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A Place at the Table

 
By Susan Rebecca White 
Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition Pub Date: 03/04/14 
ISBN-10: 1451608896I
Format:  Audio 
My Rating:  5 Stars

Three outcasts longing for home come together at Manhattan’s Café Andres, a chic gathering place for New York’s cultural illuminati.

Alice Stone is famous for the homemade southern cuisine she serves at Café Andres and her groundbreaking cookbook, but her past is a mystery to all who know her. Upon Alice’s retirement, Bobby Banks, a young gay man ostracized by his family in Georgia, sets out to revive the aging café with his new brand of southern cooking while he struggles with heartbreak like he’s never known. Seeking respite from the breakup of her marriage, wealthy divorcée Amelia Brighton finds solace in the company and food at Café Andres, until a family secret comes to light in the pages of Alice’s cookbook and threatens to upend her life.
 
In her most accomplished novel yet, Susan Rebecca White braids together the stories of these three unforgettable characters who must learn that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole.
 
 

 

My Review

 

A Place at the Table was more than 5 stars – if I could give 10, I would! The story was brilliantly written! If you are from the south you will definitely appreciate.
 
As a native of NC Bible belt, leaving a small town and narrow minded ways, relocating to Atlanta years ago, can relate. I loved the mentions of the different parts of Atlanta which are very familiar– and oh my Bobby was my favorite character! 
 
The narrator of Bobby on the audio book was superb, as I had to continue going back and listening to the part once again, as he was so charming. You will laugh and cry; everything about this book is epic – from the Baptist, the south, NY, racism, and the yummy gourmet cooking and the lifestyle! 
 
The sweetest part of all was the relationship between Bobby from Georgia and his MeeMaw – it was priceless how she took him under her wing when everyone else turned their back on him --- and his letters to her. (Ahhhh!) 
 
Three outcasts longing for home come together at Manhattan’s Café Andres, a chic gathering place for New York’s cultural crowd . . . and so yummy! Southern charm meets city chic NY. 
 
In summary, this book belongs on the NY Times Bestselling list and would be so fitting for a blockbuster movie. I would highly recommend Rebecca's previous two books: "Bound South" and "A Soft Place to Land", both 5 star quality.
 
Book lovers craving Southern fiction will need to keep an eye on this talented Atlanta author!
 
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Praise
 

“The greatest Southern literature — from Faulkner on down — has dealt squarely with the broken pieces of the South. But White does this difficult work firmly in the modern age. The topics of classical Southern writing — race, class, religion — are all there, but she explores our more modern challenges, such as the acceptance of gay sons and daughters into our families, with a directness and courage that would do Flannery O’Connor proud….White has the remarkable ability — shared by only the greatest storytellers — to let her characters be who they are, for better or worse. Her writing never leads the reader to conclusions; it lets us draw our own.”

(The Bitter Southerner)

 

For fans of The Help, a tale of Southern exiles--an older black woman (based on legendary chef Edna Lewis) and a young gay man--who find each other in New York City through their love of down-home cooking." (Good Housekeeping)

 

“Tasty…fascinating…each character is a convincing creation…a pleasure.” (Associated Press)

 

"White is convinced that coincidence doesn't exist, that we come together because there is a grand plan always at work. Rendering that truth so confidently and effortlessly--that is White's magic. Wanting each of us to find a place at the table--that is White's gift." (The Anniston Star)

 

“Great expectations follow when a book opens with three distinct, seemingly unrelated story lines because you know somehow they all will be lashed together by the end….White’s ability to write with a believable voice from three such disparate perspectives keeps the “How?” at bay, while providing a sounding board for social issues that continue to confront us today.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

 

A Place at the Table is the story of troubled souls finding their way and making a place for themselves through the magic of the big city and a love of cooking. With unforgettable characters, rich detail, and seamless narration, White's new novel will long remain in the reader's mind and memory, a gentle reminder of the importance of acceptance in all it's forms and the myriad connections that surround us." (Booklist)

 

"Beautifully told...White's characters are drawn with tremendous care and precision....perfectly observed." (Atlanta)

 

"Engaging...a story of acceptance, of finding oneself, and of healing." (The Roanoke Times)

 

"In this latest from an emerging Southern literary voice…food, perspective cookbooks, and Southern influences link characters before they discover a deeper connection through guarded secrets from the past. White’s prose is graceful and evocative.” (Publishers Weekly)

 

"Beautifully written...inspiring." (San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review)

 
 
 
About the Author
 
Susan Rebecca White is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, Bound South, A Soft Place to Land, and A Place at the Table. A graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at Hollins University, Susan has taught creative writing at Hollins, Emory, SCAD, and Mercer University, where she was the Ferrol A. Sams, Jr. Distinguished Chair of English Writer-in-Residence. An Atlanta native, Susan lives in Atlanta with her husband and son.  Read More 
 
 
 
 
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