Wizenberg, Molly (2014) Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage. Simon & Schuster. In this new memoir food writer Molly shares her experiences of setting up a pizza restaurant in Seattle. When she married Brandon he had a number of eclectic offbeat interests, from violin-building to ice-cream making, so when he decided to open a pizza restaurant she was supportive, but believed it would go the way of all his other ventures, however before she knew it he had signed a lease and Delancey was born. This frank account highlights the challenges of being married to your business partner. Includes recipes. Rating: 8.5/10.
James, Erica (2013) Summer at the Lake. Orion. Looking for a comfort read I noticed this title on the Library’s ‘Top Picks’ shelf. This is a slow moving tale of last love, fate and second chances. If Floriana had seen the car coming she would never have met Esme and Adam, formed new friendships, and attended a dramatic wedding on the shores of Lake Como. A peaceful and involving read. Rating: 8/10.
Rakoff, Joanna (2014) My Salinger Year. Knopf. Twenty-three year old graduate, Joanna Rakoff , moves to New York to pursue her creative dreams and takes a job as assistant to J D Salinger’s literary agent. She spends her days in a retro office where dictaphones and typewriters still reign supreme, and where she is tasked with responding to Salinger’s fan mail. Her evenings are spent with her socialist boyfriend in a small threadbare Williamsburg apartment. Her life is poised between glamour and poverty. This coming of age memoir about literary New York in the late nineties is a testament to an artistic life, and the power of books and talented writers. A rich piece of storytelling. Highly recommended. Rating: 9/10.
Horan, Nancy (2013) Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Ballantine. At 35 Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne left her philandering husband and set sail for Europe, three children and a nanny in tow, to study art. Tragedy strikes and Fanny in her sorrow meets a young lively Scotsman, writer Robert Louis Stevenson. The two begin a love affair and an incredible journey that spans 18 years, until Stevenson’s death in Samoa in 1894. A sweeping novel that captures the lives of Fanny and RL Stevenson. A beautifully crafted story of a wife. Rating: 8.5/10.
Mills, Marja (2014) The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee. Penguin. For 50 years the celebrated author of To Kill a Mockingbird closed herself off from the world, however in 2001 she opened her doors to journalist Marja Mills from the Chicago Tribune. In 2004 with the blessing of Nelle Harper Lee, and her sister Alice, Mills moved into the house next door, where she spent the next eighteen months sharing their upbringing, passions, friends, and way of life. This is the story of Mills’ friendship with the Lee sisters, presenting an evocative picture of the South and an insight into this reclusive author. A rambling storyline that lacks any focus or reflection. Very earnest. Rating: 7.5/10.