Across the Table by Linda Cardillo
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: June 1st 2010
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For three generations of Dante women, food means love…
From her restaurant on Boston's Salem Street, and from her own kitchen, Rose Dante has served countless meals and built a tightly knit community of customers, family and friends. Her daughter Toni tried to create her own life, outside that circle—only to return with her daughter when her marriage failed. Now that Vanessa's nearly grown, Toni must face the bitterness of the past in order to taste the sweetness of the future.
But she can't make such a journey alone. She needs the guidance of a mother, of her family. She needs Rose's recipes for happiness, learned by trial and error over sixty years of marriage. Recipes that are sometimes difficult to follow, but like the perfect risotto al limone, are worth the effort.
An unforgettable story of family and forgiveness, loyalty and love.
I picked this up because the blurb caught my eye, but the blurb is kind of misleading. This is really Rose’s tale, not Toni’s.
The story of Rose, from a young woman just married to an old grandmother, was totally fascinating. Cardillo really pulls the reader in. This novel was totally engaging – I felt like I was sitting across from Rose, listening to her tell me her life story. I was hooked from page one. I felt like I really got to know Rose and her family. And for the time I was in the story, they became mine. It was fabulous.
I’m not quite sure why Cardillo decided to move from Rose to her daughter during the last quarter or so of the book, however. At that point it seemed superfluous. 3/4 of the book is told from Rose’s point of view, then right at the end we switch to Toni’s. I suppose it was to show the transition between the two, and how Toni found her way back after a bad marriage, but it just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t that I disliked Toni, I’m just not sure why that portion of the novel needed to be told from her point of view.
I really enjoy stories with strong family dynamics, and this was everything I hoped it would be.
4.25 out of 5
This book comes with two in one. Across the Table and Dancing on Sunday Afternoons. I haven’t read Dancing on Sunday Afternoons yet, but I plan to shortly.