The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel

The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel
Published by HarperCollins
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours

The concept of The Recipe Club is a fantastic idea for a novel – a story of a lifelong friendship combined with more than eighty recipes.  At the book’s center are Lilly and Val, who form a two-person “recipe club” in which they write letters back and forth and include a recipe in each one.  The club provides a nice distraction from their real lives, as both of the girls have less than ideal sets of parents.  Lilly and Val’s friendship sustains many trails and tribulations over the years, until their early twenties when a catastrophic betrayal changes their relationship forever.

I absolutely LOVE the idea of this book.  I didn’t cook or bake as a child, but I almost wish I did so I could have started a recipe club of my own!  When I have a daughter, I would love to encourage HER to start a recipe club, I honestly love the idea that much. :)

So, about the book.  It was definitely an enjoyable experience for me.  Lilly and Val were believable characters and their friendship was very authentic.  More different than they were alike, their friendship really illustrates the fact that best friends can sometimes be the most unlikely people – but in this case, it just worked.  Their story was very sweet and the struggles they went through were very typical of preteens, teens, and young women, and since the girls were so different the reader was able to see these issues from two opposite points of view, which was entertaining.

I loved the format of the novel – it was done almost entirely in letters, emails, and recipes.  It made for a very quick read, and while it somewhat kept the characters at arm’s length, I still felt that I got to know Lilly and Val pretty well.

I have to admit that the ending of the book somewhat disappointed me.  First of all, it stopped being told in letters and became a traditional third-person point of view novel, which was very jolting.  It took me a few minutes to get re-acquainted with the characters in this new format.  In addition, the events in the last twenty pages of the novel were much heavier than those in the first three hundred.  It just seemed strange – the rest of the book was lighter and more fun, and at the end there was this huge life-altering event which, to me, just seemed out of place.

All that being said, however, I did still like the novel. The Recipe Club was not perfect in my eyes, but I still found it to be a fun, engaging story about friendship and the recipes that kept that friendship alive.  And the bonus is that I now have another cookbook to add to my collection!