Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman ~ My Thoughts

The Recipe Box

The Recipe Box

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman
Print and e-book, 336 pages
Expected publication: March 20th 2018 by Thomas Dunne Books

Bestselling, beloved author of The Charm Bracelet spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha "Sam" Mullins felt trapped on her family's orchard and in their pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star's New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family's orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life--including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family's history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.


My thoughts about The Recipe Box ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First line—"Alice washed her hands in the kitchen sink, looked out the window, and smiled. The last of the day's light filtered through the brightly colored leaves of the sugar maples and sassafras, basking the kitchen in an otherworldly glow."

I love the way this author takes something that is ordinary and makes a beautiful story out of it. In this case, it's an old recipe box that is filled with time honored recipes, recipes of foods that were made with love by those who are now gone.

The recipes, the love, and the stories that go along with them are handed down from generation to generation. The stories from the past stay alive by the people who are making and sharing the food. You can just feel the love that is captured on those cards and the wisdom that is passed down from one family member to the next.

Sam comes home to lick her wounds after she quits her job in New York. The last place she wants to be is back at the family orchard. She has her sights on more than that. But being home is just what she needs as she learns all about the recipes, stories, and love that are contained in the family recipe boxes. 

The Recipe Box is such an amazing and beautiful story. And the author shares some delicious recipes as well! 

I also loved both of this author's previous books, 

The Charm Bracelet The Hope Chest
Read my thoughts here and here.

I received an ARC of this book and am voluntarily reviewing it.

About the author

Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired him to write his debut novel, which is a tribute to all of our elders. Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered.  To date, The Charm Bracelet has been translated into nine languages. He is at work on his second “heirloom novel,” which will be published in 2017.


The Charm Bracelet is a tribute to my Ozarks grandmother, Viola Shipman, who I grew up alongside, the jangling of her charm bracelet as ever-present as the moan of the bullfrogs, the call of the whippoorwill and the hum of the cicadas.

It was through the charms on my grandmother’s bracelet that I got to know her. I found that each charm held a story, a key that unlocked a secret part of her life.

Through these charms, I got to know my grandmother not just as a grandmother but also as an incredible woman who had lived an extraordinary life filled with beauty, hope and tragedy.

My grandmother’s story and life jangled in my head for years, and I felt compelled to write a novel based on her charms and the lessons she taught me: That the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – truly are the grandest gifts.

I couldn’t be prouder of this novel, which not only honors my grandmother, with the pen name Viola Shipman, but also all of our elders.

For more about the author, please visit Wade Rouse’s official website

Connect with Viola

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  1. How have I missed all of these books?! I love the idea of taking these beautiful household objects and creating a story around them.

    1. These stories really are amazing. I've loved them all and can't wait to see what object is the focus next time.


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