Monday, October 23, 2017

The Welcome Home Diner



Happy Monday My Lovelies!  We had a wonderful fall break: It was so wonderful celebrating Shanley's birthday at the beach.  We're so blessed that both girls had fall breaks simultaneously.  

While at the beach, I read a gritty novel set in Detroit entitled The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman.  





According to Goodreads:

Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?




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My Review:  First of all I must disclose that Peggy Lampman grew up here in Birmingham, AL, but I don't know her (she currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, her college town).  Because of her heritage, I wanted to read and review this book.  She wrote me a very nice card (along with the book)  that contained a recipe for Louisiana Okra Gumbo which I plan to make soon.  She obviously had no idea that Mr. Sketchy Reader is from New Orleans, and his favorite food is gumbo.  In her note, she states: "I refer to my writing as food-centric, grit-lit.  That said, I also enjoy developing characters-living in and reconciling with- the shadows cast by their equally flawed parents."  She nailed her goal for characterization, and for that I give her five stars on Goodreads.

The story is told from two points of view: early thirty-something cousins Addie and Samantha.  Both share a home they picked-up for a song and a diner.  Usually I don't like changes in narration, but it works in this novel especially the times when there's overlap in the storyline.  Both want to contribute to Detroit's renaissance, and they're both idealistic and naive about the reception they'll receive in the predominantly black neighborhood.  The cousins also give insight into the secondary characters, all of whom are well-defined.  That's what I enjoyed most about the story: the quirky, unique "family" Addie and Samantha have assembled at the Welcome Home Diner.  Also adding to the drama are the parents of Addie, her boyfriend David, Samantha, and her boyfriend Uriah.  The parents provide drama and conflict as their relationships with their children (both current and in the past) are affecting how they relate to their significant others.  These parental relationships allow the reader to identify with the cousins and their boyfriends because many of the circumstances are typical.

Y'all know how much I love books with recipes, and this one is special because every dish mentioned in the narrative has a corresponding recipe in the back of the book.  I enjoyed reading about Polish culture: Many of Detroit's immigrants after World War II were polish like Samantha and Addie's grandparents.  Lampman includes a handy pronunciation guide and definitions for the Polish words used in the story at the beginning; I found this very helpful.  For you chocolate lover you should buy the novel strictly for Sylvia's jumbo "Heartbreakers" chocolate chip-walnut cookies.  My youngest daughter would love some during finals week to help her study! 

If you enjoy gritty family dramas in an urban setting with the added bonus of fantastic recipes, then you'll love The Welcome Home Diner.

Come back tomorrow and see what I cooked from The Welcome Home Diner's collection of recipes.  Plus you can enter to win your very own copy of The Welcome Home Diner open to U.S. and Canadian readers.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of The Welcome Home Diner from the publisher via TLC Book Review in exchange for a fair and honest review.





Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill





10 comments:

  1. This book sounds like something I would love! Sharing on Facebook. :)

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  2. This sounds interesting to me, being from Michigan. The Detroit Renaissance is slow but sure. Sounds like a very promising premise -- and what's not to love about recipes?

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  3. You had me at “food-centric.” And it sounds like I must get this book for the chocolate chip walnut cookie recipe .... and the story as well.

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  4. You always share the most interesting books.

    And, you make me wish I liked to cook.

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  5. Sounds interesting! Especially the food. I am not sure I would bet money on Detroit's eventual resurgence (I know, I am a pessimist), but I am sure the premise makes for a good story. I do love my gumbo, and this reminds me -- I need to make some now that we have cooler temps.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your reviews. You do share many books I would not even know about, so I thank you!
    Carla

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  7. Well, now, I sure hope I win it! hahaha
    :) gwingal

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  8. I love books with recipes too! The least the author can do is provide the recipe if they are making your mouth water! I will download a sample of this book and give it a try~

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  9. I love that all the recipes mentioned in the story are included in the back in full - what fun!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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