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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Includes an exclusive conversation between Ruth Reichl and Emily Giffin
Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.
Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.
To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.
Praise for Delicious!
“Compulsively readable . . . a treat for anyone who loves a warm, character-packed tale—a delectable mix of flavor, fantasy, and emotional comfort food.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“[Reichl’s] New York is a fairy-tale town where beautiful food abounds. . . . The novel presents a whole passel of surprises: a puzzle to solve; a secret room; hidden letters; the legacy of James Beard; and a parallel, equally plucky heroine from the past, who also happens to be a culinary prodigy.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Fascinating characters . . . There’s romance, intrigue, food history, and the fictional appearance of a very real American culinary icon.”—The Austin Chronicle
“Reichl’s vivid descriptions of food will have readers salivating, and an insider’s look at life at a food magazine is fascinating. Her satisfying coming-of-age novel of love and loss vividly demonstrates the power of food to connect people across cultures and generations.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“This savory feast of a first novel blends the rich gifts that readers of Reichl’s memoirs and food writing have come to expect. To a tantalizing coming-of-age story about a budding chef and journalist she adds a bittersweet tale of separated sisters.”—More
From the Trade Paperback edition.
I have really enjoyed Ruth Reichl’s writing in the past: Tender at the Bone was a favorite memoir of mine in the food writing genre. Unfortunately, her first venture into fiction disappoints. The storyline feels like a hodgepodge of anecdotes/experiences from her own life with a layer of very transparent make-believe on top. The letters written by the narrator as well as those written by the girl, Lulu, from the past, which are sprinkled throughout the book, while initially cute, become a distraction, and as a reader you wish she would just get on with the story rather than drawing out the „suspense“ for so long. The book also often feels like it is written for a 13-year old girl, and it’s hard to imagine it’s meant to appeal to adult audiences. The prose often feels forced - carefully crafted sentences that feel and read as such. Wish I could be more positive, but I wasn’t pulled into this one like I have been to her other writing.
This was a wonderful book. Like experiencing a great meal in a beautiful setting, this book takes you on a trip with good friends. I loved it and hope that Mrs. Reichl will write more books. This was wonderfully satisfying but I know I will crave more- as you would an incredible meal. Thank you.
Delightful and delicious
I read this in one sitting. Wonderful,intriguing characters. Such fun. Well worth the read.