Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Together at the Table" by Hillary Manton Lodge

Last year, I read Hillary Manton Lodge's A Table by the Window and Reservations for Two. I was completely entranced by these stories of of love, family, and food. Once I started the final book, Together at the Table, I had a hard time putting it down!

Three months ago, Juliette D’Alisa’s world changed.

In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.

As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.

Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story –  and she’ll travel across countries and oceans to find it.

But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

First of all, know this: you absolutely should not read Together at the Table if you have not first read A Table by the Window and Reservations for Two. These are not books that stand alone; they are a trilogy that should be read in order.

Together at the Table picks up a few months after the events of Reservations for Two. Juliette has broken up with her long-distance boyfriend Neil and has settled into a casual relationship with Adrien, the sous-chef at the restaurant Juliette runs with her brother Nico. However, when Neil shows up in Portland unexpectedly, Juliette realizes that her love life is far from settled. On the family history front, Juliette has learned the truth about her grandmother's first husband, but she still doesn't know what happened to Alice, her mother's secret twin.

When I read Reservations for Two, I was impressed by the love triangle—I had no idea if Juliette should end up with Adrien or Neil. Well, I felt no indecisiveness about her love life in Together at the Table; I instantly knew which man I wanted her to be with, and I'm glad that the author agreed with me!

The book is divided into two sections; what surprised me most about the book is that the romantic drama was completely settled in Part I. Part II is entirely about Juliette and her family's trip to Provence, to the chateau Juliette's grandmother grew up in. It's in this section that Juliette discovers what exactly happened to her grandmother during and after World War II (including her grandmother's very sweet romance with the man Juliette always believed was her biological grandfather), and the truth about Alice is revealed.

Not only is the plot of Together at the Table incredibly compelling, but the book also includes some very tempting recipes. I even made one—the pumpkin-custard pie—and it was phenomenal.

Together at the Table is a wonderful conclusion to the Two Blue Doors series, and I highly recommend it! 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of A Table by the Window (5 stars) and Reservations for Two (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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