Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review: The Glass Kitchen

The Glass KitchenAuthor: Linda Francis Lee
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

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.

“Some things are true whether you believe them or not.”

The taste of fruit filled her mouth, so sweet, so real, as if she’d been eating it in her dreams.

All three sisters loved the old town house that rose up from the city sidewalk like a five-layer wedding cake decorated with perfect fondant icing.

This book reminded me so much of a movie called Simply Irresistible that I used to watch over and over again as a little girl. The movie was magical realism as the main character put her feelings into her food and caused everyone else to feel them as well. The main character in this novel, Portia, learns that she has the same magical gift that her grandmother did. Suddenly she will get the urge to bake something and it is always because, for whatever reason, someone needs it. She moves from Texas to Manhattan where she meets Ariel and her widowed father. Forced to follow through with a promise made to her sisters, Portia begins cooking again and is quickly immersed in the world of magical food and emotions!

I love magical realism; it is one of my favorite units to teach to my kids. I love the idea of magical food and being able to add emotions to food, thus why I loved that movie growing up. This book has a unique twist and much of that can be attributed to the magic. It was like Portia had a sixth sense. The book is very fictional in parts, but Portia’s ability makes the book seem like it has a fantastical element involved as well.

There were so many dynamic relationships that were involved in this book. Portia connects with her sisters as well as Gabriel and his daughter, Ariel. I find that I love books best in which the smaller and secondary characters are fully developed through the main character. This book was a job well done in the character development department. I look forward to more from this author!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review***

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