Sweet and intense, with delightful magical accents, a delectable romance—and yummy recipes.


Broke, divorced and disheartened, Portia Cuthcart leaves Texas for Manhattan, determined to sort out her life and finally embrace her magical way with food.

Portia has inherited a magical gift from a long line of Texas women who offered advice and, inexplicably, the perfect healing dish, but a tragic event caused her to turn her back on this "knowing" and live a normal life. Years later, betrayed by her Texas politician husband, she flees to New York City, where her two sisters live and where she owns the garden apartment in a brownstone. Her sisters have sold their portions of the house to Gabriel Kane, a renowned financier who expects her to sign over her share as well but is stymied when she moves in instead. When Kane’s younger daughter, Ariel, stumbles into a fabulous meal Portia makes for her sisters, she convinces her father to offer her a job as their cook. At first resistant, Portia accepts when she realizes her ex-husband is reneging on her divorce settlement, then sets about trying to open a cafe styled after The Glass Kitchen, a restaurant her family owned for generations in Texas. But as her sisters’ lives unravel, and she becomes more entwined in the Kanes’ well-being, Portia realizes how little she knows about the gift and how unprepared she is to handle the grief and confusion of the family upstairs. Lee takes a new magical direction after the success of Emily and Einstein (2011) and brings a light yet emotional touch as she combines food fiction with magical realism in a satisfying effort only slightly marred by Portia’s continually fluctuating feelings about her gift. However, Kane’s tight-lipped Yankee demeanor paired with Portia’s conflicted feelings make for powerful—and sexy—conflict, and Ariel’s attempts to fix her fractured family are affecting and pave the way for true connection with their magical neighbor.

Sweet and intense, with delightful magical accents, a delectable romance—and yummy recipes.

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-312-38227-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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