Monday, July 04, 2016

Together at the Table – by Hillary Manton Lodge – Lovely and Insightful

Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge is the first book I’ve read by this author.  What a treasure I’ve found.  I love it when I find a new author whose writing and characters I connect with. 

Together at the Table is the third book in the “Two Blue Doors” series.  The book continues the story of Juliette D’Alisa and her big family, including the mystery about her ancestors to whom she feels connected.  Sometimes it’s hard to come into the middle of a series when you haven’t read the earlier books.  To some degree I didn’t feel the connection with the characters right away.  But Hillary does a good job in giving enough background so new readers have insight into the characters and storyline. 

It was about page 70 that I started to connect with the characters.  I found Together at the Table and Hillary’s writing to be thought provoking, insightful, wise, real, tender, good perspective, thoughtful, honest and healthy.  The characters were not afraid to say painful things, but in a loving, kind and caring way.  I especially liked the insights on love.  There were a number of thoughts and feelings expressed by the characters that I highlighted because I found them to be insightful or perfectly capturing the emotion. 

I would like to also note the Christian faith and the Gospel message are not really a part of this book or storyline.  I do appreciate that there was no profanity or inappropriate sexual scenes in this book. 

Something I did object to was on page 258.  Character Letizia is talking about her grandmother and says, “When I was sixteen I thought she should have gone through with the affair.  But we should not be surprised.  After all, we came from somewhere, no?”  Obviously that doesn’t line up with Scripture's view of adultery.  But like I mentioned earlier, there’s not a lot in this book that speaks of the Christian faith. 

Something fun about this book is quotes at the beginning of each chapter and the recipes that are included at the end of some chapter.  I’d like to try some of the recipes.  Reading this book made me want to cook. 

I found Hillary to be a safe writer.  By that I mean she doesn’t manipulate the characters or put them in precarious situations just to keep the reader in suspense. 

Hillary Manton Lodge is a gifted wordsmith and paints beautiful pictures with her words.  She unveils her characters with insight and depth.  I really liked Together at the Table and look forward to going back and reading Hillary Manton Lodge’s earlier and future books. 

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Press for the opportunity to read Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

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