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Review: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and in their pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life–including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

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It’s been awhile since I had a book I couldn’t put down.  For me, this is one of those rare occasions when I couldn’t stop reading.  The Recipe Box is one of those books that you begin to feel in your soul as you read.  Its a heartwarming tale of a multi-generational family and their pursuit for finding love, family, and peace with the lives they choose.

The storyline primarily stems around Sam Mullins, who finds herself at an impasse when her celebrity boss pushes her too far and she quits her bakery position in New York City.  Sam is a strong willed and independent woman who desperately struggles between her love for her family and their family-run business, and her desire to find her own way… away from Michigan.  As Sam returns home, she’s faced with her memories of her childhood and growing up on her family’s orchard and learns about the lives of the women in her family.  Sam finds that she has to stop living in fear, if she ever hopes to discover what her heart truly desires.

I found this to be a touching story about the bond between the women in a family and their shared love for baking.  It brought back memories of spending time at my great grandmother’s farm.  At times, I was left feeling a sense of loss for the lack of quality time and effort I made to get to know her before she passed a few years ago.  This novel brought me to tears and it made me ache for the connection that so many of us no longer have with our families.  The author also featured several special recipes from her family and friends, and I admit that I’m curious to try out a few of them. Perhaps as a way to teach my son how to enjoy baking and spending quality time with his mother.

This is wonderfully written and touching tale, but I caution that you will definitely need some tissues handy if you are a sentimental fool, like me. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories that span generations. Perhaps it’s not too late to reclaim the love and traditions families use to share.



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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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