January 29, 2021
Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Chick-Lit, Friendship, Cooking/Recipes/Food, Up-Lit, Quirky Characters
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Forty-year-old Kate has just ended a relationship and, in an effort to fill her time, she volunteers at the Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. Kate conducts cooking classes for the ladies and meets ninety-seven-year-old Cecily who is caustic, critical, and contrary. Cecily gives Kate a 1950s cookbook to read which will end up changing Kate’s life in unexpected ways.
Writing: If you are looking for a mostly light-hearted, escapist read, you might enjoy Zimmerman’s story of two unlikely friends.
Characters and Point of View: Although Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies is told from Kate’s perspective, we do hear from Cecily as she shares the story of her life with Kate. While Cecily is caustic, critical, and contrary, Kate is thoughtful, generous, and caring. Eventually, Cecily and Kate grow to trust and appreciate each other. Both characters are well-drawn and while I like Kate, I think Cecily is a bit “over the top” which causes me to describe her as an unlikable character. It’s interesting that Cecily is loosely based on the author’s grandmother who also wrote a cookbook. Zimmerman is quick to clarify that her grandmother doesn’t share Cecily’s curmudgeonly character traits.
Themes: Gaining confidence, second chances, food to fit the occasion, healthy relationships, and multigenerational friendship.
“Today’s choices become tomorrow’s memories in a heartbeat…do make them count.”
Recommended: I am recommending this heartwarming and engaging story for readers who love British literature, appreciate multigenerational friendship, and are looking for a light women’s fiction read that isn’t in the romance or romcom genres (although a small side of romance is included). Bookclubs might enjoy this if they desire a light and entertaining read.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author, Vicky Zimmerman
Vicky Zimmerman is the pseudonym of Stella Newman and lives in London. She worked in marketing and as a food tester at a major UK supermarket before leaving to write full-time. She has written for the Guardian and the Observer as well as for women’s magazines, specifically on food, body image, and dating. Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies is inspired by her own grandmother’s 1950s cookbook.
Is Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies on your TBR or have you read it?
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