The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee is a beautiful novel that I loved immensely from the very first page to the last. A novel of food, family, and love, The Glass Kitchen is not to be missed!
Portia, the youngest of three sisters, has had a rough go of things. Having her husband cheat with her best friend and then divorce her Portia decides to get out of Texas and head back to New York to live in an apartment that she had inherited from her great aunt. Portia is a bit different in that she really has a kind of mystical relationship with food. She can, quite often, intuitively know things about people or prepare food for reasons she doesn’t know at the moment she’s making them but it becomes clear to her soon enough. This ‘knowing’ was inherited along with her love of food and cooking from her grandmother and for that reason she wants to one day open another Glass Kitchen restaurant just as her grandmother had. It’s a long road though to get there especially when you’re broke.
Moving into her garden apartment she meets her upstairs neighbor Gabriel and feels an instant jolt of attraction. Gabriel, a successful businessman, is struggling to raise his two daughters, Ariel and Miranda, after his wife’s death. Ariel and Portia form an instant bond but things are much harder with Miranda who is angry at everything. All the while Portia keeps trying to deny her attraction to Gabriel. Will Portia and Gabriel recognize the love swirling around them? Will The Glass Kitchen ever open again? Will Portia finally rediscover herself and her passion for life and seize the second chance she’s been given?
I don’t want to give away any of the plot so that’s all I’ll say but there is a lot going on in this novel to keep the reader turning the pages ever faster. This is one of those books where a lot of the characters grab your heart and hold on but my favorites were Portia and Ariel. Portia just wanted to be loved for who she was. She was tired of hiding the ‘knowing’ in order for someone to love her. Ariel was just a great kid who was really struggling with the loss of her mother. Add to that a few heavy family secrets and it’s a bit of a recipe for disaster. Ariel was funny though and much smarter than any kid has a right to be but she certainly knew what she wanted.
The Glass Kitchen really evokes ages old thoughts on food though – how it comforts and soothes us when we’re sad, how it brings people together and makes us happy and most importantly the memories that it can bring back to us of those special times in our lives.
I listened to the audiobook version of the book narrated by Julia Whelan who does a fabulous job of bringing this story alive. She has quite the talent with voices and emotion and she just made it a really great listening experience for me.
The Glass Kitchen not only has a gorgeous cover but is a novel is full of characters who will warm your heart and food that will cause your mouth to water. I devoured it. Highly recommended!
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(comments still very much welcomed!)