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Delicious!: A Novel Hardcover – May 6, 2014
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When Billie Breslin abandons college to work as assistant to the editor of Delicious! magazine, she’s immediately known for her superhuman palate: she can taste any dish and list its ingredients and suggest the flavors it needs. She’s known for another trait, too: Billie does not cook. When Delicious! is unceremoniously folded by its parent publisher, Billie is the sole employee kept on to honor the magazine’s guarantee: “Your money back if the recipe doesn’t work.” Between phone calls from wacky subscribers, alone in the yawning old mansion headquarters, Billie discovers a hidden room and a cache of quirkily cataloged letters from a young girl to Delicious! writer James Beard during WWII. In the search for each letter and the young letter writer herself, Billie finds a purpose and a heroine, and gathers the courage to face the past she’s running from. There is indeed a secret readers may quickly guess behind Billie’s fear of the kitchen, but Reichl fills her plump novel with plenty—rich characterization, a bright New York setting, transcendent discussions of taste and food—to distract from predictability. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Famed food critic Reichl, the author of the best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone (1998) and Comfort Me with Apples (2011), turns to fiction, and her debut will receive a robust marketing campaign, including specialized targeting of librarians and foodies. --Annie Bostrom
“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
“[Ruth 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
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Top Customer Reviews
I love and adore her writing. I read her 3 beautifully written memoirs and relished each and every word. I constantly found myself recommending them to anyone that would listen- even strangers in bookstores. Over time I reluctantly loaned them to friends...never to be returned. Then, on February 12, 2012,I read RR's blog post for "My Favorite Pork Stew" which I remembered from one of the memoirs.
I immediately felt angry that I has stupidly loaned the books so I did 2 things to feel better: went to the grocery store, bought the ingredients and made that stew... AND went to amazon.com and reordered the books. They will never again leave my kitchen!
Of course I preordered Delicious. It is a beautiful coming of age story, set in New York City in a historic mansion with interesting, kind, eclectic and colorful characters. I don't want to give anything away... You can read the amazon description along with other reviews for that. I just wish to share what touched my heart. It is difficult for me to pick a favorite character.... Billie, Lulu, Sammy and Mitch were all beautiful people. The magazine was special and alive just like the library. I loved the letters and the interesting WW2 history. I loved the food, the shops, The Pig- my mouth was watering. I also especially loved (and appreciated) the "gift" at the end of the book. I was so afraid it would not be part of the book. The last letter made me cry.
I know this book will remain one of my favorite books ever and believe me, I will loan it to NO ONE but my mother! I will however urge everyone and anyone that will listen to buy and read it as soon as possible.
So hurry up- order this scrumptious book- you won't regret it!
The book weaves the past and the present within two sections. The letters that Lulu writes to Mr. Beard begin in book two, and are the most interesting parts of the novel that resonates with discovery but also sadness. Before the letters are found, members of the Delicious team are told that the magazine was folding due to lack of readership and technology dictating the direction to where magazine publications were headed. But while attempting to find the recipe for Nutty Apricot Cookies in back issues of the magazine, Billie and Sammy stumble over a letter dated November 3, 1942. So begins their journey away from what they had intentionally were looking for but delving into the lives of Mr. Beard and Lulu. It will be an enchanting trip to the past that eventually will lead to their finding Lulu years later and still alive, but a woman that lived a life of mystery and secrecy that she had kept from everyone closest to her. And surprisingly was willing to share to Sammy and Billie.
Delicious is one of those books that may be read more than once and also shared with others. Indeed, the story includes a mix of emotions that are heartfelt and of laughter and joy because of the very lively characters.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thank you Ruth.Read more
read!! Interesting characters and story line. Enjoyed it and would recommend it for women's book clubs.Read more