Lizzy & Jane
by Katherine Reay
Thomas Nelson, 2014. 344 pages. Fiction.
Fifteen years after the death of her mother to breast cancer, Lizzy finds herself back in Seattle, far from the New York culinary scene that comforted her in her grief, taking care of her sister, Jane, as she starts chemo for breast cancer herself. This is a story of love, hope, misunderstandings, and food as Jane and Lizzy seek to overcome the things that separated them so long ago and learn to love each other again.
This is Reay's second book and, after reading the first (Dear Mr. Knightley) I did not have high expectations for this one. I enjoyed her first book, but found it relied far too much on completely replicating a classic novel plot to really excite me as a new read. In Lizzy & Jane, however, Reay has masterfully interwoven her obvious love for the classics into a new and completely engaging story. Lizzy and Jane are not just modern incarnations of Austen's Jane and Elizabeth Bennet; they have their own story to tell that is moving and compelling. There were moments when the raw emotion of the book brought a little tear to my eye. I thought the writing was well done, the characterization was compelling, and the story, though sad at times, was moving and uplifting. This was a great feel-good read.