Sometimes, little things can turn into heirlooms treasured by generations.
Have you got something in your possession that is of no great monetary value but means the world to you? Something sentimental? A little token dear to your heart to remind you of the beloved members of the family who are no longer with you? A piece of jewellery, perhaps? Or an album full of black and white photographs from before you were born? Or maybe it’s something absolutely unique, that has been lovingly kept in the family for generations, to help you piece together the puzzle of family history?
The characters from Veronica Henry’s new book “A Family Recipe” are lucky to share just that.
The book has drawn me in from the start, as in her new novel Veronica Henry uses one of my favourite storytelling techniques. She intertwines the present with the past for truly captivating reading.
The reader is following two storylines. One of a young girl, Jilly Wilson, who got her first experience of love at the tender age of eighteen during the Blitz of the Second World War, in 1942. And the other, 73 years later, at present time, where her granddaughter Laura, deals with problems of her own with her wise and supportive grandmother still by her side. Two generations living side by side, but they are united by more than just family ties…
Having accidentally discovered a secret that shuttered her life as she knew it, Laura is feeling lost and unsure how to fix things. At difficult times, we all need a bit of support and inspiration. For Laura, it came in the form of a family heirloom – a little box, stored in the kitchen, full of a lifetime of treasure. It is the very same box that gave her grandmother, Jilly, a boost of self-belief when she was only a young girl herself. It contains much-loved family recipes written down by previous generations of the family, starting from before the war. Alongside the secrets to hearty and comforting meals, the little box holds mementoes of the women who wrote them and occasions when the recipes were put into service and enjoyed. They evoke memories and bring back souvenirs of the bygone days better than any photos ever could.
Jilly and Laura are somewhat lucky; despite all the dramas in their lives, they have something that all of us want. They share more than just blood ties; they are united by family traditions and the solace of the ancestral home that saw generations of the family through thick and thin.
Much like in Veronica Henry’s previous novel, “The Forever House”, the family home in “A Family Recipe” is given a heartbeat. The beautiful property in the city of Bath is presented as one of the characters with its own feelings and emotions. It provides safety and comfort to its inhabitants when they need them the most and follows the family’s ups and downs just like any one of the members.
This heart-warming and life-affirming novel can’t fail to move you and will leave you trying to imagine life in the heroines’ shoes. You might not always entirely relate to their actions and responses, but you will certainly sympathize with them and follow their journeys on the edge of your seat.
This book is about true friendship, the kind we may only find once in our lifetime if we are really lucky. It’s about courage, heartache, forgiveness, hard work and dedication, about appreciation of traditions and people closest to us. And, above all, it’s about the triumph of love over ego and belief over despair.
This beautiful novel will whisk you away to another time and place for a spot of escapism. It’s a perfect book to commemorate one of the most important turning points in our history while following the trials, tribulations and successes of its wonderful characters.
A Family Recipe by Veronica Henry
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Orion (17 May 2018)
Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 2.5 x 13.2 cm
Web: Visit Orion Books or the author’s website www.veronicahenry.co.uk