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Delicious! : a novel
2014
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Billie Breslin (Female), Magazine editor, Left her home in California to work at an iconic food magazine in New York; works at an Italian food shop on weekends; the magazine is abruptly shut down but she continues to work maintaining the customer hotline; discovers a hidden room in the magazine's library where she finds letters from World War II
Genre
Fiction
Topics
Magazines
Chefs
Life changes
Letters
Correspondence
World War II
Hardship
Fear
Setting
New York - Mid-Atlantic States (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

In food writer and memoirist Reichl's (Garlic and Sapphires) first novel, Billie Breslin, a slightly lost young woman, comes to New York under a set of circumstances that are not altogether clear. Billie finds work at the beloved but soon-to-be-defunct food magazine Delicious and almost immediately becomes absorbed in the magazine's secret archives, which include a cache of letters written by precocious 12-year-old Lulu to James Beard around the time of World War II. While Reichl fans who hoped for more weighty literature from her may be disappointed, it's clear that the author's intent was to deliver a fun novel full of culinary pleasures, iconic settings, and engaging mysteries, and at that she has succeeded. Narrator Julia Whelan delivers an excellent performance. VERDICT This work will be a delight to readers looking for an enjoyable listen richly populated with appealing characters, lovingly described settings, and, of course, mouth-watering descriptions of food. ["[Reichl's] satisfying coming-of-age novel of love and loss vividly demonstrates the power of food to connect people across cultures and generations," read the starred review of the Random hc, LJ 1/14.]-Heather Malcolm, Bow, WA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Former New York Times restaurant critic and Gourmet editor Reichl's (Tender at the Bone) first foray into fiction is like an iced white cake. It follows a traditional recipe, it is really sweet, and it is dull. A young California woman named Billie Breslin (a barely disguised Reichl) lands a job at a food magazine called Delicious! in New York City just before it is shuttered by budget-minded bigwigs. As part of an interim position fielding calls and correspondence from subscribers, Billie stays on as the lone employee in the old mansion from which the magazine was published for years. A stock character named Sammy, the fey former travel editor for the mag, leads her to a beautiful library on an upstairs floor, where they uncover letters written to the famous James Beard from a girl named Lulu during the Second World War-letters that have been hidden in a secret chamber by a long-gone librarian named Bertie. Billie embarks upon a scavenger hunt for the remaining the letters, and, in the end, on a journey to find their aging author. In order to get in as much foodie language as possible, Reichl has Billie working at a deli in Little Italy on the weekends, where she meets Mr. Complainer, her love interest. Though Reich is a marvelous food writer, the language used here is often cloying. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you. Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York's most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water--until she is welcomed by the magazine's colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari's, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills. To Billie's surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine's library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu's letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love. Praise for Tender at the Bone "While all good food writers are humorous . . . few are so riotously, effortlessly entertaining as Ruth Reichl."--The New York Times Book Review "A poignant, yet hilarious, collection of stories about people [Reichl] has known and loved, and who, knowingly or unknowingly, steered her on the path to fulfill her destiny as one of the world's leading food writers."--Chicago Sun-Times Praise for Comfort Me with Apples "The book's charm emerges through Reichl's writing, her observations and her amazing ability to capture people in a few memorable sentences. . . . You just have to read it."--USA Today "Reads not like life described but like life lived . . . Each story affirms [Reichl's] desire to get beyond the surface, even as she celebrates its unlikely depths."--The New York Times.
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