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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 5 star ratings
4 reviews
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Overall rating

4.4 out of 5
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    Strong Characters

    It took me a little while to get into this however it was well worth persevering with. I struggled to understand what Kate saw in Nick however it’s a very perceptive reflection of how your attitude to dating can alter once you hit a certain age and what you would have found unpalatable ten years ago can be more easily overlooked. Cecily was a great character with a polar opposite opinion of Kate’s life, indeed a fabulous reflection on the benefits of old age and wisdom and a ‘life’s too short’ attitude where Kate is concerned. I like books that are very character led and this is a great example of that and manages to be feminist in a very low key way which I liked. The narration of the story was consistently good and very easy to read. I think the ending was well written, I don’t wish to give anything away but the main focus on personal happiness was bang on target. The thing that most blew me away though was the authors note at the end, what a phenomenal tribute.
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    Stunningly Good!

    So enjoyable! A wonderful read about a single woman approaching the big 4-0 and her approach to life. Kate Parker is finally in love! Approaching forty, she is thrilled with how the relationship is going until Nick drops a bombshell. Suddenly finding herself living at home with her mother, Kate's friends come to the rescue and she is not so much persuaded to get into volunteering as presented with a fait accompli. Making acquaintances with 97 year old Cecily Finn changes Kate's life in ways she could never foresee, and this is that story. A stunningly good novel and one I raced through so easily! We've all been in relationships like Kate's, and it definitely made some cringe worthy memories pop into my head! Despite a shaky start with Mrs Finn, the blossoming friendship is a joy to behold and I found myself full of admiration for Cecily's wonderful memories. Discovering that she was, in fact, a real person and not a figment of the imagination made this book even more special, and I just adored everything about it. This is a story I completely adored, and not one I'll easily forget. Beautifully told, it was truly a pleasure to read, and as such is definitely a five star novel.
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    Thought For Food

    This was a joy of a book to read. From the book cover with the delicious iced biscuit to the surprise of photographs from the author in the back I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The only strange thing was I started reading it on the day it dropped through my letterbox and when I picked it up the next day I found my bookmark at page 147, meaning I'd stopped at Page 146 (read the book you'll see why this made me laugh). Kate is rapidly hurtling towards 40 and is childless and not yet married; this bothers Kate. However, her boyfriend Nick has asked her to move in with him and now they are going on holiday to France so things are looking good. They have a sedate relationship, no fireworks and almost parallel lives but a shared love of food. Then, it all goes wrong and Kate just dissolves in to a puddle of self-recrimination and melancholy. This is why it didn't get 5 Stars. Her reliance on a mate seems to be her whole raison d'etre initially and her moping in her mother's spare room drove me to distraction. Fortunately the inimitable Cecily Finn seems to feel the same way I do and teaches Kate the real path to happiness through the wonderful cookbook Thought For Food. Apparently this is a story about friendship, for me this was all about the food. The wonderful menus for quirky circumstances. The comfort that the right dish can bring. Although the duck lasagne did sound pretty horrendous. The telling is warm and you really feel that you know both Kate and Cecily and you are pulling for both of them. Even I nearly shed a tear at the end and that rarely happens. The pacing of the plot is gentle and it really does feel like life is unfolding on the page rather than being forced to follow the "constraints of plot". Of course there needs to be a plot or it would just dissolve in to a garble of words with no real meaning but the art of the author is in disguising it and Ms Zimmerman disguised it beautifully. I did find that I was startlingly uninterested in Kate's friendships with Bailey and Cara and her relationship with Nick. It was her relationship with Cecily that really drew me in and what held me there was a combination of Cecily's reminiscences of her life and all that beautiful food - double pasta is a thing of joy. For me this book was a love letter to Cecily Finn. Not recommended for the commute as you will become so absorbed that you are going to miss your stop. Ideally this is one for when you are on holiday or having a lazy weekend at home as you will struggle to tear yourself away from it. THIS IS AN HONEST REVIEW OF A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK RECEIVED FROM READERS FIRST.
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    A Very Sweet Story

    Kate and Nick are finally about to take the next step and move in together, but on their big holiday to France Nick has a wobble Kate isn't sure she should forgive. As Kate tries to figure out if her and Nick can ever fix things, she approaches her 40th birthday with fear and embarrassment, unsure if she will reach the next milestone single or settled. In an effort to take her mind off things and cheer her up, Kate's best friend suggests she do some volunteer work, which leads her to an unexpected friendship with a prickly old lady, and to an old cookbook with a fascinating history. This story was very easy reading, and life affirming. It is sweet to see Kate go through a transformation of settling for what is in front of her, to realising she is worth all the best. It pinpoints the difficulties in taking the leap to leave behind something good and comfortable, for the chance at something breathtaking and wonderful. Her confidence builds as the book goes on, and her final choices in the book are exciting and freeing. The fun thing about this book is that Cecily Finn is based on a real woman who lived through the war and experienced many of the crazy stories told by the character, and I wonder if there is a chance of a real life republication of her cook book, Thought For Food. It sounds so brilliant, but I found that there are very few copies available on the internet, and I'd wager those will be snapped up as soon as people finish reading this book! It occurred to me that this book may be somewhat autobiographical as well, as there are many similarities between Kate and the author. A very sweet story, with some tear jerkers and some laugh out loud moments.
5

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