From Susan Rebecca White, award-winning author of A Soft Place to Land and Bound South, comes a breathtaking story of three richly nuanced outcasts whose paths converge in a chic Manhattan café as they realize they must give up everything they thought they knew to find a home at last.
Alice Stone is famous for the homemade southern cuisine she serves at Café Andres and her groundbreaking cookbook, but her past is a mystery to all who know her. Upon Alice’s retirement, Bobby Banks, a young gay man ostracized by his family in Georgia, sets out to revive the aging café with his new brand of southern cooking while he struggles with heartbreak like he’s never known. Seeking respite from the breakup of her marriage, wealthy divorcée Amelia Brighton finds solace in the company and food at Café Andres, until a family secret comes to light in the pages of Alice’s cookbook and threatens to upend her life.
In her most accomplished novel yet, Susan Rebecca White braids together the stories of these three unforgettable characters who must learn that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole.
I felt like this was a bit disjointed. Perhaps it was because I was listening instead of reading and the narrators changed with the sections. It felt like distinct short stories that had some names from each other. But when the description says the stories are braided together, it was exactly how it felt. The stories were, however, beautifully written, the character development was thorough.
I’m glad I stuck with it until the end so I could see how everything fit together. A black cook from the south, a gay man from the south, and a well-to-do woman who has a bad marriage ending in divorce. How do these stories work together? You will have to read it to find out.
four out of five stars