Saturday, April 18, 2020

"A Table by the Window" by Hillary Manton Lodge

Have you ever read the last book in a trilogy first? I accidentally read book 3 of the Two Blue Doors series first (Together at the Table).  And I thought I could get the first two books from the library and that would be all okay... but then the library closed up.  Argh.  So I did what any self-respecting bookworm would do, and bought all three from Barnes & Noble's website because even a pandemic is not going to stop me from reading this series!

Turns out it was a good move because I really loved A Table by the Window too.  And now I have Reservations for Two on my TBR pile waiting for me to finish one of the books I'm currently reading so I can start it.  I didn't want to read it back-to-back with this one because sometimes that makes books in a series bleed together in my head, which I dislike.

Anyway.  In A Table by the Window, Juliette D'Alisa is working as a food critic in Portland, trying to process her grief over her grandmother's passing, and supporting her mother in her battle with cancer.  Also, she's tired of being alone and tired of people trying to set her up on dates, so she tries out a dating website and begins exchanging emails with Neil, a bacteriologist (I hope I got that right) from the Carolinas.  They connect.  They meet.  Sparkage ensues.  They can't figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work, but they want to try.

Through all this, Juliette is helping her brother Nico start a new restaurant, Two Blue Doors.  He's a chef, and his sous chef keeps hitting on Juliette, who doesn't told her family about Neil for quite a while.  And Juliette is also trying to figure out who the man is in the photo she found in her grandmother's cookbook and why he looks so much like Nico.

This book make me hungry.  I wanted to eat all the amazing things the characters made and ate.  Happily, Lodge includes a recipe at the end of many chapters for something mentioned in it.  I haven't tried any yet, but... I will :-)

One of the things I appreciated most about this book was that, although Juliette and Neil do meet and are physically attracted to each other, and kiss several times, there was never any question of "are they going to fall into bed with each other."  Neither of them considered that as an option, which was really refreshing, since most of the time single people in contemporary Christian fiction spend lots and lots of time either feeling guilty that they want to get into bed with someone and then doing it anyway and then being remorseful, or mourning the fact that there's just no way they can ever have sex because no one loves them or will ever marry them, etc.  Y'all, this was refreshing, okay?  And, judging by conversations I've had with my unmarried Christian friends, realistic. Very nicely done.

Also, these characters actually go to church.  Regularly.  I'm pretty tired of Christian fiction where no one ever attends church.  Also not realistic, folks!  Christians do go to church. Kind of a thing.  I mean, right now most of us are attending online, but ordinarily... they might not go every Sunday, but many of us do.

(Mine from my Instagram)

Particularly Good Bits:

My world had become unpredictable, but at least I could rely on the goodness of the Lord and the consistency of green vegetables (p. 117).

"Any experience that ends in knowledge is not a waste" (p. 249).

I came from a long line of women who wrote their own stories (p. 295).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG.  No violence, no cussing, no real innuendo, though there are some scenes where characters enjoy kissing each other.

Because I had to buy this in order to read it, it counts as my 12th book read for #TheUnreadShelfProject2020 right?  I say it does.


  1. I agree with your thoughts on some of the Christian fiction out there, so these sound awesome! Can't wait to get the first one from the library. I'm very fortunate that my library is doing curbside pickup:)

    1. Becky, ooooh, I hope you can get these too! How fortunate you are that your library is still doing pick-up. I so wish ours was, especially for my kids' sakes.


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