‘A Table by the Window’: Food, Family and Faith


‘A Table by the Window’: Food, Family and Faith. A review of the novel by Hillary Manton Lodge. All text © Rissi JC

STORY: The leading, first-person narrative of this story is Juliette D’Alisa, the youngest child of six in a French-Italian family. Juliette – or Etta as she is sometimes called, is now a food critic in the aftermath of a failed restaurant business which she operated with her brother and friend, Eric. Now, years later, her brother Nico plans to start a new restaurant and he wants Juliette to be a part of it, only trouble is, her life just gets way more complicated. Not only does she take on more work responsibilities, as luck would have it, she meets a guy who could maybe – just maybe, be the one she’s been waiting for.


REVIEW: Some novel beginnings are humble and quiet, expanding from where they start, kind of like a warm loaf of homemade bread. Considering this novel is actually, primarily about food – eating food, creating food, this is an apropos reference. More than this, it’s about us living vicariously through the lives of the people behind those concoctions.

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I have a kind of picky preference when it comes to reading first person narrative. Nonetheless, this is one I didn’t mind being written as such. Add in some letters (emails do count) and a fun-loving family, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a lovely 200+ page novel. First things first, I like that this novel keeps things short and sweet. The book is long enough, but not overlong, which is perfect because it uses its space wisely and doesn’t ever seem to move too fast. The opening does lag a tiny bit, but it’s a minor complaint. Beyond this, A Table by the Window is gorgeous. There’s something complexly “different” about this novel that begs us to take notice. It’s one of those stories where we find beauty in the norm and quiet of what its words.

The romance is “barely there” in terms of being “present”; we don’t get a lot of face to face time between the two, yet what is here is elegant and mostly blossoms through writing letters. When we do have the pleasure of meeting the guy through Juliette’s eyes, we instantly fall for him because, well, he’s pretty awesome and then there’s that ending, le sigh.

Considering this is a series that is going to stick with Juliette (instead of the usual three-book series about different characters), there’s unresolved issues left. One being her romantic future, another family tragedies, and then there’s her work. So many questions hang in the air and yet I’ve a good feeling that in Manton’s hands, Juliette will get the best possible story a girl could ever want – that and plenty of food. ♥

About the Book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Hillary Manton Lodge
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Source: Publisher provided via Blogging for Books
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads | WordPress
Shop the Book: AmazonBarnes & Noble | Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Series: A Table for Two (or Two Blue Doors), book 1
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Sincere thanks to the publisher (Blogging for Books) for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. YAY I'm so glad you read this. I adored this book. Loved, loved it. I loved the line where you said it's the kind of story where we find beauty in the norm and quiet of what it has to say. Totally agree. It's the kind of story you just settle into and don't want to leave. Can't wait for the next one!

    1. I'm SO very glad I enjoyed this book, Melissa! I started it at a time when I read something I didn't care for as well, which isn't always the best frame of mind to jump into something new, but aww…, I loved Hillary's easy, sincere and charming story. Ditto. The setting, characters, food, everything is all about "comfort" in reading and that is what makes it pleasant, and left me saying, "where's book 2??" ;)

      We'll wait together. :)

  2. I'm so happy you loved it as much as I did!!!!! This is a great review, Rissi. You are right, it was so elegant and the perfect length. I loved the way she used the first person POV style – I agree sometimes that can be tiresome, but this really was perfect. I can't wait to see what happens next with Juliette on her adventures in Europe (and to have fun with more recipes). :)

    1. Everything about this book was perfect! I actually enjoyed the first-person POV – Hillary has skills, and the quiet elegance of the story. That's what made it shine and I'm already eager to see what comes of book two – I mean, Juliette will be in Europe (as you say, Courtney), how exciting will that be?? :)

  3. I love books about food or when there is food involved in the story and this one sounds really good. I also like slower-paced stories sometimes. Of course since you loved it, I'll just have to add it to my list to read. :)

    1. This one is really good, Tressa. It has a slow start up, but once I got "into" the story, I was gone. Such a sweet premise and it leaves us wanting so much more without being in a life-or-death situation. That's talent. :)

      Hope if/when you read it, it's one you'll enjoy.

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