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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

Release Date - June 17, 2014

Linda Francis Lee
St. Martins  Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

If you only read one book this year and are a fan of women's fiction, The Glass Kitchen is the book to buy. This book is earning its well-deserved spot on my keeper shelf.

After her husband gets her best friend pregnant, divorces her, and then drags his feet on paying her the money he owes, Portia Cuthcart finds herself moving all the way from Texas to New York City. It's in Manhattan where she finds herself becoming entangled with the widower who lives upstairs. Portia spent many years as a politician's wife, hiding her special powers that come to life when she cooks. Now that she's single, it may be time to focus on the one thing she excels at - cooking.

Gabriel Kane's wife died, leaving him to raise his two daughters. When his younger daughter pushes him into hiring Portia to cook their meals, he hesitates, but burned oatmeal is a bit of a wake-up call, so he caves. Hiding his increasing passion for this quirky woman isn't as easily solved.

Everything about The Glass Kitchen deserves praise. Start with Linda Francis Lee's characters. These are not run-of-mill people. They have serious issues holding them back. They find fault in themselves, even if that fault  is not deserved. From Gabe's moodiness to his daughter Ariel's stubbornness, I wanted to embrace this family. Portia and her sisters also have their own challenges, but they have a strong bond that helps them get through the rough times. What I wouldn't have given to sit at the table when they share a meal!

The chemistry between Portia and Gabe is also endearing. They know they are falling for each other, but both have been hurt and struggle to balance their desires with logic. I liked that. When they do realize they cannot ignore their feelings, I was cheering.

The final aspect of this book involves the structure. Each section of the book is part of a six-course meal. Recipes are even included. Linda Francis Lee ties all of the story together with specific foods, and to me that was a unique touch that made this book even more endearing. It's an excellent read, and one I expect will be spotted on many beaches this summer.

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