Monday, May 11, 2020

"Reservations for Two" by Hillary Manton Lodge

Well, that's it.  I'm a firm fan now of Hillary Manton Lodge.  Giving her a label here on my blog and everything.  I'm going to have to buy the last two books in her backlist that I don't already have, and I just might be elevating her to auto-buy status, right under Katherine Reay.

Cuz man, oh man, do I love her storytelling.  Particularly her characters and her dialog.

Yeah.  So, this is book two of the Two Blue Doors series.  I've already read books three and one, in that order, because of reasons.  (Reasons = librarians who cover up series info with barcode stickers.  Because of their own reasons, I'm sure.  But still, kind of low-level evil there.)  I KNEW how this was going to end.  Because of how book three begins.  But it didn't matter because I love these characters and want to spend time with them as much as I can, even if I know how their stories are going to wrap up.  This is a trilogy I look forward to re-reading.

In this middle book, Juliette and her boyfriend Neil spend quite a bit of time hanging out in France and Italy with her extended family.  Juliette is starting to dig into her grandmother's past to learn the truth about her grandfather, and she's also making contact with some suppliers for the restaurant she and her brother Nico are opening back in Portland.

Speaking of back in Portland, Juliette's mother's battle with cancer spirals downward.  Her long-distance relationship with Neil proves difficult.  And the more she learns about her grandmother's life in 1940s France, the more questions she has.  I'm really glad I'd already read book three, to be honest, because otherwise I think this book might have stressed me out some.  Instead, I breezed through it chanting, "It'll be fine!  It'll be fine!" as needed.

If you are looking for some delicious contemporary books with relatable Christian characters (who go to church routinely!!!), a smooth and realistic writing style that is a joy to read, and a smattering of historical romance sprinkled throughout it, you definitely need to read these books.  And did I mention they have lots and lots of recipes included?  I've earmarked several to try.

Particularly Good Bits:

My skills with an oven brush are slow-clap worthy.  Children dream of one day being able to clean an oven like me.  Old men weep (p. 27).

...do keep in mind that this may be your one opportunity to meet Gabriel before our parents have him conveniently murdered (p. 150).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for mentions of "monthly ladylike trials," some veiled references to married people's intimate activities, and sadness relating to a miscarriage.  Also, the illness related to cancer could be distressing to younger readers.  It's clean, but its not aimed at kids, is what I'm saying.

This is my 15th book read for #TheUnreadShelfProject2020

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