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Friday, June 13, 2014

The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

The Glass Kitchen
With the glass kitchen, Linda Francis Lee has served up a novel that is about the courage it takes to follow your heart and be yourself. A true recipe for life.
Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . . and never cook again. But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream. The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 384 pages (Hardcover)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Expected Publication Date: June 17th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
I'm not usually a fan of magical realism especially if it is done with a light touch but I have to say the way that Linda Francis used it in The Glass Kitchen was amazingly well done. As with reading any new author I went it with some reservations but as soon as I started the book I was completely and utterly hooked and read it in one sitting.
Portia was a great character. She was so kind, and lovable and she felt so much for those around her despite the fact that the world has kind of thrown her to the curb. I felt so bad for her for having had to deal with a no good husband and being left basically destitute. No woman deserves that, but what really made me love her was that she gave herself the time to grieve the end of her marriage, be depressed but then she picked herself up again with the help of those around her. Plus, despite it all she never turned into a whiner. She had some woe is me moments but they were well deserved. I liked seeing her find her happiness again.
I really enjoyed the premise of the novel. It's message is all about finding yourself again and I think we all need that little bit of a push sometimes. The way Lee used Portia's gift of "knowing" what to bake for people in times of comfort was really good because so many of us connect happiness with our favourite meals. Maybe it's Nanny's scones, Dad's jerk chicken recipe who knows, but we all have those dishes that we come back to. For me it's my mom's roast dinners or her spaghetti. They're simple, but when she makes them you can taste the love and it sort of unites the family again. Bringing us back to common ground which is what I saw Portia's gift doing for those around her. The gift not only helped her find herself again she was able to help those she loved as well.
I also liked the way that Lee drew on many characters to bring the book together. I felt that there was no unimportant characters, they all played their parts well and they were all realistic. Not everyone was happy, some, like Gabriel the father of two was a major Mr. Grumpy Pants and while I didn't like him for much of the book because of the distance he left be created between his daughters annoyed me. If I had to pick another character that I loved, it would have to be Ariel. She was a cute kid with a smart mouth that came off as bratty but I liked her. I thought her tenacity in finding out the secret her father's been hiding was a force to be reckoned with.
This book had it all for me, it had love, laughter, fights, and plenty of drama without it feeling like a soap opera, plus it made me want to cook and eat! The novel just radiated warmth and hope for me which I needed, since I read it after a couple heavy reads. Plus, I think Lee may have convinced me that magical realism can be a good thing and I'm so glad I was given the chance to read and review this and can't wait to read more by this author. This is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year.
I would recommend The Glass Kitchen to fans of Sarah Addison Allen. The styles are very similar but I feel as though Linda Francis Lee pulls it off ten times more effectively with a lot more heart. Fantastic characters, an excellent story and beautiful writing await between the covers of this fabulous gem and makes a perfect book for reading in the backyard this summer.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
Loved It!
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  1. This sounds like a really good book! (Sorry for commenting more than once in a day - my feedly finally started working again).

    I'm adding this to the "list of books to hunt down when back home"


    1. No problem! Comment away :) I hope you give this one a try, it was such a light and refreshing read.

    2. I read it and loved it! I linked to your review in my review, I hope you don't mind!

      You can find my review here:


  2. This sounds like a great read that will make me hungry, Lol. thanks for sharing :)

    1. You're welcome, it made me so hungry I ended up making pasta to combat the hunger pains lol

  3. Great review! I'm really looking forward to reading this one. I love the idea of knowing what to cook for people and comfort through food. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome Katherine, it was absolutely fantastic. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. It sounds like a intriguing book thats right up your alley. Its awesome you enjoyed it

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