Book Review: The Recipe Box

The Recipe Box

The Recipe Box

Title: The Recipe Box

Author: Sandra Lee
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: July 2013
Length: 225 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Chick Lit, Cooking
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased @ Scholastic book fair
Challenge: n/a
 
First off, this book is written by a woman who hosts several different DIY type TV shows, and throughout the book she has included recipes that correspond with the foods mentioned in the book. There are 16 recipes listed in an index at the back of the book. I fully intend to try out some of the recipes.
 

This book delves into the complexities of a woman’s mind, and the relationships with her mother and daughter.

Family secrets. Pride. Fear. Self-realization. And it all starts with a small, wooden recipe box that’s traveled the Atlantic from Sweden to the American midwest…and a birth certificate found tucked in the back of it.

This small, family heirloom creates doubt, havoc and leads to nearly a lifetime of running: running from everything. Until a best friend’s sad end leads to some unique wishes, statements and sentiments sent in a variety of ways.

Grace Holm-D’Angelo is fighting her past, running from it, and making some of the same mistakes with her own daughter. With the death of her best friend, she’s not splitting time between LA and her hometown, but most definitely not making any heartfelt visits to her mother. Grace carries a lot of baggage that she’s refusing to acknowledge to anyone, and as high school friend and co-worker Ken point out, she has always had a hidden agenda.

Until all that she’s trying to hide erupts like a raging volcano. When she picks her daughter up from an LA police station, she can’t keep up the ruse. Teenage Emma is sent to live with Grace’s mother, and complete her school year in little New London, which his home to a great group of folks who are all willing to help. Indeed, Grace’s high school nemesis is now doing anything she can to help out. It’s a wake up call for Grace, as is the letter she receives from her high school bestie, Leeza, after her death.

Returning to New London, Grace keeps running into hometown handyman and fireman and high school English teacher Mike, who is helping Emma in completing her schoolwork. Where there’s one, there’s three. Grace’s ex-husband, Brian, now successful with his business, comes barging back into the picture, as well as rich chocolatier Von, Leeza’s Swiss cousin, whom Grace had a brief fling with years before. Von is a flitty guy, like a butterfly: here one second, gone the next. He does things on his terms and his time. He befriends Emma in aims of getting into Grace’s good graces, but Grace quickly shuts that down due to her past, and some fears and doubts she is not yet ready to voice.

This novel comes full circle, with not only Grace’s own self-realization and growth, but also that of many of the other characters. It really made me reflect on my relationship with my mother, and hers with her mother, and the changes over the last 15 years in those relationships, the difficulties we experienced, and perhaps set ourselves up for, and the solid ground we are on today.

It is a heartwarming read, especially for mothers, sisters, daughters and best friends.

Perhaps my favorite line from the entire novel comes at the end, by none other than Von:

Our mistakes should not go without apologies. 

Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee

About the Author

Sandra Lee, a multi-Emmy® and Gracie award-winner, is an internationally-acclaimed expert in all things kitchen and home. Sandra Lee has predicted and changed the trajectory of American lifestyle with her signature “smart and simple” philosophy. She empowers people of all walks of life to create memorable meals, hospitable homes, and creative crafts and shows them how to entertain for every occasion―with ease.

Sandra is the editor in chief of Sandra Lee Magazine and the host of four highly-rated culinary programs on Food Network and Cooking Channel: Restaurant Remakes, Sandra’s Money Saving Meals, Semi-Homemade Cooking and Taverns, Lounges & Clubs. Additionally, Sandra is the host of HGTV’s Sandra Lee Celebrates, a series of prime time entertaining specials.

Widely-respected for anticipating the needs of the modern homemaker and consumers, Sandra has launched several lines of home, garden, seasonal and craft products and produced a successful DIY home improvement series. Her newest kitchens, tabletops, housewares, seasonal decors and domestics collections are available exclusively in Kmart/Sears, entitled Sandra by Sandra Lee.

The Recipe Box is her first fiction book.

Find the author: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

-CA

Book Review: Capitol Hell by Alicia M. Long and Jayne J. Jones

I was emailed to review this book after the authors saw the listing for EBW on the indie book review.

Light, funny, outrageous, but with an educational bent, this book kept me highly entertained.

Here is the synopsis:

When recent college graduate Allison Amundson, a small town girl from South Dakota, lands the highly sought-after job of scheduler to the newly-elected and rising star of the United States Senate, Senator Anders McDermott III, she initially thinks she is on the fast track to success. However, she quickly learns that crazy co-workers, a high maintenance boss, the boss’s over-the-top demanding family, and an unexpected Presidential bid make Capitol Hill seem even more dysfunctional than it looks on TV. In fact, it is Capitol Hell.

This off-beat, hilarious novel captures what it is like to work in the United States Senate. Find out how it feels to be a hot young staffer on Capitol Hill when you step into Allison’s hot pink high heels, and catch a glimpse of what life is really like ”inside the beltway.”

Aside from School House Rocks! I know absolutely nothing about the actual political process in this country. At least, nothing after 1946. It was fascinating to read about how things actually work inside a senatorial office.

I was struck by the actual amount of work, organization, and ATD (attention to detail) that is required to keep a politician in office and out of his or her own way.

Although this is fiction, possibly to protect the guilty, I can see it all being factual in most ways. 

Everyone who has ever worked in an office knows the characters that surround Allison at every turn.  From people who do absolutely nothing and get paid obscene amounts of money for it, to the sycophants, to the incompetent boss (in this case a senator), I found myself sympathizing with Allison and her everyday hell.

It was educational in the sense that I really had no idea what a Capitol Hill staffer was and what they do.  And I thought they were better paid.

What was hilarious was the drama and issues that cropped up each day that are probably left out of the job description when working for a politician.  From babysitting the wife, and other staffer’s children, to being available 24/7 to answer questions from the boss in addition to actual job duties, the staffer’s job is never done.

Overall, a fun, twisted, lighthearted examination of our nation’s political culture.  Recommended for anyone who likes politics or just a good chick lit story.

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