- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 4, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781401689735
- ISBN-13: 978-1401689735
- ASIN: 1401689736
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 218 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lizzy and Jane Paperback – November 4, 2014
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“Reay’s second Jane Austen-inspired tale is a layered and nuanced story of faith and hope, enriched by complex but relatable characters. Recommended for lovers of character-driven women’s fiction.” (Library Journal)
“Okay, I’m just going to say it upfront. This isn’t so much a review as it is a love letter to the uber-talented Katherine Reay. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Lizzy and Jane since I forlornly turned the final page of Katherine Reay’s critically acclaimed, beloved, double Carol Award-winning debut, Dear Mr. Knightley last year (sidebar, if you haven’t read Dear Mr. Knightley run, do not walk, to your nearest bookstore for a copy). . . . “Bookstores are packed with novels starring characters battling with cancer. Where Katherine Reay’s storytelling sets itself apart is with this – she has managed to write a book that is all about cancer, yet at the same time not about cancer at all. The stars of the show here are Lizzy and Jane – their taut relationship, their fears, regrets and failures, their hopes and dreams and yes, their grappling with the disease that has already cost them so dearly. “Classic literature lovers will again enjoy the way Reay seamlessly weaves in literary references – from Hemingway to Austen to Dickens. Not in a snobbish, showboating way, but with a deft hand that adds color and depth to the story. . . . “Buy this book. Savor this book. It’s poignant, it’s witty, it’s got romance and drama and complex characters and dialogue and it’s clever and it makes you think and sigh and, yes, even swoon and the food, oh the food. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to start again from the beginning as soon as you’ve reached the end because it has so many layers, subtleties, and depth, it’s impossible to absorb it all in one mere read. As I knew it would, Lizzy and Jane has firmly enshrined itself as one of my ten must-reads for 2014. Seriously, why are you still reading this? GO AND READ LIZZY and JANE INSTEAD.' (Novel Crossing)
“A Rising Star in Contemporary Fiction!” (Family Fiction)
“Elizabeth Hughes is a respected chef in New York, but she's lost her passion and knows her restaurant is suffering. Fighting burnout, she decides to visit her sister Jane, who is battling cancer. As Elizabeth and her sister struggle to reconnect after years of misunderstanding and betrayal, there are very real moments of pain and vulnerability. In her own words, Elizabeth is ‘bristly, rude, and terribly self-absorbed,’ and her sister is more of the same. Although Lizzy and Jane were named for Jane Austen's most famous sisters, this story tracks with Persuasion, in both caustic tone and the encompassing theme of a life more fully lived. Filled with food and literary food references, this book will appeal to literature aficionados, foodies, and any lover of a good romance.” (CBA Retailers + Resources)
“Deeply moving and intensely meaningful, Reay's latest gives readers an intimate look into the lives of sisters. Elizabeth's character is raw and real – her desire to live a meaningful life and her authentic fear of rejection will help everyone identify closely with her journey. Delicious descriptions of food and the closeness that it provides to others gives the novel even more depth.” SUMMARY: After the ordeal of her mother's battle with, and death from, cancer when she was a teenager, Elizabeth has spent the following years making a name for herself as a chef while keeping her distance from her father and older sister, Jane. Yet Elizabeth has lost her edge with her restaurant and decides to visit her family on the west coast. Jane is undergoing chemo for cancer, and as much as Elizabeth wants to avoid the situation, she must find a way to help Jane and figure out the next steps in her own life.' (RT Book Reviews, 4-1/2 Stars TOP PICK!)
“In a rich feast for the senses---both literary and culinary---Reay’s (Dear Mr. Knightley) sophomore novel introduces two estranged sisters who rediscover the meaning of family 15 years after their mother succumbed to cancer. Master chef Elizabeth, or Lizzy, has lost her touch at work and finds her New York restaurant slipping out of her control. Needing time off, she journeys back home---to sit in the oncology ward with her sister, Jane, who is now fighting breast cancer. The stressful circumstances force them back into a real relationship, an uncomfortable reunion in which they confront their past and contemplate their uncertain futures. Jane Austen books and delicious foods remind them of surprising and comforting truths imparted to them by mother. Jane’s husband and children, her fellow chemotherapy patients, and her colleague Nick play important roles in helping Lizzy find the source for the peace she desperately craves. Reay treats readers to a banquet of flavors, aromas, and textures that foodies will appreciate, and clever references to literature add nuances sure to delight bibliophiles. The relatable, very real characters, however, are what will keep readers clamoring for more from this talented author.” (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.
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Edited - I have found myself reflecting on this book quite a bit, particularly in terms of my own relationships. Any book that does that is worthy of acknowledging. I upped from three to four stars.
Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay struck my heart very uniquely. This book is about two sisters who live on opposite sides of the country. Lizzy in New York, and Jane in Seattle. Lizzy living the epitome of city life, busy with her restaurant and panicking that she’s about to lose it because she’s lost the spark in her heart for it; Jane determined not to let chemo get the best of her, yet at a loss for how to keep it from derailing her family. Both sisters unwilling to admit how closed off they have become and how guilty they both feel for being absent when loved ones needed them.
These characters became friends of mine.. they had depth, quirks, and flaws.
To be completely honest, I started out very angry with Lizzy. She was full of herself and thought she had the answers to everything. I didn’t like her, and I certainly didn’t appreciate her attitude. After being reluctant to even call Jane, Lizzy decides she’s going to go cook for Jane, as a way of getting inspired to go back to her restaurant… She assures Jane that she won’t be able to turn down her food, and when Jane can’t eat what she makes (or, more accurately, when she gets sick on it and can’t eat any more), Lizzy takes offense. Oh my goodness.. get over yourself, Lizzy, and think about someone other than yourself.
Jane has adjustments to make too though. She’s shut out her husband and her kids as a way of dealing with her cancer. Their life has become routine and monotonous, and I think she thinks she doesn’t really deserve any different. She has lost her joy but would never tell you that.
After much trial and error, Lizzy finally begins to realize that she needs to ask Jane about her life, her cancer, her treatments, what tastes good vs what doesn’t… and not only ask, but actually listen and get to know her sister. If there’s one thing Jane needs as much as food she can eat, it’s a good listener. A true friend in her sister. Loving her where she is. It was a process, but I began to like the character I was seeing in Lizzy. I loved the morphing I saw in both of them.
This was quite a difficult read for me. I don’t know if you picture what you’re reading or not, but I do. And I saw Jane’s Infusion Center as my own, the waiting area at her oncologist’s office as mine. The parking lot? Same. One of our chemo drugs was the same, and not just in my mind. Maybe one of the steroid & anti-sick drug combinations too… (I remember mine but not hers.)
When I was partway through this book, I mentioned some initial thoughts on it to the friend who had asked if I’d read it. I told her that the writer of this book had either been there herself or had really done some thorough research and listened to people close to her who had been there. Because wow. She captured so much, so accurately. Three years ago the day before yesterday was my second chemo. I may forget many things now, but certain dates and experiences are forever etched into my memory. This book brought emotions and physical things to the forefront of my mind that felt like they were yesterday.
A thread of romance runs through this beautiful story too. It just sort of happens. It’s sweet and doesn’t try to take the spotlight.
Lizzy & Jane gripped my heart in a way that rarely happens. Most of the books on my all-time favorites list aren’t stories I’ve connected with like this one. That doesn’t mean I love this one more, but it means I love it unlike most others. I so needed this book. I’m not sure I knew I did for quite a while, but I did.
This book is a hotdog for me, no question. While I’m generally not big on hotdogs and am very picky about them, they were one of the few foods that I could eat consistently throughout chemo. That being said, I’m glad I read it now rather than during chemo when I originally picked it up and discovered I couldn’t read a book.
I’d never read anything by Katherine Reay prior to this, but I will be reading more. (For those wondering, yes, there are connections to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, but aside from the pride and preconceived notions involved in this story that I’ve already mentioned, I’m not going to expand on the connections.)