Lizzy & Jane

Elizabeth Hughes, who has achieved modest fame as a New York City chef, rarely visits her family in Seattle after her mother's death from cancer. When a cooking slump (and the surprise arrival of a new assistant chef) coincides with her sister Jane's chemo treatment, Lizzy reluctantly heads home. Although she's glad to see her father, it doesn't take long for the friction between Lizzy and Jane to start a fire. Named for Jane Austen's Bennet sisters, they've been at odds since their mother's illness, and Lizzy wonders if her presence at Jane's house is helping or hurting.

Casting about for a way to be useful, Lizzy hits on an unusual project: cooking meals for cancer patients, using surprising flavors and textures to appeal to taste buds ravaged by the disease. Lizzy finds willing customers among Jane's fellow patients and even meets a kind, attractive man. And though her situation back in New York is far from perfect, she's not sure she's ready to leave and build a new life for herself on the West Coast.

With the Bennet sisters as a starting point, Katherine Reay (Dear Mr. Knightley) weaves in references to Austen's other works and explores the strength of family ties in the face of great pain. Although Lizzy narrates the book, the story also belongs to Jane: both sisters must come to terms with their fractured relationship, grief over their mother's death and the future possibility of deep love and great heartbreak. Packed with descriptions of mouthwatering meals, Lizzy & Jane is a wise and winsome novel of food, family and new beginnings. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Powered by: Xtenit