Journal

Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay

After I finished reading Dear Mr. Knightley, I was anxious to read Katherine Reay’s next novel, Lizzy & Jane. I adored all the literature references and how they infiltrated the lives of her characters. So often, we do connect with literature when we open up and let it impact us, and her characters capture that. The stories of Austen, Dickens, and Hemingway are in the details of her stories. I loved Reay’s first novel, adored the second, and now I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes only when you’ve run out of ways to escape. At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She’s lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down. When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she’s losing her dream. And her means of escape. When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister’s side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy. As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature,Elizabeth is forced to reimagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can aNew York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?

“I don’t think we get exempt from the pain because we live good lives. Some circumstances we can’t control—in fact, most are truly beyond our abilities. Instead maybe it’s how we get made new; it’s one of the only times we slow down enough to listen and receive grace, real grace.”

-Elizabeth Hughes, Lizzy & Jane

Characters: Lizzy Hughes was wonderful to get to know. She is about as authentic as a character can be. She has dreams but has also built a world around herself that is designed to protect her. For a main character, I found her relatable as well as all the people that she is surrounded with.

Storyline: This was the kind of novel that is perfect to just absorb. It’s a tough story. There is a lot of heart in the narration. But it is also a story about healing. Whether it be physical or emotional. Healing in relationships or healing from disease.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book. There were a number of levels that I connected with the characters because I have had similar experiences in life. I also think in a world where cancer touches the lives of so many people, the story is relevant. Reay does a wonderful job capturing the life of her characters in this story.

As with her prior book, there are enough references in this book that any literature lover will adore, and as a bonus there is a swoon-worthy moment that any adorer of Jane Austen won’t be able to help but smile over (at the very least).

About the Author:
Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, she worked as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble ans Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Katherine lives with her husband and three children in Seattle, WA. Dear Mr. Knightley was her first novel.

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