Monday, October 12, 2015

"reservations for two" by hillary manton lodge

If you loved Hillary Manton Lodge's A Table by the Window, then hold on—you're in for a treat with Reservations for Two!

Food writer-turned-restaurateur Juliette D’Alisa has more than enough on her plate. While her trip to Provence might have unlocked new answers to her grandmother’s past, it’s also provided new complications in the form of Neil McLaren, the man she can’t give up. 

Juliette and Neil find romance simple as they travel through Provence and Tuscany together, but life back home presents a different set of challenges. Juliette has a restaurant to open, a mother combating serious illness, and a family legacy of secrets to untangle – how does Neil, living so far away in Memphis, fit into to her life? 

As she confronts an uncertain future, Juliette can’t help but wish that life could be as straightforward as her chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can her French grandmother’s letters from the 1940’s provide wisdom to guide her present? Or will every new insight create a fresh batch of mysteries?

When I read A Table by the Window earlier this summer, I couldn't imagine how the second book could possibly top it; I felt like it was a practically perfect novel. But Reservations for Two is special.

Reservations for Two picks up right where A Table by the Window left off—with Juliette embarking on her European trip to visit family. Her boyfriend Neil joins her in Europe, and together they try to solve the mystery of Juliette's grandmother's love life. But once they return to the States, things get messy. They still have to deal with a long distance relationship, Juliette's mother's cancer is progressing, and the new restaurant is about to open. Juliette has no doubt that she loves Neil, but she begins to wonder if love is enough ... especially when the restaurant's sous chef Adrian is charming, available, and in the same zip code.

I cannot remember the last time I read a book about adults that had a legitimate love triangle; usually it's clear which two people belong together. But the farther I got into Reservations for Two, the more confused I became (as did Juliette). Neil is absolutely wonderful, but distance becomes a huge factor in his relationship with Juliette. And Adrian also seems like a good match for Juliette. As we head into the third and final book, I honestly don't know which man I want Juliette to end up with.

While I loved Juliette's story, my favorite part of Reservations for Two was the letters Juliette found. Written by her grandmother, her great-aunt, and her grandfather, the letters reveal a history that Juliette's grandmother kept from her children and grandchildren. I loved discovering the history along with Juliette, and, as the letters end at a most inconvenient place, I can't wait to read the next novel to find out what happened to Juliette's grandmother next!

Reservations for Two is not a novel to pick up on its own—you absolutely must read A Table by the Window first. Put together, these novels are the first part of an incredibly interesting trilogy, and I have high hopes for the final novel! 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my review of A Table by the Window (5 stars).

Hillary Manton Lodge is the author of Plain Jayne, a Carol Award Finalist, and Simply Sara, an ECPA bestselling book. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism, Hillary discovered the world of cuisine during her internship at Northwest Palate magazine. A storyteller at heart, in her free time she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, watching foreign films, and exploring new walking trails. She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links on this page are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase a product, I will receive a commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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