Novel Brings Generations Together

Francesca’s Kitchen

by Peter Pezzelli

Copyright 2006

 

In Providence, Rhode Island, Francesca is an Italian widow who misses her grandchildren. She finds a job baby-sitting for Loretta, a single mother with a boy and girl in elementary school. Francesca becomes a grandmother figure to the children, who appreciate her culinary efforts. As an added plot twist, Francesca’s son Joey develops a relationship with Loretta, and Francesca becomes acquainted with Loretta’s boss. The book includes an interview with the author and family recipes.

I enjoy positive family stories like this one, but the pace is too slow. The author devotes too many chapters to the development of Francesca’s character as a despondent widow whose grown children live elsewhere. He also inserts too much description and back story in places where the story needs to move along. This is one of Peter Pezzelli’s earlier works. I may try one of his more recent books to see if his style has improved.

Despite the slow pace, some parts of the book brought back memories for me, like the scene when Francesca and the children are playing spoons, a card game my family used to play around Grandma’s kitchen table. I was right there in the kitchen with Francesca, as she prepared mouth-watering Italian delicacies and shared them with the children.

I like how the author uses this book to emphasize the importance of families coming together. I rarely see any of my relatives anymore. Maybe I need to be the one to bring everyone together once in a while, but that’s a lot of work. However, Peter Pezzelli says in his interview that if you take one thing away from this book, it’s the idea that any effort you put into bringing generations together is worth it. He makes a good point.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Advertisements

A Poem About My Mother

One thing I remember about my mother is her cooking. The following poem illustrates this and her inferiority complex when it came to meal preparation. This poetry form is a haibun, consisting of two paragraphs of prose and one haiku. Of course you’ll note here that the haiku has nothing to do with nature, but in my view, anything goes. Click this link to hear me read the poem.

***

MOTHER’S CUISINE

Mother considered herself a mediocre cook, but I thought otherwise. I loved her meatloaf, steak San Marco, calico beans. When complimented, she said, “It’s too dry, too salty, needs more pepper, should have been cooked longer.”

When I was in college, she mashed potatoes for the first time: boiled, peeled, sliced them, added milk and butter, attacked them with an electric mixer. They turned out chunky but still good. On Christmas Day, with family and friends gathered around the table, when I asked for a second helping of potatoes, she said, “Well, you’re used to cafeteria food.”

mother’s chocolate cake

evokes happy memories

of a child’s delight

***

Mother and her cooking are long gone, but I still remember. What about you? Happy Mother’s Day.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

 

Recipe for Love

Picture this. You’re a successful chef with your own restaurant. Things are going pretty well until a television cook and food reviewer writes a scathing piece on your establishment. After that, things start going downhill, and you’re eventually forced to close your business.

Your aunt retires from her catering job with a wedding venue and arranges for you to have her old position temporarily. You really want this to become permanent. One day, your boss asks you to prepare a sample menu for special clients. No problem, you think, as you put the menu together and prepare the meal.

At the appointed time of the tasting, your boss tells you that only the groom’s brother has arrived, and he’ll be sampling the food. Okay, you think, as you start carrying everything into the dining room. Then, you spot him, that same chef who put you out of business with that awful review. He’s the groom’s brother, charged with arranging the food for the wedding.

Garrison Keillor would say, “Wouldn’t this be a good time for some bebop areebop rhubarb pie?” However, in Lucy Kevin’s book, The Wedding Gift, once successful San Francisco chef Julie Delgado ends up eating humble pie, opening her mind to new cooking possibilities, and falling in love with well-known television chef Andrew Kyle. Will these two cook up a brand new recipe together? You’ll just have to find out.

New York Times and Washington Post best-selling author Lucy Kevin’s books include Seattle Girl, Sparks Fly, and Falling Fast. The Wedding Gift is part of a series called Four Weddings and a Fiasco. The Washington Post has called Lucy Kevin one of the top writers in America. When she’s not writing, she’s swimming, hiking, or laughing with her husband and two children. Click here to read more.

I downloaded The Wedding Gift from Audible, but it should be available in print and eBook formats from Amazon and other online retailers. One thing I like about this book is that it’s short. Some romance authors drag out the “girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy” scenario, but in The Wedding Gift, things are resolved much more quickly as a result of its brevity. Although I didn’t like the ending at first, I definitely plan to read more of Lucy Kevin’s books. I can’t wait to get my next credit for a free download from Audible so I can read the second book in the Four Weddings and a Fiasco series.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver