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Book Review

‘Delicious!’

11/18/2015

Ruth Reichl has worked as a chef, a food writer, restaurant critic, cookbook writer, editor of Gourmet magazine and author of bestselling memoirs. “Delicious!” is her first foray into fiction.

By Ruth Reichl Random House May 12, 2015 $16 416 pages

By Ruth Reichl
Random House
May 12, 2015
$16
416 pages

Billie Breslin has left California for New York, where she lands a job as an executive assistant to the editor of the magazine “Delicious!” An assemblage of quirky characters, headquartered in the historic Timbers mansion, staffs the magazine. A weekend job in a lively Italian deli introduces her to more colorful characters and the opportunity to write her first published article. When the magazine abruptly folds, Billie is left behind to handle the money-back guarantee of all recipes for which the magazine is famous. Alone in the mansion, Billie digs into a collection of World War II-era letters between a young girl and James Beard that a past company librarian has filed in a way deliberately designed to lead the searcher on a treasure hunt.

Billie has some strange fears and eccentricities that begin to make sense as details of a life-altering tragedy in her past trickle out. The discovery of the letters, followed by a search for their writer, gives her a new understanding of history and herself. Falling in love with a handsome architectural historian helps, too, as they discover the Timbers mansion has its own fascinating history.

Ruth Reichl writes about food in a way that will make readers salivate, but she is also a wonderful storyteller. From the first pages, where her perfect palate helps her re-create her mother’s gingerbread, Billie’s story captivates. This fun, breezy read has history, intrigue, romance and mouth-watering descriptions that won’t disappoint the most passionate foodie. CV

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Sally Wisdom retired from the Des Moines Public Library in 2011 and found her dream job at Beaverdale Books soon after.

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