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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "They weren't buying food: they were finding their way home.", March 28, 2014
This review is from: Delicious!: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Ruth Reichl's newest work is as rich and satisfying as the gingerbread her main character, Wilhelmina "Billie" Breslin, makes in the opening chapter. (Happily, the gingerbread recipe is included at the end of the book. I have to try it as soon as possible.) I'm glad to say that master food writer Reichl has seemingly effortlessly made the leap into fiction. At the beginning of the book, Billie, a 20ish student, is in New York interviewing for a job at an iconic food magazine called Delicious!; when asked to cook something as part of the interview, she quickly decides to make an old family recipe, which gets her the job. Billie soon settles into her work, but the magazine is suddenly and unexpectedly shut down and she ends up taking an interim position, which turns into something of a treasure hunt and more than a little mystery.

The magazine's offices are housed in an 1830s building called the Timbers Mansion; when alone in the building after the magazine's shut down, out of curiosity she ventures up to the top floor library, which had formerly been off limits. There she discovers a cache of cleverly hidden letters from a young girl in Ohio named Lulu to the famous chef James Beard, written during WWII. The letters, sometimes humorous and sometimes somber, bring the historical period to life in a wonderful way.

Delicious! is stuffed with terrific and memorable characters - my favorites are Sal, proprietor of a local cheese shop where Billie works part-time, and Sammy, one of the magazine's writers. There are also food descriptions so lush that I wanted to put the book down and go in search of something to eat. But this is a book that's hard to put down. I loved the way Lulu's letters were discovered and the story they told, and like Billie, I wanted to know more about her and how her life turned out. I also enjoyed Billie's personal journey; it was gratifying to watch her come out from behind her dazzling older sister's shadow and become fully herself through the course of the story. This was a heartwarming book from beginning to end, and I'm glad to recommend it highly, not just to fans of Reichl's previous works (which I also highly recommend), but to anyone looking for a great page-turner. Check it out. You'll be glad you did, plus you'll get that gingerbread recipe...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 3, 2014 9:32:42 PM PDT
Luckily I have read the book, otherwise your review would have been a total SPOILER! You have revealed the entire story!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2014 6:27:29 PM PDT
I don't agree that this was a review was a spoiler.
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