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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 has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago. Visit her on line at katherinereay.com Facebook: katherinereaybooks Twitter: @Katherine_Reay
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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 is a chef and runs an expensive restaurant in New York City. But she's been thrown off her groove lately because her sister Jane has cancer. Their mom died of cancer, so she's pretty freaked about this. She takes a sort of stress break from work and flies to Seattle to see her dad and sister, with whom she doesn't have exactly a close and warm and loving relationship. And then she meets a guy, and she cooks a lot of food, and she works through her relationship problems with her sister and figures out stuff about her past and gets to know her niece and nephew and brother-in-law better, and that all sounds kind of boring and/or depressing, but it's not. It's beautiful.
I also cried a lot over it, but in a good way, if that makes any sense. Not happy crying, but more "what if it was me facing the potential of leaving her kids for good."
In case you can't tell by now, this is NOT a retelling of "Pride and Prejudice." Jane Austen's books do figure into the story, but if you haven't read them, you'll still enjoy this book. If you have read them, you'll get what the characters are talking about when they discuss the books, but it's not a prerequisite.
Most recent customer reviews
I won this book in a giveaway and enjoyed reading it. Lizzy and Jane were two sisters whose mom died of cancer, causing misunderstandings and hurt that...Read more