Book Review: A Table by The Window

29 Dec

731753The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?


IMG_4972 - black frame bwHillary Manton Lodge is the author of A Table by the Window, Plain Jayne, and Simply Sara. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism, Hillary discovered the world of cuisine during her internship at Northwest Palate Magazine. Her latest novel, Reservations for Two, will release in April of 2015 from WaterBrook Publishing Group.

In her free time, Hillary enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, attending indie concerts, and finding new walking trails. She and her husband make their home in Portland, Oregon, with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Shiloh.


My Impressions:

Juliette is a twenty-something youngest daughter of a food family. Restaurants, recipes, big appetites and big attitudes are the norm for the D’Alisa family. But Juliette is dissatisfied — with her job, her lack of a love life and the direction her life seems to be taking. Setting out to discover a new relationship, career and a family secret, she discovers more about herself.

A Table by The Window is satisfying on many levels. Hillary Manton Lodge uses a variety of writing devices — first person narrative, emails and recipes — to tell Juliette’s story. The story proceeds at a pace that is just right — slow enough to mirror real life, but fast enough to keep the reader interested and engaged. And with a lot of characters to keep up with, Lodge did a great job of developing them and making them real and relatable. If you are a foodie, you will love this book as well. Each recipe fits with the action of the story and adds a great extra touch. And while I will probably never make any of the dishes featured (I’m just not an adventurous cook), I savored each one.

Targeted at the New Adult demographic, A Table by The Window still appealed to this 50-something reader. The themes of family and finding one’s place within it resonate across generations. There are quite a few story threads that are left dangling, so I am eagerly anticipating book 2 in the series, Reservations for Two, due out in April, 2015.


Audience: women ages 22 and up.

(Thanks to Waterbrook for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

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