what to eat while reading: Walnut Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Are there people who don't wonder how their lives ended up the way they did? Perhaps there are. But I'm not one of them. And neither is Lila Soto. Not too long ago, she was on top of her game; commitment and thoughts of settling down took a backseat to her career. Now she's home with a newborn, a three year old, and a career that's been put on hold. She craves adult conversation, a creative outlet, and the ability to find her way back to who she is again. Fortunately she eats well since she's married to a restaurant critic, but his quest to remain anonymous in their new city often manages to squash the joy in that, as well.
If you're a mom, you've probably felt most of what Lila's feeling now at some point. A sleep deprived body and mind never benefit deep contemplation on "what could have been". Most of this book deals with Lila's feelings and how she's trying to find her way out of them. Fortunately it's not in vain, as she is able to work them and come to a happy place where her old self and her new self meet and combine.
Although I would say this is a book for the ladies, I don't think it's necessarily only for those who are moms. It's also a great book for the foodies out there. With a cute, goofy husband who values good eating, there are passages and descriptions in these pages that will set your belly a-rumbling. Here's some (quoted) food for thought:
"I slice into a flaky purse of crunchy phyllo dough that is resting in a deep pool of black-truffle sauce, revealing the sweet, pale meat of herb-infused lobster inside. Tender medallions of lamb stuffed with earthly black trumpet musrooms ride a delicious slick of garlicky syrup."
The Restaurant Critic's Wife
author: Elizabeth LaBan
publisher: Lake Union Publishing (January 5, 2016)
source: tlc book tours
hard cover: 313 pages
"foodie" read: Definitely.
random excerpt: I smile at the idea that Sam thinks we are still at the beginning. Suddently I see the old Sam sitting across the table from me on Burdette Street in New Orleans. He has just placed a china plate of blueberry pancakes in front of me. He watches, wanting me to like them, wanting to nurture me. And I want that, too. His face is open to me, then and now. I lean into him, smell the pine scent of his deodorant. p. 280
teaser: Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.
In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back.
about the author: Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. She is also the author of the young adult novel The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf, which has been translated into eleven foreign languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, published by Quirk Books, which has been translated into seven foreign languages.
She teaches fiction writing at The University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday and The Times-Picayune, among other publications. She also ghost writes a weekly column, and has ghost written two books.
She has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s in English from Trinity College in Hartford. Elizabeth was an NBC Page, worked at NBC News in New York, taught journalism at a community college in New Orleans, and was a reporter at a number of small to mid-sized newspapers including The Riverdale Press before she began writing books.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.