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on January 6, 2014
(3.5 stars) Georgia works at a Manhattan restaurant. While she is not crazy about the owner's taste level in decor, or his restrictions on his set menu, she delights in making the specials and running the kitchen. She is engaged to be married, and they have just been evaluated by a prominent restaurant critic, whose positive review could make her career. Everything begins unraveling when her boss' unscrupulous behavior leads to a searing review, causing Georgia to be fired. She finds out some unpleasant things about her fiance, and he ends up calling off the wedding. Knowing that finding a job in New York is not going to be easy, she reaches out to a former mentor in Italy, and secures a position in her newly opening restaurant. While disappointments arise, Georgia takes some time to learn and grow. When an amazing opportunity comes up, she must decide what she really wants in life, both professionally and personally. Georgia makes a courageous decision and then takes the hard steps to make her dreams come true. This was a pleasant story, filled with the love of food and had a strong protagonist with a twist away from the usual chick-lit storyline.
1 helpful vote
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on August 16, 2013
As a fan of both fiction and non-fiction "foodie" books, I enjoyed this one a great deal. In fact, I read it in nearly one sitting. Georgia and her friends are well-drawn characters and likably believable. A bad restaurant review gets the story line rolling. The depiction of back-of-the-house goings on was realistic, as was the celebrity chef, Marco. Georgia, after suffering through the horror of the unexpected worst review ever, gets her life together by returning to Italy, cooking, and realizing that life can be led singly. The juxtaposition of the NYC restaurant scene and that of Tuscany was interesting. The love interest wasn't bad either! While the story was somewhat predictable, I enjoyed every minute of it. Don't read this when you're hungry, or you'll be scouring the fridge and cabinets for anything edible.... I'll be watching for the next offering by this author.
1 helpful vote
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on December 23, 2011
One woman is not happy in her relationship, not happy at her job and can't figure out who to change it all. So after the relationship falls apart and the job is gone, she heads to Italy to find a new balance in her life. With kitchens in Manhattan and Italy at the center, food is a major character in the book and this author nailed the descriptions of each dish and made me quite hungry while reading!

I fell in love with Georgia and wanted to become her friend which makes me fall deeper into any book - a connection the characters is key in my book. Although there is heartache and relationships in this book, it was refreshing to have the woman try to find the balance in her life within herself instead of depending on others for it.

A wonderful piece of women's fiction that will make you want to visit both Italy and New York for the food and the atmosphere. A strong woman at the center and a depth to the story makes this book a piece of women's fiction in my mind and one worth picking up.
1 helpful vote
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on August 18, 2010
All I can say is I am disappointed...disappointed that I am going to have to wait for the second novel to get more of Georgia and family. This booked had me spellbound and waiting for more at the end of every chapter. Jenny Nelson nails the descriptions of trendy and fast paced New York City, to the Hustle of restaurant life, to the serenity of Italy's rolling countrysides and slower, more romantic pace of life. She captures the essence of fine dining and it's attention to details. All which revolves around the story of a talented and beautiful young chef, Georgia, who through several disappointments learns not to focus on what she doesn't have , but on what she does have....a lesson we all should remember. Through hard work, persistence, and the help of others she finds her way to her dreams! An amazing first novel!
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on January 6, 2011
This is a great escape book. It's fun and easy to read and beautifully captures the toughness of New York City and the charm of the Italian country side. If you've every been to Italy, you'll know that Jenny Nelson's description of Tuscany, it's delicacies and heartwarming people are real and will have you scanning the travel section of your local paper for Italian excursions. After some unnerving circumstances, Georgia decides to break clean of New York and use her culinary skills to start fresh in Italy. I enjoy reading about strong inspirational females and Georgia is just this. She is delightful and flawed, but also intelligent and determined. She's a modern woman, vulnerable but not afraid to take a chance. I loved following her around NYC and Tuscany as she reached for her dreams and immersed me in her culinary world. In short, it starts a bit slow, but stick with it, it's a good story and great light read.

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My favorite thing about Georgia's Kitchen is Georgia herself. The complexities of her character were nicely developed by author Jenny Nelson. Always interested in relational dynamics, the subthemes of mother/daughter, mother/granddaughter, Georgia and her workmates, Georgia and her bosses, and Georgia's relationship with her own worthiness were depthful and engaging. And of course, the descriptions of delicious meals was an added bonus.
All of these dimensions fleshed out a well written storyline and thus my opinion that this book would be worth your time and money (unless you are looking only for a superficial read). I look forward to more from Jenny Nelson.
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on August 23, 2010
Georgia's Kitchen, a novel of self-discovery and development, provides a charged emotional ride with plenty of surprising plot-turns, drama, suspense and adventure. Georgia Gray, the protagonist, is completely sympathetic, flaws and all, a strong, smart woman who gets stronger and, more importantly, wiser in the course of the action, but not until she's been sucker-punched a couple of times. The descriptions of the restaurant scenes in NYC and Tuscany are convincingly evocative, carrying that ring of authenticity which makes all the difference. Nelson's passages convey loads of information, yet are swift and supple--even making the reader feel smarter about and somehow more alert to life--and tuned to the human emotions and the five senses. Nelson is equally skilled in close-up, the middle distance--one of my favorites in fiction-- and long-shot. The secondary characters are also fully-realized, no pushovers or stick figures here. I highly recommend Georgia's Kitchen.
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I love the kitchen and I love novels to read in-between my mysteries. When I was reading a Goodread's update, this book was introduced to me. I looked at the synopsis and thought it was interesting. I was correct.

A talented, young, woman Chef, Georgia Gray is head chef at Marco's in Manhattan. Everything is going Georgia's way, she is a head chef, engaged to be married, and dreaming of owning her own restaurant one day. There is one small indicator that things might change. Chef's do not normally wear rings. It is just too dangerous, however Georgia's Glenn insisted that she wear her engagement ring. Funny thing that...

Marco, the owner of the trendy restaurant has an eye for women and does not practice discretion. He decides to enjoy a young nineteen year old that is a daughter of a prominent culinary critic for the Daily News. The critic is justifiably angry, so, she takes it out on the review she is writing. Marco, in his blindness to himself, decides to fire Georgia, after all it must be her fault.

Tarred by the review and unemployed Georgia escapes back to Tuscany. Several life lessons are taught and learned and finally, Georgia returns to NYC.

I won't spoil the journey by saying more. This is a lovely book to read with a glass of wine and a cozy sitting space.
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on August 20, 2010
I read this novel every spare moment I had until I finished it. It is hard to leave for long. One gets caught up in the life of Georgia, of her challenges and frustrations, of her failures and aspirations. It is so easy for any of us to relate to. As Georgia moves from New York to Tuscany, and back to New York, the author does a brilliant job of making us feel as if we are there with her. Throughout the novel, one also learns quite a bit about the politics of the kitchen in restaurants, which is fascinating. And for those who like to cook, the book is an inspiration.

This engaging novel leaves one wondering what Georgia will do next. Hopefully there will be a sequel!
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on June 9, 2016
Books are so subjective. I will say "I" loved it. The book was well written...the characters developed...and the plot held my attention. I loved the backdrop of the cooking world. It was a great summer read. Just like a good meal it left me satisified.
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