). Adding this one to the ever-growing list… thanks for the review!

  46. February 10, 2010 12:25 pm

    An epistolary novel with recipes? Sold!

  47. February 12, 2010 3:26 pm

    This looks like a good one, Kathy. Adding to my requests at the library. Thanks for the recommendation!

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