Together at the Table
By Hillary Manton Lodge
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN# 978-0-3074-73179-1
312 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: 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?

REVIEW: I’ve enjoyed the first two books,  A Table by the Window, and  Reservations for Two but this last installment in the Two Blue Doors series hit a home run in my heart. This author showed readers a side of her writing style we didn’t see in the other books. I feel she saved the best for last! Bravo!

I relished my time with this French, Italian family who love each other and are brought together by their passion for food (creating it; eating it and sharing it with others) This novel (like the others) has many delicious recipes sprinkled thru out. The reader is brought alongside the characters while they experiment with food and create new dishes.

Juliette thinks about what to make for their Thanksgiving dinner. She pulls out her cookbooks to begin the search, “ I scanned glossary pages filled of lovely food, let my eyes drift over whatever recipe seemed best..”…” Saturday, I slipped out to the Farmer’s market. Waiting for me were crates of pears in shades of green, gold, and rose. I fell in love.”…Pears. Pears cake, pear sauce, caramelized pears, baked pears.”

The story goes on as readers walk in Juliette’s shoes and watch she decide what to make. The recipe at the end of the chapter is Pear Cardamon Galette. All the recipes are a bonus, fun factor of this series.

There are quotes on the top of each chapter. One of my favorites, wraps the reader in the warmth, fun, realism, and mystery inside these pages. It’s a quote by Cesar Chavez who says, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.” Juliette and her family do just that.

The mystery talked about in the first two books is solved in a unique way. Juliette’s family has uncovered her grandmother’s diary. They gather together at the table and read it out loud so everyone can learn about the family secret together.

The D’Alisa’s read Mireille’s diary. She pens it in English so the hired help can’t read her private thoughts. She says, ...” We’re all doing the best we can. We hear of arrests and rumors of arrests, of women and children being sent to labor camps. I know there are families hiding, which is not so very different from us. We hide in the open.”

This author seamlessly weaves together the past and present. The reader is given the opportunity to join arm and arm with Juliette’s family who get a peek into the harsh reality of war. Discovering a few surprises that affect their relatives in present time.

You won’t want to miss hanging out with this loving, loud household as they learn to live with loss, discover true love and solve a mystery. This book would make a great book club pick as the author has provided twelve discussion questions to help create lively conversation, plus there are so many recipes to help create a fun and yummy meeting time.

This author pens a humorous, witty, insightful, touching story I couldn’t put down. This series is a keeper. This author is one to watch (she’s gotten better by the book this last being her finest).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Waterbrook Publisher . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


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