Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

Lizzy and Jane couldn’t be further from Jane Austen’s famous sisters for whom they are named.

Elizabeth left her family’s home in Seattle fifteen years ago to pursue her lifelong dream—chefing her own restaurant in New York City. Jane stayed behind to raise a family. Estranged since their mother’s death many years ago, the circumstances of their lives are about to bring them together once again.

Known for her absolute command of her culinary domain, Elizabeth’s gifts in the kitchen have begun to elude her. And patrons and reviewers are noticing. In need of some rest and an opportunity to recover her passion for cooking, Elizabeth jumps at the excuse to rush to her sister’s bedside when Jane is diagnosed with cancer. After all, Elizabeth did the same for their mother. Perhaps this time, it will make a difference.

As Elizabeth pours her renewed energy into her burgeoning interest in Nick, Jane’s handsome coworker, her life begins to evolve from the singular pursuit of her own dream into the beautiful world of family, food, literature, and love that was shattered when she and Jane lost their mother. Will she stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane—and Elizabeth to Nick’s Mr. Darcy—or will she return to the life she has worked so hard to create?

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

Elizabeth (Lizzy) has spent her entire adult life running from her family and the pain of her past, instead focusing on her gift—her love—of working wonders in the kitchen. But when she loses her “zing,” she takes a vacation to visit her family, and everything changes. While she and her sister Jane have never gotten along, Elizabeth finds herself caring for Jane as she goes through chemotherapy, and this forces Elizabeth to take stock of her life. As she spends time cooking for Jane, and in their “dystopian library,” she can’t help but wonder if what she’s been chasing after hasn’t been what she truly wants all along.

I have found myself completely broken and very challenged at the hands of this novel. Lizzy and Jane will make you reevaluate your life, bring tears to your eyes, and wreck your heart, in the best way possible. I am now completely inspired to change the way I look at life, the way I live my own—and to one day be able to write something even half as meaningful.

As I went through this journey with Lizzy, I couldn’t help but reevaluate my life right along with her. Not only that but watching her help Jane fight through her battle with cancer gave me a whole new perception of what that is like. The raw, real emotion that is felt and experienced over the course of this book was so touching, so understandable, such a true picture of what familial struggles and the fight against cancer are like; I think Katherine captured that perfectly. There wasn’t a “everything will work out,” “happily ever after” sheen on this novel, and that authenticity is just one of the aspects of this novel that made it my favorite of Katherine’s I’ve ever read.

If you’ve ever had a sister, known someone who’s fought cancer, or ever loved food and/or cooking—or Jane Austen—Lizzy and Jane is the perfect read for you.

Rating: 5 bookshelves

Recommend? YES!

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Katherine Reay and Thomas Nelson Publishing.

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