With the glass kitchen, Linda Francis Lee has served up a novel that is about the courageit takes to follow your heart and be yourself.A true recipe for life. Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas.
Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . . and never cook again.
But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream.
The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.
A special thank you, to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
Loved everything about THE GLASS KITCHEN – think sassy southern Texas, meets sophisticated demanding Upper West Side, filled with love of family and sisters, epicurean delights, life’s lessons of forgiveness, and second chances. Delicious. . . absolutely delectable!
As a child, Portia had a dream to run her grandmother’s restaurant (The Glass Kitchen) in Texas; however, after settling for a different life (married to a senator which betrayed her with her best friend, and did not allow her to use her cooking talents); a life derailed, she finds herself divorced, and moving to Manhattan to join her two sisters, Olivia and Cordelia.
Portia is sure she was responsible for her grandmother’s untimely death and gives up her passion of cooking, due to this misconception. She inherited the ancestral gift (a knowing about events thru food), and her Gram instructed her how to use her abilities, leaving some helpful cookbooks and tips (how to heal certain illnesses with specific foods, among other things).
Portia escapes Texas, and moves to the Upper West Side in a rundown brownstone townhome (garden lower level apartment), she inherits from her Great Aunt Evie, filled with fond childhood memories. However, she has no job skills and no divorce settlement (her first job was a hoot)! Her two sisters have sold their share of the townhome, to the handsome investment banker man who lives upstairs on the upper two floors (Gabriel Kane). The other two sisters are not without problems either.
Gabriel lost his wife a year earlier, and is raising two daughters, Miranda (16) and Ariel (12, almost 13), and things are not going well in this household--total dysfunction and lack of communication. He wants to buy Portia’s garden apartment; however, she does not want to sell as this is the only thing she owns.
The last thing Portia wants is to get involved with a man and his daughters. She has problems of her own – like how to survive in NYC! However, the minute she meets this man – her food thoughts come back strong, and no matter how much she tries to escape, the more she is pulled into this world of food, cooking, and lust.
However, fate steps in and forces Portia to do what she loves best in life – COOKING, as a means to support herself – working for handsome and complex Gabriel, while planning her test kitchen with the two sisters, sending aromas to the streets of NYC, while seeking investors for their desired new restaurant (The Glass Kitchen)--if they can find the capital. Some good comfort Texas food, gourmet style in for fast pace NYC—putting her cooking skills to work to bring in the customers (and investors).
Of course, to really make it yummy, nightly midnight visits (down the fire escape)to the garden level, from the complicated, hard nose, but sexy Gabriel, with some irresistible delights and surprises.
All is not rosy and uncomplicated in this Upper West Side neighborhood. There are many twists, and obstacles along the way in this messy family of Kanes –from Gabriel’s mother, his brother Anthony, Gabriel’s former wife, and mother of the girls, with a secret past and events leading to her death, which shake Ariel’s world, as well as Portia.
With quirky neighbors (Stanley and Marcus), supportive sisters, hot sex, some strong women, yummy gourmet recipes, love of food and recipes for life, with a young girl’s determination to put her family back together, to one’s woman’s courage and journey to fulfillment and passion – a meal you will want to savor!
Linda Francis Lee created an irresistible banter and chemistry between Gabriel and Portia, which will keep you smiling and rooting for this sizzling, yet odd couple. And oh, Aerial will melt your heart, with her intelligence and winning personality, as she finds her way.
There are many parallels here, and would be ideal for book clubs or discussions. Portia and Ariel, are very similar—both are youngest of sisters, guilt ridden, undervalued by others for their intelligence, keen sense of humor, talent, style, and passion –both courageous and determined to make things better, as they discover their true self.
From the inviting front cover to the delectable and mouth-watering recipes – a captivating novel of love, forgiveness, family, courage, and the determination to follow your heart and dreams.
I was traveling while reading this book, and had to get up extra early, in order to finish THE GLASS KITCHEN, this morning before getting back on the road. Could not wait to see what would happen to these unforgettable and lovable characters. A five star winner! Looking forward to reading more from this insightful and talented author.
If you are a fan of contemporary fiction, chick lit, romance, humor, southern women’s fiction, love of gourmet food, and family dynamics, you will be assured to enjoy this magical novel, where life is not always perfect – as the fun is in the “messiness”, with some courses and recipes to sweeten the deal.
Fans of authors Sarah Pekkanen, Emily Giffin, Mary Kay Andrews, Sarah Rayner, Jane Green, Sarah Addison Allen, Susan Rebecca White, Mary Ellen Taylor, Joanne Demaio, Beth Hoffman, Nancy Thayer, Wendy Wax, Mary Simes, or Dorothea Benton Frank will find THE GLASS KITCHEN, fresh, irresistible, funny, and quite satisfying.
Loved the quote:“The minute she stepped outside, Portia smelled the cool evening air. She felt like the clock had been turned back. Gram still alive, great aunt Evie still here, the summers filled with promise of a very different kind of adventure. Portia had loved New York, when she was younger but in a way that was so different from what she felt for Texas, with its giant blue sky, and easy going charm, like sweet tea over ice on a hot day. In New York, nothing was easy, everything was dense, nothing fluffy about it, like bagels slathered with thick."