Review: Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay + Giveaway

I love Jane Austen novels – I’ve read several and have reread Pride and Prejudice multiple times. (It even made the list for our Reading Challenge last year.) But, I wouldn’t call myself a fangirl. I haven’t read all of her novels, and I’ve never ventured into the world of books based on her characters. I had read a couple reviews about Lizzy & Jane and was intrigued. It sounded like a good balance of stand-alone story peppered with Austen references.

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Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay was the perfect post-Christmas book to read. It was light, entertaining and well-written. Reay quickly engaged me and it was a fast, fun read. The premise is typical fast-paced, career-minded New Yorker Elizabeth is stressed at work, and it’s beginning to show in the quality of the food she prepares at her restaurant, Feast. She refuses to learn about new marketing and social media strategies so her investor-friend brings in a popular chef to help. In the meantime, Elizabeth’s sister, Jane is in the midst of cancer treatments back in laid-back, family-friendly Seattle. Elizabeth takes a break from her restaurant to rediscover herself by cooking meals for Jane.

While the plot is somewhat cliche, the story is sweet and the Austen references are clever, if somewhat unrealistic. Perhaps it’s because I am not a creative foodie – I follow the recipes and enjoy the outcome of cooking more than the process itself. Elizabeth’s worldview and sensory experiences as a chef may be quite realistic but I didn’t connect with them. I enjoyed reading her process for creating recipes and finding the exact flavors needed for certain dishes, but more for the literary experience than because I could see myself thinking about that food in the same way.

All in all, I enjoyed Lizzy & Jane and it was a nice break from my usual fare of nonfiction books.

How do you cook? Are you a recipe-follower or do you enjoy kitchen creativity?

GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Lizzy & Jane. To enter, leave a comment about your favorite food to cook. I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, January 9, 2014. (United States addresses only.)

I review for BookLook Bloggers
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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13 thoughts on “Review: Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay + Giveaway

  1. I love to cook and try new recipes. I always follow a recipe the first time and make notes on the recipe to change it to better fit my family’s palate the next time I make it. If it’s a recipe where I am very familiar with the ingredients I may change the recipe the first time I make it. I haven’t always been this way. In early years of marriage I was an exact recipe follower, it’s taken years for me to relax and become adventurous in my cooking.

    1. Ooh, so you’re saying there’s hope for me? 😉 Frank is definitely a recipe-tweaker and I’m so amazed at people who have that kind of confidence in the kitchen.

  2. I have been meaning to connect with some fellow bloggers that use the BookLook blogger program, so happy to have found your blog!! I would love to see what you think of some of the books out for review… kind of like a blogging review book club? haha! Anyhoo, great review. As much as I go giddy for giveaways, I am up to my eyeballs in books (no really, everyone decided to gift me with books this Christmas!) and adding books to my plate seems daunting at this point, lol. Anyhoo, keep in touch, yeah?! ^_^ – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    1. That sounds fun – a blogging review book club. 🙂 I hear you on accumulating books – that’s why I usually give them away! Our bookshelves are bursting!!

  3. What a fun post, Annie! I enjoyed your review. I’ve heard good things about this book, but I haven’t read it yet. 😀 most of the time I am a recipe follower. Safety is there. 😃 Happy new year!

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