Lizzy and Jane couldn’t be further from Jane Austen’s famous sisters for whom they are named.
Elizabeth left her family’s home in Seattle fifteen years ago to pursue her lifelong dream—chefing her own restaurant in New York City. Jane stayed behind to raise a family. Estranged since their mother’s death many years ago, the circumstances of their lives are about to bring them together once again.
Known for her absolute command of her culinary domain, Elizabeth’s gifts in the kitchen have begun to elude her. And patrons and reviewers are noticing. In need of some rest and an opportunity to recover her passion for cooking, Elizabeth jumps at the excuse to rush to her sister’s bedside when Jane is diagnosed with cancer. After all, Elizabeth did the same for their mother. Perhaps this time, it will make a difference.
As Elizabeth pours her renewed energy into her sister’s care and into her burgeoning interest in Nick, Jane’s handsome coworker, her life begins to evolve from the singular pursuit of her own dream into the beautiful world of family, food, literature, and love that was shattered when she and Jane lost their mother. Will she stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane—and Elizabeth to Nick’s Mr. Darcy—or will she return to the life she has worked so hard to create?
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.
Read an Excerpt
Lizzy & Jane
By KATHERINE REAY
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Katherine Reay
All rights reserved.
One misstep can kill a New York restaurant.
During cooking school we scoffed at Chef Palmer's warning, knowing it was true but equally certain it couldn't happen to us—and certainly not to me, Palmer's protégé. I shifted the spices back and forth in the sauté pan, dwelling over each word, each inflection, and my many recent missteps.
"Elizabeth? You good?" Tabitha, my sous chef, tapped my shoulder.
"Sure ... just thinking." I glanced around the kitchen. "Palmer. We're slow tonight, even for a weeknight."
"Sounding the death knell?"
"Too soon?" I matched Tabitha's sarcasm with sincerity.
She pinched me. "Stop it."
"I was only kidding. Besides, we're up this week in reservations and walk-ins." I tilted my head toward the steel door leading to the dining room. "Is she here?"
"Just walked in." Tabitha paused. "I hope you know what you're doing."
"Getting a critic to disagree with the Village Voice review will diminish its power. We need that."
"Not if she reinforces it." Tabitha flicked my hand. "Careful."
An acrid smell struck me. I'd over-toasted the spices again. I shook the pan over the compost bin, wiped it with a rag, and tossed it onto the burner grate. The clank reverberated through the stainless steel kitchen, louder than the chaos around us.
I leaned back against the counter and closed my eyes.
"I'll do that," Tabitha said. "Go wander. Chat her up. Face time with critics helps."
"That's not a good idea right now." I waved to the pan. "You go. You're better at that stuff. I'll fix this."
"No one wants to see the sous chef." She started sorting more spices.
"Fine." I smoothed my hands down my apron and pushed through the door, glancing down at tables as I crossed the dining room.
A few customers tried to catch my eye, but the critic was somewhere, and I was afraid to see her selection, her eyes, her possible disappointment. Instead I focused on the dishes. The grilled sea bass with lime cucumber salsa caught my eye—on point and executed without flaw. Yet it lay lifeless and flat on the white china plate. What was wrong? A missing ingredient? Did it need something new? I chased the questions around the dining room before beelining back to the kitchen.
"Did you have fun?"
I rolled my eyes, and Tabitha's narrowed in response as she moved on to a balsamic reduction. "I need to tell you something else." She pushed a bowl of perfectly toasted spices to me.
"Paul toured a man around your kitchen today." She waited until she had my attention. "He was in street clothes, but he was a chef. The way he inspected the knives, the stoves ... either that or the health board."
"What time was this?"
"But he knew I was coming in late today." I shrugged. "I'm sure it's nothing. I'll talk to him about it. Let's finish service."
The Wednesday evening progressed without another hitch, but I felt compressed and tight—so unlike long-ago evenings that were fun, vibrant, and flawless, when tough work energized rather than drained. Tonight my baseline required Herculean effort; a part of my mind couldn't stop puzzling over Paul's mystery visitor.
When the kitchen slowed, I gave up manufacturing a game face and headed to the alley. I propped the back door open with the broken stop and leaned against the brick wall. I was not stupid enough to close my eyes here—after all, it was a dark alley in New York's meatpacking district—but I was desperate enough to stand there alone for as long as it took to regain a hint of equanimity.
A small movement at my feet startled me. "What are you doing here? I thought you'd gone." I knelt down and reached out as the cat approached cautiously.
She tiptoed, as if leaving her escape hatches open. I thought of it as "she," but the cat could have been a boy for all I knew. We weren't good friends.
"You need a home, silly. You need a name." I stroked her back and swept over a sticky patch. "Blech."
She curled closer. "Oh no, I'm not patting you after that, and don't get any ideas about me. We've been through this." She purred again. "I'll bring you some cream. Stay here."
I pulled the door open and saw the dishwasher fiddling with his phone. A spicy scent drifted toward me. One of my cardinal rules: no scent in the kitchen. It messes with one's palate—it also reminded me of my mom and divided my focus.
He almost dropped his phone in the sink in his haste to hide it. "Yes, Chef?"
"When you get a chance, take a bowl of cream to that cat out there."
"And, Enrique? Put the phone away and scrub off the cologne. You know the rules."
At eleven p.m., waiters collected the final orders.
The Feast is over—for tonight. The mantra played through my brain as it did every night, supplanting Palmer's. My mother used to announce the end of the "feast" at each family dinner, as if wiping down the counters after one meal marked the moment to begin dreaming toward the next. I named the restaurant Feast in her honor, as a way to remember. And yet she drifted further away with each meal and each evening. My thoughts flickered to my sister, Jane. Did she remember? Did she say it to her family each night?
The kitchen door swung open as Tabitha returned from her nightly tour of the dining room. She caught my eye and mouthed, Paul. I sighed and crossed the prep area to the small closet by the freezer to check my makeup and hair. Blond and pale naturally—tired didn't help.
"Hello, Anne," I mumbled into the mirror.
I jumped. I hadn't realized Tabitha had followed me. "Anne Elliot. Persuasion. I've lost my bloom."
A normal evening's work shouldn't sap me. "My glow? My joie de vivre?" I applied some lip gloss.
"Paul's waiting at his usual table."
I squeezed her arm, then pushed through the steel door and surveyed the softly lit room, warm light playing against the dark wood of the bar and the floor, and I felt my mood lift. This was my sanctuary. But only about a third of the tables were still occupied. Palmer was right—one misstep can kill a restaurant. Mine.
I found Paul in a center booth with an open bottle of wine in front of him. He was leaning back against the wall, watching me, studying the room and absently fingering the bottle's label. Perfectly pressed, precisely dressed, with just the right hint of gray at his temples.
I slid in next to him. "Robert Craig? Howell Mountain?" I tilted the bottle.
"I hadn't tried the '07. Here's a glass for you." He slid a glass under my fingertips. "How was tonight?"
"Exhausting." I leaned back against the balustrade, swirling the wine in the glass. It picked up the light and glowed ruby red and warm.
"You say that every night."
"And it's true every night." I took a sip and let the wine rest in my mouth. "It didn't used to be," I whispered, then snapped myself awake. Paul Metzger, as much as I knew he cared about me, was still my boss. His venture capital firm owned Feast.
"I need to talk to you about that, dear."
I sat straight. "Dear? You only say that when you're annoyed."
Paul chuckled. "I keep saying you know me best. Lisa never caught on to that one."
"I'll be sure to prep your next wife."
"Very funny, dear." Paul's voice dropped, low and careful.
I turned to face him directly. "Out with it."
"Feast is underperforming." His glance swept the room. "You can see that."
"I can. And I'm sorry. I'll fix it."
Paul reached over and covered my hand. "I know you want to, but I've been watching. I don't think you know how."
"What do you mean?"
"Your hours are beyond reasonable, even for you. Your food ... it's tight, not as expressive as usual. I called John to discuss it."
I narrowed my eyes in frustration. I wanted to scream, I'm not a child, but on some level, when it suited Paul and Chef John Palmer, I was.
"And what did you two diagnose?"
"Burnout? Stress? We're not sure, but I've got a lot invested in Feast, so I'm making a move. I hired you a new chef de cuisine." Paul raised his hand as my jaw dropped. "Before you say anything, Trent Murray trained at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and spent years under Dugar at Pot au Poulet. He's got seventeen thousand followers on Twitter, dozens of appearances on the Food Network, and he knows how to create the buzz we need."
"That's not what I'm about. That's show. That's not food."
"Elizabeth, John Palmer trained you and pushed me to back you. He's your biggest champion, and even he's concerned. It's a small culinary community and there's chatter. We need a rainmaker."
"It's just a slump."
"Call it anything you want, my dear, but it's real and it's affecting Feast. I'll call it Jane, if you don't mind."
I shot him a look.
"You can't multitask, Elizabeth—you never could. That's partly why you're so gifted in the kitchen; you're usually so focused. But right now you're divided."
"I don't mean to be. Jane's got her battle and I've got mine. I know that sounds horrid, but I've put everything I've got into this place. Don't hire somebody else."
"Two close friends fight breast cancer as I sit here. Don't tell me their friends and husbands don't feel that, don't fight beside them. And when Kara went through it five years ago, I dropped everything to help her, and we'd already been divorced for a decade. And your mother? I know you better than to think you believe what you just said."
I sat back and closed my eyes, letting Paul's words sink through me. I recalled a night three years before when he and I, flush with the excitement of a glittering launch, had sat in this very booth and chatted for hours. The empty restaurant, the soft leather cushions, the quiet after the chaos—we were in our own world. He shared stories from his marriages, his ex-wife management strategies, the woman he was pursuing for wife number three. Stories about his children, who were scarcely a decade younger than I. And I told him about leaving home for college, about cooking school, my early jobs, and, eventually, my mom. How her perfume smelled of gardenias; how she couldn't cook worth a darn but loved it nonetheless; how I'd started cooking at twelve to spend time with her and basically took over the kitchen at thirteen; how we had been so alike and created magic together; and how, when I was eighteen, all that magic died with her. Paul had never used that moment, that vulnerability, against me until now.
"I consider you a friend, Elizabeth," he said, "more than that on some days, and your personal decisions are your own, but this is business."
"I know. And I understand ... I just didn't expect this." I leaned forward and swirled my wine as my eyes trailed from him to the huge mahogany bar that glowed deep brown and red across the room. It captured the gold radiance of the full-wall antique mirror behind it. I had designed it and paired its warmth with white walls and linen-covered tables that still looked crisp and cool after the busy night. Black-and-white photographs, all landscapes except the one of Jane and me near the front, made my sanctuary complete. I knew Feast, every quirk and every detail, and now I felt it slipping away.CHAPTER 2
While it was unusual for a restaurant to open for weekday lunch but close for lunch service Saturday and Sunday, the decision had worked in Feast's favor. Weekend dinners glowed with an aura of exclusivity, and I relished the two peaceful mornings. I preferred to prep alone, and these times had long become my favorite moments—and the only days I entered Feast through the front door.
I turned the deadbolt and stepped into the small waiting area in front of the hostess stand. The day was cloudy and cold, and the dining room mirrored the distant coolness of the photographs, which had felt so warm and alive the previous evening. Yet the hush still whispered and soothed me in a city that usually shouted. I paused in the doorway to absorb it.
But something was wrong ... It took a beat to isolate it. Silence. The alarm hadn't sounded. I turned to the panel and noticed the steady green light. I recalled my actions from the night before. I'd set it; I was certain. Had I forgotten a meeting with Tabitha? I caught a noise from the kitchen, soft but discordant, and hoisted my bag tighter as I passed through the dining room, hoping it was she—and questioning my sanity for hurling into the kitchen alone and unarmed if it wasn't. I swung the stainless steel door open, and rap music filled the air.
"Excuse me? Hello?" I yelled. All the lights were on, and music pulsed from the small dock on my desk.
I shouted louder. "Hello?"
Tabitha emerged from the freezer, her eyes wide. "You scared me," she shouted back. "You don't usually come in for another hour." She crossed the room and turned down the music.
"And you for another three. What's up?"
"I wanted to try some new ideas."
I dropped my bag on the small wooden desk. "You're worried."
"I am. This is a tough town and we've got a good gig. How many thirty-three-year-old women get a chance like this? Paul hiring a new chef isn't good, especially for me."
I dropped into the chair and held my head in my hands. "I know."
"Then fix it."
"If I knew what was wrong, it'd be fixed already." I looked up. "Paul said my food was 'tight,' and it's true. Maybe Trent Murray's 'buzz' will be enough distraction to lessen pressure on the kitchen, on me."
"And my job?"
"Paul said nothing about changes. He wouldn't do that." I cringed slightly, knowing that wasn't necessarily true. "At least not yet, not without talking to me."
"Show him some interest."
Tabitha slanted her eyes. "Paul. He's adored you for years. Use it."
"It's not so wrong." She waited a moment, then pointed to something on the desk. "What's that?"
I sighed and tapped the small blue box toward her. "A new charm for the bracelet he gave me. It's a little silver colander."
She raised an eyebrow.
"Please, Tabitha. It's what he does. His assistant, Lois, sends the gifts. They mean nothing."
"It means you're on Paul's list."
"My job is on the line here, Elizabeth." She ground out the words.
"Mine is too." I stood and faced her.
"Not in the same way."
"Hey." I pulled her into a hug. "We're going to get through this. We've survived three years because we can cook. Really cook."
"And what if we don't survive?" Tabitha patted my back. "You have to admit he's handsome."
I gently pushed her back. "And his three ex-wives are beautiful. We're not really having this conversation, are we?"
"But see? It's a sure bet. New York men never divorce the fourth wife." She shrugged at my glare. "No, we aren't really having this conversation. I just feel ... I don't know. I stayed up till three reading Trent Murray's blog postings and credits. It didn't help."
"That's like looking up symptoms on WebMD. Didn't anyone tell you never to do that?"
"Lesson learned." She glanced to her board. "I'm prepping the sofrito for lobster risotto. Can we add it to the menu? Marco texted me he's got some beauties."
"Sure. I love that dish." I pitched my voice high and delighted. It was not a favorite dish of mine, but it was Tabitha's heart song, and she needed something of her own right now.
She nodded, pacified for the moment, and returned to her onions, celery, and carrots. I pulled out vegetables of my own. A hush fell over the kitchen; neither of us wanted to disturb our fragile peace.
"Chef Hughes!" A man with cropped brown hair pushed through the steel door from the dining room. He rushed forward, hand outstretched—magnanimous and glowing, like a TV game show host.
Tabitha and I both jumped, and I heard her murmur, "Trent Murray."
He was lanky and strong and his arms were fully inked. "I'm so pleased to meet you."
"You're Murray?" I looked past him, expecting Paul to follow through the door. "How are you here?"
He stepped closer—too close—and I automatically leaned away. I was about to step back to reestablish my personal space when I caught myself. Don't give any ground. I forced myself a microstep forward.
"Paul told you about me, right?" He shoved his hand toward me again.
"Not that you'd be here. Today. How did you get in here anyway?"
Excerpted from Lizzy & Jane by KATHERINE REAY. Copyright © 2014 Katherine Reay. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Author Katherine Reay has done it again. Her second novel, Lizzy and Jane, surpassed my expectations. Lizzy is a successful NYC chef. But lately everyone in life seems a little off --including her cooking. Her dream job may be in jeopardy, and she doesn't know how to fix it this time. Her older sister Jane lives in Seattle and is battling breast cancer. The sisters are not close. Both are holding on to hurt from the past, and neither has really gotten over the death of their mother. When life throws them together for a few weeks, they will learn how to finally love and forgive (even if they don't always like) one another. The story is liberally peppered with references to my favorite things: food and Jane Austen. And there is a swoon-worthy love interest. What more could you want? This is my favorite book of the year by far.
A great read - very moving. Made me feel, and think.
Just finished this wonderful story with tears in my eyes. If you've ever had a complicated relationship with your sister (& they're ALL complicated)), you must read this book. The author uses situations and settings masterfully to lead us through the complicated nuances of Lizzy & Jane's lives and feelings. The reader becomes each of them for a time & it is amazing. READ THIS BOOK!!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love to cook so I like all the food talk.
First off, this book made me hungry--and in a good way! I'd love to actually meet Lizzy and let her cook for me, because the woman has skills. Setting all that aside though, let's talk about the rest of this book; Lizzy's slow evolution in releasing her past, reestablishing her future, and reclaiming a relationship with her sister...along with finding a handsome man along the way. One of the things I really enjoy about Katherine's books is how the romance she adds to her stories is always at a slow burn. It's not the central theme, yet it is still 100% there. I so enjoy watching her characters' lives progress as they work through change and sometimes pain, yet still find happiness--and not simply by falling in love. Lizzy & Jane was no different. Of course with Jane having cancer, this was a hard read, but Katherine handled the situation beautifully. I loved how these two sisters find healing in their relationship after years. I also really, really loved how caring for Jane helped Lizzy rediscover why she's a chef and how she can use that talent. All together I loved this book. The characters were all rich and so well written. The romance well placed and incredibly sweet. The plot full of healing and restoration. And the ending brought them all full circle and into a new place that left me with hope and joy for their futures. Always a great way to read The End:)
I really enjoyed this book and have seen first hand how siblings can harp on something that has happened and hold a grudge for years. When situations occur that force them together, everything comes poring out of them. This holds true for our two main characters. I love the realistic-ness of the story and the incorporate of literature and food. Katherine's writing flowed and was enjoyable.
This was a delicious book - but like some necessary ingredients in my favorite chocolate chip cookies, parts of this book are very bitter and unpalatable by themselves. I ached to read of the raw emotions Lizzy and Jane tried to sort through, as well as the terrible chemo sessions and lassitude brought on by Jane's cancer. And Lizzy's wounds - physical as well as emotional, future as well as present - really upset me. But I loved this book for its honesty and the sheer pleasure of meeting someone who enjoys food as I do! When the story opens, we meet Elizabeth Hughes, a New York chef with great credentials, but little fire. Shortly after her boss brings in a second, more energetic chef in an effort to revitalize their menu, Elizabeth flees to Seattle. On the surface, she goes to help her sister, Jane, deal with her illness, but she is also hoping to escape the pressures and disappointments of New York and "find herself." As she admits to her sister later, "I needed to cook and you had a warm kitchen." But in the process of helping Jane (and others), Elizabeth begins to thaw out and realize that the most important part of life is being, not doing. And of course a very tender romance is tangled up in this new perspective, too. Can she face her deepest fears and find fulfillment in a fresh start? And will it be in trendy New York or low-key Seattle? Katherine Reay's books seem to be full of challenging topics that I might otherwise avoid. But like a talented cook, she mixes realistic personalities and situations in just the right proportions to create a feast for her readers. This isn't a book to pick up lightly (I confess I renewed it for a second three weeks from my local library before even starting it), but if you enjoy a non-traditional love story with a dash of faith, I heartily recommend this read to you.
Ok, what can I say? When a book is titled "Lizzy and Jane" and references Jane Austen in the description I kind of figured there would be more Jane Austen in it. This is not a straight up retelling, which is fine, but I don't think the characters are really anything like their namesakes. At the very least neither character is as likable or beloved as Austen's. That is something I did not expect, and an aspect that kind of ruined a lot of the story for me. I love Elizabeth Bennet but this wasn't her. AT ALL. Oi, I need a taste of Darcy to make things alright again. Still I have to say if you enjoy food this book will make your mouth water. You might start munching on the pages (I hope not, find a snack). The descriptions of the food in this book made me so hungry, and this is not an easy book to read without a snack because of it. It's also not a straight up happy book. There are struggles, I mean duh it's a cancer story. There's a lot of history and some misery to be found here. There's also some pretty good laughs. Between the good and the bad I think I'd have to say it sort of just balances out into an OK book. It's not great and it's not horrible. My brain just couldn't get with these characters, it was fixated on wanting Austen's Lizzy and Jane. At least personality wise. I mean if you compare them in the description you have to have something to go on, right? But otherwise the story was enjoyable and the food sounded scrumptious. Maybe Lizzy can come cook for me.
Oh. My. Austen! This story is delightful and beautifully emotional. I immediately was drawn into the family conflict. Reay makes you care about her characters in a way that it sneaks up on you. It's not until it's time to set the book down that you realize how attached you have become. I didn't expect to enjoy the story as much as I did. I loved this book so much that I already dearly miss the characters. Though I would never admit to having favorites, I dearly like Lizzy's character. Oh, I was so happy to watch her grow and change over the course of the story. She's funny and caring, but deep down she's broken. This story is her journey to healing. It's a journey of forgiveness and of familial love. Her sister, Jane grew on me as well. Jane experiences her own growth in this story, but it's different from Lizzy's. And that's why, I think, I love this book so much. Like other books I've happened to read recently, this book is full of heart and soul. There's meaning in the pages. The characters are relatable. The story is heart-twisting. While yes, I can say there's "romance" in this story, it's far from the focus, which is so refreshing. It proves you don't need a central romance for a good story. All these things mentioned make up a wonderful book and this one is certain to remain on my shelf to be re-read. I highly recommend it. I bought this book, my opinions are my own.
Lizzy & Jane is the first book that I have read by author Katherine Reay. I was pleased to discover how much I love her writing style. She has a wonderful ability to make the characters really come alive in the story. The sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, have built up a lot of resentment between each other over the years. The story of how they come together and learn how to let go of past hurts is at the center of what this book is about. I really liked Elizabeth’s (Lizzy’s) character. She is a chef and the author did such a beautiful job of convincing me that food preparation truly meant everything to Lizzy. The thought process that Lizzy uses to put together the dishes that she creates is central in this story and so interesting to read about. When she ends up traveling across the country to spend time with her ailing sister, it is not an easy decision. These two always end up at odds with each other. Their interaction throughout the book, and the way that sometimes one or the other would just “lose it” and say something incredibly insensitive, seemed very realistic. I liked Jane, too, even though she had some control issues in life. I felt sorry for all she was going through and felt that both she and Lizzy grew so much in this book. I simply loved the progression of this story. Every bit was worthwhile and added to the overall enjoyment for me. Nick was fabulous. He certainly handled many things with grace and frequently ended up being the support that Lizzy needed. He was kind and caring, and not pushy. But even he had some issues to work on in his personal life. There were things he hadn’t allowed himself to really hand over to God. All of the main characters grew so much by the end of the book. This story is also packed with wonderful side characters that will pull at your heart. These characters, such as Cecilia, added so much to the book. I enjoyed this story from the beginning to the end. Plus, it has such a cute cover! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.
Oh my! I'm not sure that I have adequate words to express how much I absolutely loved this book, but I'll give it a shot. At first glance, this is a simple romance novel featuring a chef who is struggling to rediscover her creativity in the kitchen and leaves town to help her sister as she battles cancer. Of course, she meets a cute guy, flirts a little, and starts to have more than friendship feelings. But Lizzy & Jane is about so much more than just romance or even self-discovery. It's about love and family and cancer and grief and loss and survival. It's about the intimate relationships between family members and how much it hurts to lose your mother and how even adults still need their moms and how important it is to stay close even when life pulls you apart. It's about sisters and caring for each other and sacrificing your dreams, wants, desires for another. It's about creativity and scenery and the mundane and the romantic moments in the midst of it all. It's about finding God in the middle of pain and tragedy and discovering hard truths about yourself along the way. It's about food and books. It's about more than just food and books though. It's about how those things tell others a lot about who we are and how they bring us together and help us build community with others. It's about serving and loving and giving. It's about the feast and how it can literally change our lives. The book was absolutely beautiful. The story itself was moving, and the writing was magnificent. I found myself staying up way too late to keep reading "just one more page." But getting only 5 hours of sleep was totally worth it. Totally. The relationships between every person in the book were just stunning. Jane and Peter. Jane and Lizzy. Lizzy and Nick. Lizzy and the kids. Lizzy and her father. Lizzy and Jane and their mother. All the patients in the cancer center. And Cecelia. Just dynamite! And the result of all of these relationships is a rich, deep, story that felt complete. I loved the talk between Lizzy and just about everyone about what books they liked, what foods they enjoyed, what smells, sights, and touches they loved most. It made me think about my own favorites and how all of those things work together to paint a picture of me. Some might think that there isn't a very strong faith message. And while it's true that there aren't a lot of direct conversations about the gospel, it's written all throughout the book—almost allegorical. There are tons of references to Jane Austen, Hemingway, and other amazing works of literature. Sadly, I've read almost none of them (and have never really cared to), but reading Lizzy & Jane made me want to! (My TBR list has grown by leaps and bounds over the 355 pages of this book!) It's only day 6 of 2015, and I can already tell you with certainty that Lizzy and Jane will be on my "favorites" list this year. Seriously. Go find a copy of this book and read it! [5 stars] [One side note for the squeamish ... around page 175 there is a terrible accident involving a very sharp knife and Lizzy's fingers. The description is a little graphic, and I nearly got ill. But I'll just chalk it up to great writing (and a weak stomach!). If you ARE squeamish, just skip ahead a couple of pages, and you'll be fine. :)] I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.
I have a thing for Jane Austen. And for Reay's books. I collect sequels, prequels, modern reimaginings, essays, and the oddly tangential books to which her name (or more likely, Mr. Darcy’s name) was attached simply to sell a book to suckers like me. I must be nearing 100 books by now, as the photo of my Jane Austen shelves attests. So when BookLook Bloggers offered me the opportunity to review Lizzy and Jane, by Katherine Reay, I was thrilled to add it to my collection. I had read Reay’s previous book, Dear Mr. Knightly, and greatly enjoyed the story and its subtle homage to Austen’s Emma. Now I was ready for the same with Lizzy & Jane. Reay in no way retells the Pride and Prejudice story. While Lizzy and Jane are sisters named for the books famous sisters, their relationship is not life imitating art. The sisters are estranged. Lizzy is a chef who has moved to the opposite coast and stays away from her family. Jane’s breast cancer changes all that. The girls’ mother died of breast cancer, and her sickness and death are what drove the sisters apart to begin with. Reluctantly, Lizzy goes home for a rare visit, forced on her by the owner of her restaurant. Genetically inherited cancer’s star role in the book affected me on a deeper level, way beyond the Austen references woven into this work. If you, or a family member, or a friend is dealing with cancer and chemo, this book might give voice to your thoughts and fears and frustrations. Reay does a superb job of developing flawed, totally human, characters. I honestly wasn’t sure I liked either of the sisters, but I couldn’t stop reading about their struggles, their relationship, and the jagged path to forgiveness. This isn’t a romance book (although there is a romantic element). I would classify it as women’s fiction, along the lines of Elizabeth Berg or Adriana Trigiani. And if you’re a foodie, Lizzy’s cooking will have you salivating. Looking forward to what Reay might do with the remaining four Austen novels.
It's been a while since I've managed to devour a book in just a few hours. I was looking for something a friend recommended when I happened to see Lizzy & Jane on the shelf. Now I'm not one to pay too much attention to most books on the shelves because let's face it there's just so many to choose from and with how indecisive I am I'd be browsing all day! However, occasionally there is a cover or a title that just pop out at me and this was one of those titles (after all, it is named after two characters from my favorite book of all time). I love all things Jane Austen so I definitely enjoyed all of the references. The story was heartbreaking but beautiful and the ending was perfect. The main characters received a second chance at being a family and reevaluated who they are/what is truly important in life. Definitely something I will read again! I've even ordered Dear Mr Knightley and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival!
I found Lizzy to be a hard character, but then isn’t that exactly how you would expect a NYC chef to be? Hard and direct? I grew to love her and sympathize with her. Like any heroine we read about we want to see her happy. But… certain things had to play out first. I’ll be honest and say I shook the book once or twice wanting Lizzy open her eyes, but that part of the fun. Because every part of this book was FUN! I loved reading it from page one to the last word. I was a bit sad to see the end, but then I felt the same way when I finished Dear. Mr. Knightley. I can't wait for the next book by this author!
Elizabeth is a chef with her own restaurant in New York. But customers are dwindling and her cooking has lost its edge. So her boss brings in a celebrity to boost sales and hopefully get Elizabeth to snap out of whatever is bothering her. But when her dad calls and begs her to visit she decides to take a break and go with him to take care of her sister Jane, who has cancer. That decision will change the entire course of not only her life, but the lives of several other people as well. I absolutely loved this book. The plot is very deep and thought provoking, but never once felt heavy. The author wove in thoughts and quotes from a quite a few books. A lot of them are obviously Jane Austen, but most have a food theme that the main character pulls from. The food references were great and added authenticity to the story. The story and characters were deep and moving. I was entertained, but also finished the book with quite a bit to think about. I love how the author is able to write a story that stays with the reader long after the book is put down. What showcases a truly talented author, was the fact that I had nothing in common with either sister or the situations they were going through, and yet I was immersed in the story and fell in love with both of them. They were relatable and likeable, despite their flaws. All of the characters, even the secondary ones, had such depth. Reay is a talented author and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. I received this book free of charge from Kelley and Hall Publicity in exchange for my honest review.
This is a very superficial treatment re. some very important subjects. All the characters also need to be more fully developed. Might be a good beach/vacation read for older teen & young adult females? By ajwest
Mayra nayelli Valeria noemi
It was a good story line but was way too drawn out. There was also too much of the food part to fill the pages. I would love to have read more about the other characters, especially the children and what they were feeling.
They all are five stars this is not a five star but old fashion soap opera or ladies day two hanky light novel