Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE DINNER LIST by Rebecca Serle


by Rebecca Serle

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-29518-7
Publisher: Flatiron Books

Years ago, Sabrina did that old thing of imagining whom she'd invite to a birthday dinner if she could have any five guests, dead or alive. She never thought her fantasy dinner would really happen, much less turn into the most efficient therapy session of her life.

Guest No. 1 is, of course, her best friend, Jessica. For Jessica, a romantic at heart, relationships should lead inexorably to marriage and children. So she's watched Sabrina's great love affair with Tobias—a dramatic, whirlwind affair that never led to matrimony, never led to making their relationship part of their community—with a mixture of exasperation and delight. Tobias, guest No. 2, is also at the party. It's clear he still loves Sabrina. Serle (Famous in Love, 2014, etc.) alternates chapters of the dinner party with the story of Sabrina and Tobias’ romance, deftly, slowly revealing how and why they broke up, the dinner party itself the catalyst to understanding their past and offering hope for their future. Guests three and four also conjure up Sabrina’s past: Conrad, her former philosophy professor—the man whose field trip set Sabrina and Tobias’ fate in motion—and Robert , her father, who left her in the lurch to start a new family in California when she was only 5. Guest No. 5: Audrey Hepburn, idolized by everyone at the table except perhaps Jessica. It’s Audrey who brings magic to the table, making the impossible seem possible. As the evening progresses, Sabrina’s guests nudge the conversation toward family and love, pushing Sabrina to learn what really happened to Robert and to relive her relationship with Tobias, looking for a way back to both men. Some of the broken ties binding her to them may be mended by evening’s end, but others have broken for good.

A bittersweet tale of love, loss, and living with the memories.