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The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel

Book Reviews

"Food and love without the schmaltz and warm fuzzies is what kept me turning the pages of this book. Yes, there are recipes, nostalgic and good ones, but the fascination is in how they mark the years of a childhood friendship struggling to become a life long one. If you're lucky enough to have that one true best friend, you'll find all the love, prickliness, laughter, blood curdling honesty, and joy here."
--Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of "The Splendid Table®," National Public Radio's food show from American Public Media

"I've been to many combat zones so I knew a real fight when I see one -- and the characters in this book pull no punches. But what surprised me is how their conflict is just as engaging as their crazy humor and deep affection for each other. This book perfectly combines my two favorite things in the world: fiction and food. It's a great read."
--Bob Woodruff, ABC News anchor and journalist

"The Recipe Club is an extraordinary culinary fiction creation -- a main dish consisting of a tender and poignant tale of love and friendship, served up with tasty sides of wonderful recipes. This is more than comfort food, it's haute literary cuisine."
--Isaiah Sheffer, host of National Public Radio's "Selected Shorts: A Celebration of Short Story"

"An absorbing novel that reflects the wisdom of MFK Fisher . . . a satisfying meal for both body and soul."
--Sara Moulton, host of "Sara's Weeknight Meals" and executive chef, Gourmet Magazine

Online Reviews

"The Recipe Club is a great book for all women. Light and breezy at times, deep and relevant at others, it charts the waters of female friendships in all their varieties. The recipes are scattered throughout and illustrate each scenario and provide their own interest. The book has it all, Humor, pain, love, hate, the yearning to connect and the need to be your own person. This book is recommended for those interested in learning more about women's lives and how to handle one of our primary relationships, that of best friend."
--Booksies Blog 

"What an amazing book! It is told through emails as well as childhood letters between the women. At ten years old, the girls express their friendship as pen pals and call it 'The Recipe Club'. With each letter, they attach a recipe, but they were more than just pen pals, they were 'sisters' for life . . . Since this book truly touched my heart, I'm giving it the Socrates' Great Book Alert Award.” 
--Socrates Book Reviews 

"It's about food. It's about love. It's about trust, trouble and truth. Ultimately, it's about friendship and the extraordinary gift of having a true best friend through thick and thin. You'll see yourself, and probably bits of your friends, in the two protagonists who, no matter what life throws at them to break them apart, always find their way back together until a twist of fate turns into an unforgivable betrayal. And, bonus!! After you devour this sweet and savory helping of great fiction, you'll have a cookbook for your collection!"
--Boomer Girl 

"I absolutely fell in love with Lilly, Valerie and the Recipe Club. Authors Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel wrote with such passion. I literally had a hard time putting this book down. Every time I would start to walk away, I would find myself running back and picking it up again. Valerie and Lilly both had a various range of depth and emotion. I experienced everything with them from . . . first loves, loss, anger, and betrayal. This book was so good that the delicious recipes included in this book are just a bonus. I can't wait to try them all out. They had my mouth watering. I hope Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel write another book together."
--Cheryl's Book Nook 

"Through these heartfelt letters, we share personal thoughts and emotions of two close friends as they navigate through their life. More than eighty recipes are interspersed between the pages for our further enjoyment."
--Not Just The Kitchen

"It begins with Val and Lilly reaching out to each other after years of silence, following the death of a parent, and throughout the novel, the reader tries to piece together what caused the rift between these two best friends. Family drama, heartbreak, testing the bonds of friendship, and of course, food, are all a part of the interwoven story."
--The Loud Librarian 

"I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a very nice mix of novel and cookbook. Val and Lilly were childhood friends and then pen pals. They decided to start a recipe club for two and when they wrote back and forth they included a timely recipe. I liked the way they named the recipes according to their moods or circumstances at the time, like 'Good For What Ails You Ginger Ale' or 'Mighty Math Muffins'."
--Kat Bryan's Corner
"How often, or where, would you find a gorgeous cookbook full of amazing recipes that really plays second to a wonderful story of friendship? The Recipe Club is one of my favorite reads in a long time . . . There is so much love in this book . . . love of food and love of friendship."
--Bookin' With Bingo

"The remarkable thing about the novel is that it is told almost completely via emails and letters interspersed with their recipes. I say remarkable because I could understand everything that happened just from their letters and emails. This well-written story shows the spirit and character of their lives and the heart of their friendship."
--Joyfully Retired 

"You get to grow up with Lilly and Val, experience love, loss and fun.  After the misunderstand separates them, the book transforms into a typical fashion, giving the reader a bit more focus into the life of the two women. It then ends full circle with emails. I found this approach so interesting."

"The letter format also made this book a fast read for me. I was able to read a few letters and then put the book down if I needed to do something else and it was easy to pick up right where I left off."
--Library Girl Reads 

"Using email letters to tell the tale of two women and their families, The Recipe Club is a strong character driven drama. The lead duet comes alive through their correspondence and provides enough insight into the support, mostly relatives, to enhance the loving relationship between BFFs. Although gimmicky with the mouth watering aptly titled recipes leading each chapter, fans will enjoy this fine story of friendship."
--Mostly Fiction 

"If you are looking for something more in a novel than a story about the trials and tribulations of friendship, then this book may be worth a try."
--Bibliophile By the Sea 

"I got so involved with the story of Lilly's and Val's lives that upon finishing I had a hard time picking up another book. Every book I started to read just didn't compare to The Recipe Club. I love it when I find a book that is so involving but I hate it when I can't move on to another book. I know . . . what a dilemma."
--Things We Read 

"While you're reading along with Lilly and Val who are life long friends. You feel apart of their two person club by reading their letters back and forth between each other. From current days with email to childhood notes with pictures and childhood hopes and dreams."
--Running Away 

"This is a very well written book. I really enjoyed reading it. The whole book is written in the form of letters that Val and Lily write back and forth to each other. While they are writing they send recipes back and forth to each other. The recipes are included in the book. There are some really good ones I would like to try."
--Sherrie's Books 

"I will definitely be keeping this book for my classroom -- it's appropriate in that it's interesting, captivating, and has enough 'spice' (PUN!) to keep readers' interests. The theme of moving on and growing apart if one that any high school girl can relate too. I think that female readers will be able to relate to the relationship between Lilly and Val. Plus, I think that students will really appreciate the recipes."
--Miss Remmers' Review
"I was definitely drawn to the story because of the back and forth letters from Lilly and Val and the story did not disappoint. I also loved how the recipes were worked into the storyline and really how you could use this as a cookbook as well."
--Alea Reads
"I enjoyed the recipes and especially like that there is an index to them in the back of the book."

"I'm really happy to be able to add another title to my list of great chick lit with substance. The Recipe Club is a charming, heart-warming and at the same time heart-breaking tale of two best friends who struggle through the typical ups and downs of a friendship between two extremely different people."
--Blog Critics 

"The story really captures your attention and emotions and reminded me of friendships from elementary, through junior high and high school to college. How people change and grow apart, then back together. The Recipe Club is very interesting and I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes."
--My Two Blessings
"The book includes a wonderful collection of recipes. The authors have been kind enough to include an index to make finding them easier."
--Chocolate and Croissants 

"My favorite part of the story was the way the recipes coincided with what was happening in the lives of the girls. I thought it was an adorable idea, and something that I would have done with my best girlfriend from childhood!"

"This book is an easy, quick read, especially since there are recipes interspersed continuously throughout. The Recipe Club is a feel good book that gets its message across. Friendship and families are special. But they take work. And they can't always be forgiven quickly or easily."
--Jandy's Reading Room

"This is a big, gorgeous, appealing mix of a book. It's an epistolary novel. It has recipes. It has pictures and doodles. In short, it is a beautifully designed, lovely feeling book."

"The first thing I noticed about The Recipe Club is that it is physically a beautifully designed book. From the cover art selection to the interior sketches and full colored backgrounds, it is simply a pleasure to behold. In fact, the overall design played a huge part in my enjoyment of the book."
--Experiments in Reading 

"I absolutely loved this book!  Two young girls formed a pen-pal relationship that included sending recipes to match their moods.  It was a very captivating book."
--Scraps of Life

"I would recommend this to those that enjoy epistolary books, recipes, and how friendship can be restored over exchanging some once-forgotten memories and to be willing to forgive."
--Life in the Thumb 

"For me it showed the real basis for making and keeping a friendship.  It was also the ability to reclaim the friendship that was once abandoned long ago. The family dynamics was (sic) quite interesting, yet unorthodox as well."
--Serendipitous Reader

"It is a heartwarming tale of two girls that you can only hope can overcome their differences and make it through stronger in the end. It is a story about friendship, love, loss, forgiveness and hope. This is feel-good chick-lit that I can definitely recommend."
--Bookwormy Girl 

"I already miss Val, Ben and Valerie. Maybe I should write a longhand letter to a friend. That might make me feel better. Oh, in the letter I must include my apple fritter recipe. Great book."
--Read with Tea 

"All of us in our lifetime have somehow 'misplaced' a friend or someone who was extremely important at one time in our lives. This is the story of two women who were best friends, who helped each other through puberty, adolescence, and much more and then due to a miscommunication, lost that closeness and drifted apart."
-- Chèli's Shelves 

" . . . this really was a cute story and a very creative idea for a recipe book. Maybe it will make old friends or moms and daughters connect, who knows. Either way, those recipes sound delicious and I will definitely be trying some of those out."
--Jenny Loves to Read 

"YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK . . . it is fantastic. You'll laugh and cry and miss the girls terribly when it ends."
--Lil' Maddies Meemaw 

"This book would definitely make an excellent book to discuss with a book club. It would be great to pair food and drinks around recipes from the book at a book club meeting. You could even have a recipe swap or start a recipe club. My book club has our own cookbook where we share favorite recipes from our book club meetings and favorite family recipes. We have an organizer who compiles and prints out the recipes each December that we submit and she passes them out for us to add to our cookbooks. We all look forward to this every year so I would say we do have our own recipe book club."
--Redlady's Reading Room 

"I love how well the letters and the recipes tell the story. It was by far my favorite part of the book. The growth of the characters through their individual letters is poignant and yet extremely realistic. I also enjoyed how that as Val and Lilly age, everything about the story does as well -- from the verbiage and sentence structure to the experiences to the moods to their thoughts."
--Master Musing by Michelle 

"The Recipe Club is nicely written, capturing the voices of the girls as they grow from awkward pre-teens to mature women."
--Busy Bookworm Reviews 

"I enjoyed the way the books story was told thru the recipes and made up into email like pages between them. It was a quick easy read and I highly recommend it to everybody who loves recipes and/or has ever had a BFF spat!"
--Jen's Book Talk 

"I recommend this to anyone that wants to read a unique story about friendship or someone who is a food-fan. It's a fun read that I think will appeal to those of us who aren't really into cooking as a hobby."
--Creativity Gone