RESERVATIONS FOR TWO
A culinary concoction of taking chances and finding love in the most delectable places
Food writer-turned-restaurateur Juliette D’Alisa has more than enough on her plate. While her trip to Provence might have unlocked new answers to her grandmother’s past, it’s also provided new complications in the form of Neil McLaren, the man she can’t give up.
Juliette and Neil find romance simple as they travel through Provence and Tuscany together, but life back home presents a different set of challenges. Juliette has a restaurant to open, a mother combating serious illness, and a family legacy of secrets to untangle – how does Neil, living so far away in Memphis, fit into to her life?
As she confronts an uncertain future, Juliette can’t help but wish that life could be as straightforward as her chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can her French grandmother’s letters from the 1940’s provide wisdom to guide her present? Or will every new insight create a fresh batch of mysteries?
This is definitely a case of needing to read the first book in The Two Blue Doors series before reading this one because Reservations for Two picks up where A Table at the Window left off and that includes some overlapping plot threads and a whole lot of characters. It just makes more sense to read them in order.
I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Juliette's crazy family. I love the way she describes the boisterous crew:
Back in Portland, I'd brought Neil to a dinner with my entire family. Personal questions had been asked. Had there been a podium, it could have looked like a press conference, just with better food and fewer camera flashes. (p. 16)
The 'better food' part is at the heart of this story. Foodies will rejoice over the many descriptive food references and the gourmet recipes included in nearly every chapter. It's a cookbook as much as a novel and that gives it a rich, decadent feel -- even to this non-foodie who harbors simple tastes. I didn't understand half of the chef talk but it sounded impressive!
Lodge's quick wit lightens an otherwise serious plotline. There's a lot going on in Juliette's life -- her mother's illness, the stress of opening a new restaurant, falling in love with a man who lives on the other side of the country. That's a lot of spinning plates in the air and it's inevitable that some of them come crashing down.
At times it was hard to bear Juliette's high strung emotions and rash decisions even though I completely understood where she was coming from. But Juliette's Italian/French DNA can't be denied and it shows up as such a contrast to calm, steady Neil. His family is the exact opposite -- a cardboard copy many times removed. Those opposite family roots create even more turmoil in their romance. These two are so far apart a successful relationship seems impossible but I still felt like they were absolutely meant for each other. They have the whole opposites attract thing in spades.
Alas, I found myself dangling on the edge of a cliffhanger when I reached the last page. In fact I was quite distraught by the romantic upheaval at the end of this book. Be forewarned -- this series is riddled with dangling threads which apparently won't be tied up until the final book is released. And that includes the mystery surrounding Juliette's grandmother's past. Loved that storyline (which includes letters written between sisters during World War II) but I hated the fact that the crux of that story remains unresolved. Gah!
And, while I don't normally as a rule, enjoy this kind of continuous series style, I have to admit to being well and truly hooked and eager to find all the answers (hopefully) I'm looking for when that final installment is released.
And a side note: As with the first book, this one lacks an inspirational thread though there are a bit more references to prayer and church attendance than the first book. I really missed the character growth that comes from a faith themed story -- something I've come to expect from a Christian publisher like Waterbrook Press.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Reservations for Two please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw ill be held and winner announced on Sunday September 13 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!