Friday, May 13, 2016

Together At The Table

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Together At the Table
Hillary Manton Lodge
Waterbrook Press

Three months ago, Juliette D’Alisa’s world changed.

In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.

As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.

Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story –  and she’ll travel across countries and oceans to find it.

But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

     Argh. So. Many. Mixed. Feelings. All right, I think I'll sandwich what I didn't like about this book in with what I did like, so I don't come off too strong. (Which sounds more ominous than it is, since I certainly didn't hate or even strictly dislike this book. It was MUCH better than the previous one, although if you've read my review of that one it will probably give a hint to what my problems with this one were.)

     First off: the food. This book made me so hungry because everything in it sounds so good! I also find Juliette's life in and of itself fascinating. Portland, Oregon quite honestly seems more like a foreign country than a city in a different state sometimes! (Maybe that's why I relate to and "get" Neil so much more than I do Juliette, because his world and personality seem a little more like my own. Also, we share a love of Doctor Who, so that helps.)

     What I still really have a hard time with in these books is just how much kissing there is between people who aren't married. It's not descriptive, not overly sensual, but they just do it so often. It drives me nuts, especially since, personal convictions aside, as a person not given to expressing lots of physical affection, it just seems really weird to be so willing to kiss someone you're not sure about marrying. Just, ick. I'm not a person who's really into emotional drama, either, and Juliette and I have such different views and reactions to things that it's easy for me to get frustrated with her. Not that she's really unlikable; she can just be a little maddening. And...I didn't really like Adrian. So there's that, too.

     But I really, really liked the last part of the book where things get wrapped up with the story of Juliette's grandparents. Her story was heartrending but also sweet, and as a person who loves history, I found that I connected much more to that part of the book than I did anything else. I think the first book, A Table By the Window, was by far the best in this series, but overall, Together At The Table wasn't bad either.

Rating: 7

I received this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review.

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