I just finished reading The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry for a Gallery Books blog tour.
After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.
A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked seeing life through the eyes of a young women with Asperger's. Since I've had several students with Asperger's, this topic interests me and I love finding out more about it. And I loved the food aspect of the book--the recipes and all the imagery that Ginny uses as a self-soother. The words were so descriptive and flowing (and made me hungry and wish I could cook well!) This was such a character-driven story, although there was one little surprise at the end. I wouldn't say that it was a quick read, but it very easy to get absorbed into!
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 32
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free Gallery and Pocket Book Blog Tours for an honest review.