Jan 122015

Lizzy and JaneA Literary Feast of Emotions!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source:  Review Copy form Publisher

Lizzy – a thirty-three-year-old gifted New York City chef who seems to have temporarily lost her magic in the kitchen. Her restaurant isn’t packed, her dishes aren’t as focused and vibrant, and her financial backer thinks she is distracted by events in her personal life.

Jane – Lizzy’s older sister. A mother of two, who, at the age of forty-one, is battling the very terrifying and unpredictable disease known as cancer. While Jane’s cancer isn’t aggressive and was diagnosed at an early stage it has created a vast amount of tension and upheaval to every aspect of her life.

Lizzy and Jane – sisters who lost their mother to cancer fifteen years ago and still have emotional scars that have not yet healed. Jane left home at eighteen and never came to visit while their mom was sick. Lizzy, feeling abandoned by her sister, left home as well and the two now have a very distant and cold relationship full of unresolved issues and pain. But due to the situations in both their lives they are brought together for an extended visit…

With Dear Mr. Knightley, we’ve seen how skilled story-teller, Katherine Reay, can take a very serious and difficult situation like growing up in the foster system, and pen a heartfelt and honest story full of challenge, growth, and realism. She does the same with Lizzy and Jane. Cancer and overcoming fear and grief are very tough and sometimes off-putting subjects, but blended with Ms. Reay’s thoughtful and sensitive prose and accessible characters, these subjects are more inspiring and uplifting than they are depressing and dark.

As with Dear Mr. Knightley, my favorite part of the story was witnessing the main character’s emotional journey and growth. Their mother’s death affected Lizzy and Jane in so many ways; they lost a lot more than their mother when she died. I especially enjoyed Lizzy’s journey to find herself and discover what she was missing. When Lizzy traveled to Seattle to visit her family, she was hoping to solve her problems with cooking and find her magic again, but she ended up learning so much more, she ended up finding love, family, forgiveness, and a life.

It was so easy to fall in love with the characters in this story – my heart was engaged by each and every one of them and I thoroughly enjoyed observing how they grew closer together. Besides her relationship with Jane, I enjoyed seeing Lizzy’s interactions and friendships with Nick, a single father who feels guilty about a past mistake, and Cecilia, a nurse at the infusion center with so much heart and spirit. I enjoyed how so many characters connected to each other through Jane Austen and other authors; and I loved how Jane Austen was so full of meaning and history to both Lizzy and Jane (there are plenty of fun nods to Jane Austen for readers to discover!) And the food references and descriptions were so delectably tempting! Whether it was food Lizzy was preparing, eating at a restaurant, or purchasing at a market – my senses were tingling with all the fresh, vivid, and tantalizing ingredients described. (I think I may have learned a cooking trick or two, as well!) And while I loved how this tale integrated so many diverse elements, I did sometimes find myself wanting a little more attention and page time devoted to certain aspects of the story.

Profound, perceptive, and poignant – Katherine Reay once again delivers a story that will pull at your heartstrings, make your eyes well up with tears, and in this case, give you plenty of food for thought! An incredible read!

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The kind people at Harper Collins have kindly donated TWO lovely paperback copies of Lizzy and Jane  for me to give away to TWO lucky winners!

 Lizzy and Jane  Lizzy and Jane

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!!

  • This giveaway is open for US residents.  Thank you, Harper Collins!
  • This giveaway ends January 19th!
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  81 Responses to “Lizzy and Jane – Katherine Reay + Giveaway!!!”


    Great review! I would love to read this!


    I enjoyed Katherine’s Dear Mr. Knightley as well. I’m so glad she’s been able to continue her work with Lizzy and Jane. Thanks for the review!


    Hoorah for JA nods and food descriptions! A lovely review.


    always a pleasure reading your thoughtful, indepth reviews, Meredith!
    HapPiest New Year Reading 🙂


    Thank you for the review! Lizzy amd Jane
    is now on my TNR list.


    As ever, an inspiring and evocative review. Isn’t it wonderful how Jane Austen has provided an endless source of inspiration and connection!


    really like this author, enjoyed both books.


    Thank you for these reviews. They always helps me to choose my next book. 🙂


    I must confess that my mouth began to salivate when you wrote that you enjoyed the food sections and that you learned a few things. This sounds like an interesting story and so incredibly different. Thank you for the thoughtful review and the giveaway.


    Lizzy and Jane sounds like it has some very memorable characters! Great review!


    Food AND Jane Austen? Sounds good to me! Iive heard great things about this book. Please enter me into the giveaway.


      Food and Jane Austen is awesome! As a chef Lizzy looks to some meals from Jane Austen’s novels as a source of inspiration when cooking for her sister. I think it is such a neat idea!


    I am so excited to read this novel! *SQUEE!*


    Sounds like a wonderful read. I love stories that tug at your heart especially those involving JA as well as food references… Thanks for another great review and for the giveaway!


    I’m not commenting for the giveaway as outside US but I just wanted to say, what a great review Meredith! Everybody seems to love books by Katherine Reay, but I haven’t read either of her books yet, they’re on the TBR.


    Dear Mr. Knightley was so heartbreaking and touching, but I’m glad to see that she is still writing more with that tone and with the nods to Jane Austen and other literary greats.


    What a heartrending but inspirational story line. I shall be adding this one directly to my TBR list. Thank you for this great review.


    A literary feast of emotions? That sounds pretty much perfect!


    I always enjoy your reviews. I will definitely add this to my large TBR pile!


    This will go on my Wish List, hoping that I win it. Must say I totally agreed with your rating on her first book, which I only finished this past weekend. A great book and not at all what I expected. Thanks for the review.


    Would love to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway.


    Definitely on the wish list. I am a unrequited pastry chef inside so I love foodie parts of novels and one that includes Jane is exciting. Throw in some time travel and I would be jumping up and down…LOL I have Dear Mr. Knightley on my TBR pile so I have no input as to the author’s style, but I enjoy the review that points to her dealing with complex human emotions and situations with a Jane cant. That’s a great thing. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway!


      That’s awesome, Stephanie! I think you will definitely love this one! I agree, they are very compelling stories with complex characters. And I know your affinity for Mr. Knightley so, I know you will love the first one too, even though it isn’t an Emma story!


    Wonderful review! I would love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂


    Thank you for the honest and in depth review. I read her first book and would love to read the second as well.


    Meredith, Thank you so much for the lovely review. I’m delighted you enjoyed both Dear Mr. Knightley and Lizzy & Jane. The stories were so different for me — and, I’ll admit, I sometimes wondered if I’d be the only to “get” these sisters. 🙂 Thank you also for offering a give-away. It’s such a help in getting the fun and excitement out into the world. And… Please don’t enter me into the give-away. 🙂


      Thank you for the lovely visit, Katherine! I’m so very happy to read your stories! Thank you for writing such memorable and moving tales and tying it in with my favorite author! 🙂


    how well I can relate to distant sistership…. not so dire, and not totally; I look forward to Ms. Reay’s working out of their past.


      It was moving to see how Lizzy and Jane worked out their issues. A lot of healing and learning. I wish that this could be true for all siblings who are estranged.


    Your reviews are always trustworthy, vibrant, and full of humor!


    I recently read Dear Mr. Knightley and adored it. I even reread the second half of the book, the day after finishing, something I rarely do. I’m looking forward to reading Lizzy & Jane, and appreciate the chance to win the story through this giveaway.
    Thanks for your thoughtful review.
    Kerry Johnson
    candidkerry (at) gmail (dot) com


    Your review/synopsis of the book DID give me a good feel for the book in a way that has piqued my interest and made me curious to read it. Thanks.


    Thanks for the review! I think I will have more books than time to read them but I would love to win one of the copies.


    Thank you for the post, review, and giveaway. The book sounds great!
    Thank you.


    I have been wanting to read this. I’m crossing my fingers!


    Wonderful feature and giveaway. Thanks for this great review and post.


    Meredith, what a wonderful review. I have Dear Mr. Knightley on my Kindle, but haven’t started it yet. I won’t be able to read this one due to the cancer content. It’s something that I can’t emotionally handle so I don’t watch movies like Terms of Endearment or read books like The Fault In Our Stars. It takes a skilled author to deal successfully with such hard subjects as illness or the foster system and it appears that this writer has done this very well. Best wishes to Katherine Reay for a long career and I look forward to reading other books that she’s written in the future.


      Very well said, Joy. I must admit I was wary when I learned about how one of the characters had cancer, I felt it might be something I wouldn’t handle well (I’m a bit sensitive.) But I really appreciated how Ms. Reay, not only chose these hard subjects, but wrote about them in such a way that brings light and peace, and not sadness.


    Hi Meredith, great review! It sounds as if this book is emotionally wrenching, but I do look forward to reading it. I can already see there is much to relate to.
    I have Dear Mr. Knightley, but haven’t read it yet. I’ve gotten caught up in the Poldark Series, which I read many years ago. There weren’t so many then. I’ve just finished the ninth book!! There are 3 more!!
    From your description Katherine Reay is an excellent writer. I wish her all the best and I hope I win the giveaway!!


    I enjoyed your review, Meredith. Both of these books are on my TBR and I am looking forward to reading them.


    Hi Meredith! I can’t enter the giveaway because I don’t live in the US, but I wanted to tell you that I LOVED your review!! 🙂 Dear Mr. Knightley was my favourite book of 2014 and I look forward to get to this one! Ms. Reay really knows how to write touching stories! 🙂


    I have both Lizzy and Jane and Dear Mr Knightley (so please don’t put me in for the giveaway) and I so look forward to reading them. 🙂 They’re on my goodreads Austenesque TBR Challenge list.


    I loved Dear Mr. Knightley, so I can’t wait to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway!


    a definite add to my Wish List!!
    thanx for the review!!!


    This is on my “To Read” list!

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