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34 Reviews
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
I have never had the chance to read any of Peter Pezzelli's other books but an article about Francesca's Kitchen intrigued me. I rarely read this type of book..I am more into mysteries and suspense. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a warm, enjoyable read. I could relate as my children have recently moved out and I, too, am an empty nester. Most of the story...
Published on September 17, 2006 by C. Billiter

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Book condition wonderful - story ho hum
The book arrived on time and was in excellent condition. I just thought the story was dull - it's the kind where you can anicipate what will happen next.
Published 18 months ago by Irene Stevens


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, September 17, 2006
This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
I have never had the chance to read any of Peter Pezzelli's other books but an article about Francesca's Kitchen intrigued me. I rarely read this type of book..I am more into mysteries and suspense. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a warm, enjoyable read. I could relate as my children have recently moved out and I, too, am an empty nester. Most of the story centered around the kitchen with Francesca's love and caring being expressed in her food and caring nature. I could just smell the garlic and tomatoes simmering. I highly recommend.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining story, September 20, 2006
By 
ems "EMS" (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
A WONDERFUL BOOK, with real characters. Read it in two days commuting. I am Italian, and felt at home for a family Sunday Dinner. The descriptive cooking made me hungry. Francesca and Joey reminded me of so many relationships growing up.

Thank you Peter
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only Italians know that food conquers all!, August 15, 2008
By 
N. Wallach (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
Francesca is feeling out of sorts. Her husband passed away some number of years ago, and her two married daughters with their children have moved away leaving only her unmarried son in Providence, RI. Unfortunately, Joey decided to enter a Rugby tournamnet in Australia and is out of the hosue for a while also. Coming back from a visit with one of her daughters and their family, Francesca realizes that what she misses is being engaged in something, so she starts looking for something more meaningful to do.

As it happens, at this same time, Loretta is looking for a quasi-nanny and babysitter. Loretta is a single mother with two kids who is working in a demanding job and is always so harried that she really has no time to take proper care of herself or her kids.

When the two meet, it does not take long before the noodles start flying! Francesca is appalled to note that Loretta's house is very "lived in" as she says and that no one ever produces a proper meal - instead Loretta relies on take out and frozen dinners. So, Francesca goes to work. In no time flat, Francesca is whipping up Italian favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, pastina soups and many other scrumptious meals that have the kids enthralled and Loretta intrigued. Loretta asks Francesca to teach her how to cook and the two women - a generation apart - get along famously.

Then, the son returns. Now, Francesca has not told her family what she is doing as she was afraid that they would view this negatively and she keeps it a secret from her son as well. Fortunately, her car breaks down right in front to Loretta's home and Francesca calls Joey to help. Joey meets Loretta ... and .... well ... you can guess where the rest of the story is going.

Francesca is a great character. Here is a woman who dedicated her life to her family and friends and finds herself not being needed - so she jumps in to help another family in need. In the process, she discovers a lot more about herself and impacts the world around her in a very positive manner. The cooking scenes are described lovingly and make you almost smell and taste the dishes. The way Francesca gets herself accepted by the kids shows a profound understanding of life and people.

This was a great read with no major implications - simply a story about family life told with humor and understanding. There is no mystery as the two major romantic entanglements can be seen to be coming from the get go. It is well written and well described and makes you want to personally get to know Francesca - although we all probably know someone like her.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A simple pleasure and more, December 20, 2006
By 
Senjiwe Al-Muhadinis (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
I too must admit this was not my normal read. I found this engaging and pleasurable. A very confortable human everyday depiction, nothing to make you cringe or shudder for a change. All is not happy happy joy joy, there is conflict, uncertainties, struggle and some resolution. I would certainly read if Mr Pesselli revisited these characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Francesca's Kitchen, February 15, 2009
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This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
I loved this story. I wish I had a Francesca in my life, in my kitchen - better yet, I would love to sit in Francesa's kitchen, sit at her kitchen table over a cup of coffee and watch her cook. I could learn so much from Francesca about good cooking, love, life, family and faith.

If you like Italian food, like taking nostalgic trips back to the "old" way of thinking and doing things, you'll love this book - although there are some "today" situations in it too. It is not totally old-world.

You, too, will fall in love with Francesca. I hope that Peter Pezzelli makes a sequel. I can't get enough of Francesca.

I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart Warming, September 13, 2008
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This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
Love Peter Pezzelli's writing. This is the 3rd book of his that I have read and I enjoyed all of them. Makes me long to return and explore more of Italy. Even though I am not Italian, I can certainly appreciate the family dynamics.

Not only are they easy reads, but the covers are beautiful and so attractive to look it.

As a bonus, you sometimes get some recipes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Francesca's Kitchen, August 14, 2007
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This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
I am about the same age as Francesca, so I felt a real connection to her feelings.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You CAN judge a book by its cover!!, August 23, 2007
This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
I bought this book because the cover caught my eye, I read the synopsis and decided to give it (and the author) a try. The cover is only the beginning of the joy that is contained in this book. The characters are so alive, I felt as if I were among them. The descriptions of food and smells had my mouth watering and made me want to go to the kitchen. This is a story that left a smile on my face long after the last page was turned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayyy, what do you mean we're out of Parmigiana cheese?, January 3, 2011
This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
" 'You want to do what?'

Peg gaped at Francesca with wide-eyed incredulity. Francesca had found her, as she had hoped she would when she left the house, back in the library computer room. Natalie was there as well, gazing at Francesca with much the same look. Connie, Francesca suspected, would have been making the same face had she not been off in some other part of the library, looking for a book.

'Frannie,' Peg continued, 'I can understand you want to keep busy, but do you really want to be a nanny for someone else's brats?'

'Really, Natalie chimed in. 'Are you crazy?'

'It's not really a nanny the ad said she's looking for,' Francesca tried to explain. 'It's more like a babysitter, 'a responsible person' is what it said, to look after a couple of children at their home for just one or two hours after school every day. What's so bad about that?'

'Ayyy, that's how it starts,' warned Natalie." (Unwanted advice about the perils of taking a job as a nanny/babysitter from Francesca's friends.)

Francesca goes to the library frequently to find books on topics that interest her at the moment, in this case it's Vietnamese language and culture (the old neighborhood is changing) and to meet with her friends, all of whom are widows like her. Her friends, however, go to the library to surf the internet and to check out the abs on hot, young guys. Not your ordinary grandmas. Francesca doesn't quite understand why they they think she'd want to join them in the library's computer room. Francesca would rather be at home reading, cooking, and thinking about her children, two daughters, who have moved far away taking her grandchildren with them, and her son, Joey, who lives nearby and frequently comes over for dinner and to have his laundry washed. At the moment, though, Joey is on vacation in Australia with his rugby playing pals. Francesca worries about all of her children and wishes they were still little kids living at home. Francesca is lonely. She thinks about her family a lot and talks to her dead husband Leo...usually while chopping onions and garlic to add to a pot of spaghetti sauce on top of her stove. Her life of worries, remembrances, and solitude is about to change when she reads the aforementioned ad in the local newspaper.

This is a typical Peter Pezzelli novel about life among Providence, RI's Italian Americans, and just as enjoyable as his other books. There's nothing cerebral or thrilling in his stories. In fact, the plot is predictable, but you don't really mind that it is. They're just small slices of life about normal people who live and love in what almost seems like a different decade...more like the 1950s, even though the books are set in the 2000s. Pezzelli's stories are down-to-earth and very entertaining, I think.

I guess the reason why I gave this a 5 star rating is because it reminded me so much of my own childhood, though my family is of Irish-German American heritage and not Italian American. There was much in FRANCESCA'S KITCHEN that brought back memories of my growing up in New Jersey in the 50s and 60s. O...and there's a Pezzelli Family Recipes section at the end of the book, just in case you feel hungry after reading about what Francesca is cooking up for dinner in her kitchen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy, enjoyable read., July 21, 2010
This review is from: Francesca's Kitchen (Paperback)
A pleasant, although fairly predictable, story of a widowed Italian woman who applies for a job as a nanny. Her employer is an over-worked single mother with two children. Francesca finds the family fragmented and struggling - each in their own separate way. She manages, through her wealth of Italian wisdom, lots of love, and plates of homemade spaghetti, to bring them all together. In more ways than one.

The author, fortunately, has a very good eye for people, and his observations ring true. This helps keep the character of Francesca from becoming too stereotypical.

A few recipes are included here. They are simple and look worthy of trying. His Garlic and Oil Sauce Spaghetti is like the one my Italian uncle taught me. Delicious!
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Francesca's Kitchen
Francesca's Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli (Paperback - September 1, 2006)
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