Thursday, 10 May 2018

Book review : A Family Recipe - Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry's latest novel A Family Recipe, dubbed the feel-good read of 2018, is what I like to call hen lit - that's chick lit for middle aged women (like me) who have outgrown classic chick lit. It focuses on several generations of strong but vulnerable women in the same family : Jilly, known as Kanga, the 93-year-old matriarch of the family, her grand-daughter Laura, who was raised by Kanga after her daughter Catherine, Laura's mother, was tragically killed in a traffic accident, and Laura's own daughters, Willow and Jaz.

Laura is in a predicament that I'm sure most women, or at least mothers, envisage with trepidation : empty nest syndrome. With her youngest daughter heading off to university, Laura is at a crossroads in her life, feeling that she is losing her sense of purpose, value and even identity now that she is no longer needed as a nurturer. Little does she know, this will end up being the least of her worries and her world implodes on the journey back from dropping off her daughter at uni.

In parallel, the books tells the story of Jilly as a young girl, during World War II, living through the horrors of the Bath Blitz in which she lost her parents, as well as her dreams of a happy-ever-after.

Both stories are poignant and tenderly narrated, and it is easy to empathise with both women -  determined to survive whatever life can throw at them but struggling to find their way in their strange new worlds. 

It's a story of lost chances and second chances, tragedy and despair but also hope and resilience. Through it all, a box of family recipes handed down through the generations seems to provide the secret ingredients to new beginnings and happiness.

Despite some moments of great sadness, it is ultimately an uplifting, heart-warming read that will have you reflecting on how to find your happy ending, whatever stage of life you are at.

star rating : 4.5/5

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (17 May 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409166627
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409166627

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. I love the term "hen lit" and this book sounds like a classic example of it.

    1. I'm definitely more of a hen than a chick these days !! lol

  2. Hen lit is a good genre definition. Are there any food family recipes mentioned?

    1. Loads, and I've bookmarked most of them so watch this space !! ;-)

  3. I'm loving the hen lit definition too - was asked what genres of book I liked the other day and definitely didn't want to put chick lit! Have put this on my tbr list now too - thanks for the review

  4. Sounds really good


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