Lizzy and Jane

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

This book will pull at your heart strings in more ways than one. This book follows Lizzy, a chef in New York City with her own restaurant, but when her restaurant manager tells her that her passion is failing and is bringing in extra help, she decides now would be a good time to take time to go visit her father and sick sister, Jane. Jane is sick with cancer and has a family of a husband and two kids. Jane has lost her will to love, to love, to eat, to do anything for most of the week after her chemotherapy.
When Lizzy comes, she uses her cooking skills and expertise to make foods suited Jane’s new palate. Through this Lizzy starts to love cooking again, but that comes with new issues. While living with Jane, Lizzy’s past, as well as her sister’s and father’s comes dredged up. Feelings arise that the family doesn’t want to deal with, along with a husband who appears to not be support of his wife during her sickness. Lizzy is left with Jane and her two kids, learning to balance their lives and helping Jane through treatment. Lizzy meets Nick and his son, and her world changes even more. Lizzy always plans to go back to New York, but then she begins to cook for other cancer patients as well. When things go wary there, Lizzy’s while world changes and she makes mistakes she feels she can’t undo. Lizzy leaves to go back to New York to what she thinks she wants, only to find herself mistaken. To right wrongs, she comes back to her family and Nick, but will they accept her and will her new dream showcase her passion in a way that her restaurant never did?
This story is heartfelt, deals with the loss of loved ones through sickness and distance. It shows that love can conquer all. This book proves that while you may not like a family member, loving them through it all is important. Love is not like. Love is important to have and will help you get through all trials in life, even when you think others don’t care. They will surprise you in the most unsuspecting ways. Through notes, research, a steady hand in the kitchen, the love of a child, and most of all, a second chance.
Keep tissues handy, and happy reading!

Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Samantha Moore is the down-on-her-luck character that many of us are all too familiar with. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Sam hides behind the facade of her favorite books, namely Jane Austen and other similar classics. She has been in and out of foster homes and lives with Father John now. An orphan, at the age of 23, and all attempts at a normal life failed, for another “failed to connect.” She gets the opportunity of a life-time to go to college, all under the donation of an illustrious Mr. Knightley, the benefactor who will pay for all of her educational costs, as long as she gets her graduate degree in journalism. Sam begins by not being too fond of this prospect, but it grows on her and transforms her in ways she never imagined possible. Through the help of Mr. Knightley and journalism, along with new friends that she meets in the most unlikely places, she is able to start overcoming her past and put the book front behind her. She begins to be more courageous. During the book she meets the famous Alex Powell, who she finds herself enjoying more and more time with, but with no basis as to what relationships should be like, she has no basis for what she feels like. Throughout her journey, Mr. Knightley provides her with clothes, an apartment, and a confidant as Sam, to get her education paid for, must chronicle her adventures through school (and life as she deems fit) to him through letters to which he never replies. Sam finds safety and refuge in the letters and is able to open up to her true self, closing doors on her past and opening doors to things she never imagined possible. She finds love, friends, and family, but when she questions the relationship of Mr. Knightley and demands a meeting, does everything crumble?

I enjoyed this book. I was an easy read, though I must digress that I guessed the identity of Mr. Knightley almost immediately. I won’t say when, as that would give it away, but I will say, if you pay attention to the book, it will be easy to figure out who the mysterious benefactor is, and when you do, the story takes a different light.

It is a light-hearted romance in the underlying tones with some references to a dark past for Sam, but it is mixed in with what would be normal college/friend troubles. It seems young and trivial as a reader that she would be thinking that way, but with her lack of knowledge of anything solid and real in the world, I could shrug it off as her learning her way in the world.

Katherine Reay has other books out as well, all with titles that lend to Jane Austen and other similar female authors. Enjoy this book for a light read and don’t look into it for too much of a deeper meaning. It was definitely a cozy read.