Lizzy & Jane are sisters who live on opposite sides of the country. Lizzy is a single, self-sufficient chef at a trendy restaurant in New York city, while her older sister, by eight years, is a social media consultant with her own small business and mother battling breast cancer in Seattle. Lizzy took care of her mother, who died of cancer, when Lizzy was 18. Jane, who left home at 18, eight years earlier, was living on the other side of the world while their mother was dying.
Lizzy holds a grudge against Jane for never returning home during their mother’s illness, yet she does take a break from her restaurant for a short visit to see her father and temporarily take care of her sister, who has the same type of cancer that their mother had. The story unfolds as Lizzy and Jane, who were in fact named after the famous Jane Austen characters, learn more about themselves, each other, and family.
I was so excited to do a Lizzy and Jane review because I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I have only recently started reading books that are inspired by her work. My first experience was bad, but I really enjoyed this novel! At first, I kept looking for parallels between Pride & Prejudice, due to the name of the novel. In fact, there was a character that I kept hoping would not turn out to be a Mr. Wickham. The characters’ personalities did draw some inspiration from the original Lizzy and Jane, but overall, these character are their own people, so to speak. I became emotionally invested in the characters. By the end of the novel, I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up late into the night to finish it.
The most interesting aspect of the novel, for me, was the connections between emotions, relationships, and food. Since Lizzy is a chef, the author draws upon many, many food references from Austen’s novel, as well as other well known works. I think I learned a lot about cooking and creating flavors through this novel, which was an unexpected surprise! At first, the Austen references felt a little heavy handed, but I definitely preferred the references to other novels that try to mimic Austen novels.
I highly, highly recommend this book to all Jane Austen fans.
I loved this book so much that I can’t wait to go back and read Reay’s first novel, Dear Mr. Knightley.
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