The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (375 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

With the glass kitchen, Linda Francis Lee has served up a novel that is about the courage it takes to follow your heart and be yourself. A true recipe for life.

Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . . and never cook again. But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream. The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.

What do you do if your marriage is over and all you have left is a handful of cookbooks and a garden apartment in New York City willed to you by an aunt? If you’re Portia, the main character in this story, you take those books and head to the Big Apple with dreams of starting anew.

I enjoyed the character of Portia because she was strong, even when things weren’t going the way she’d planned. Gabriel, her neighbor was a complex character. I think the author wanted him to come across as brooding and someone who stands in the way of Portia getting what she wants, but for me, the word hero sprang to mind as soon as Portia meets him. I liked him a lot, and I won’t give away some of the plot, but my instincts were right about him.

And then there’s Ariel, Gabriel’s twelve year old daughter who is the other point of view character in this story. While I know that she’d been through a lot with losing her mother and moving to NYC and hence had to grow up fast, sometimes I found her dialogue and outlook a little advanced for her age, but overall she was a fun character who sometimes was the driving force of the story.

There’s also some humor, especially when Portia takes a job as a hamburger. The pacing was perfect and the reference to food makes your mouth water. There are even some recipes to try as well.

The secondary characters, including Portia’s two sisters are also well-rounded and add just the right mix. If you enjoy stories about healing and second chances, then The Glass Kitchen should probably be added to your summer reading list.

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