Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
About the book: (From the publisher website)
Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes only when you’ve run out of ways to escape.
At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She’s lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down.
When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she’s losing her dream.
And her means of escape.
When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister’s side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy.
As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature, Elizabeth is forced to reimagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can a New York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?
I thoroughly enjoyed Dear Mr. Knightly, but Lizzy and Jane touched me in a deeply personal way. The language of food spoke to me for one thing, but secondly, the BRCA gene effected my personal life deeply in the last three years. That is much more than I ever thought a gene which was formally unknown to me could have. I lost two family members to its hold, and another close family member will undergo surgery in a couple of weeks to avoid it.
What I enjoyed so much about this was book, was the fact that this book was not about the BRCA 1 gene, or cancer as much as it was about relationships, pain, hurt and overcoming them in our daily trials.
The depth in which I saw Ms. Reay capture how we can allow transgressions such as Elizabeth and Jane had experienced in the past, and in the face of possible tragedy, they allowed themselves to give each other another chance. I know this is not always possible, but when it is, we should try to mend the fractures between family members.
The word pictures that were created with the spices, flavors, scents, I have expected to smell them as they leapt off the page. Ms. Reay created a book that will touch the hearts of many people, even if you are not an Austen lover, you will catch the symbolism throughout the novel and relate. If you are an Austen lover, you will smile like an old friend just came home.