Vicky Zimmerman comes to the blog with a story of food, friendship, love and second chances with
Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies
Kate has had what is possibly the worst “getaway with her boyfriend’ ever. After long years of making excuses for his inattentiveness, his obsession with video games, inability to discuss emotions, and Kate’s oft-heard excuse that he’s ‘most probably on the scale’, Nick has said that despite their plans for her to move in, he’s not ‘sure’ anymore, in France, a day before they are to return. Back in England, Kate’s plans to reclaim her flat share are scuttled, and she resorts to moving in with her mother, a ‘new age’ therapist, one who reads only self-help and finds Kate’s approaching fortieth birthday with no ring on her finger and a job writing packaging copy for food is less than ideal.
Kate was never ‘confrontational’ and is more than a bit of a doormat at the start, but she does have three qualities that redeemed her: her friendships of years, her sense of humor, and her ‘no quit’ attitude that keep her coming back. Sometimes to her detriment, until her best friend suggests a day away to ‘cuddle kittens’ that morphs into a ‘volunteer instructor’ at a local care home, where she’s planning to share some ‘happy recipes’ with the residents. One won’t be ‘charmed’ however, and Kate meets Cecily: brusque, critical, gruff and intelligent: and unwilling to ‘interact’ with Kate in ways other than confrontation.
What a delightful story: Kate’s growth as she spends more time with Cecily, learns her stories, and is loaned a cookbook that is part food, part advice columns and wholly addictive, we see Kate work her way through the recipes that include charming a boss, closing a sales deal, securing an engagement and even making up with family after an argument. With the Nick Situation so unstable, and Cecily instantly seeing that Kate settled, and deserves more: the recipes, Cecily’s no-nonsense advice, her stories and the re-ignition of Kate’s dreams have everything moving to a new outlook for Kate as Cecily’s life, at 97, comes to a close. Truly a lovely story of friendships and discoveries, with some ‘helping hands’ along the way, Kate is able to move on and forward, discover her own voice, find treasures in difficult moments and take steps on a new and more fulfilling career along the way. A sweet and lovely story that shows the power of friendships, confrontation and confidence all packaged with glorious foodie images and moments, laughter and heart.
Title: Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies: A Novel
Author: Vicky Zimmerman
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Food / Recipes, Friendship, Grief, Recipes, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published on: 9 June, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google
Two lonely women. An unlikely friendship. And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .
No woman dreams of being unceremoniously dumped and moving back in with her mother on the eve of her 40th birthday. Food technician Kate Parker's first response? Denial, long days under her duvet and bucket loads of cheesy pasta.
A reluctant Kate finds herself volunteering at the Lauderdale House For Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 96-year-old Cecily Finn - spiky and sharp as a pin, but the spark has gone out of her. She has resigned herself to the imminent End.
Having no patience with Kate's self-pity, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference - it's a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at 'the easily dismayed'. It promises the answers to essential life questions: 'what shall one give to one's rich aunt Emma that will be palatable but not prodigal; to one's husband's managing director, at once memorable and modest; one's old love's new love; the man one hopes will stay on after dinner; the man one hopes will not ...'.
Can Kate find a menu to help a broken-hearted woman let go? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too? The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily's own remarkable and heartbreaking story, and the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two.
So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls - one at the end of her life, and one stuck in the middle - who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man's heart is . . . irrelevant!
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.