Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge
Author: Hillary Manton Lodge
Publication Date: 2016
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Series: Two Blue
Doors, Book 3
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5
Manton Lodge’s writing is like this. Her quiet, compelling and beautiful
stories are hard to part with even as we reluctantly turn what we realize is
the final page. Three years ago, Hillary invited us into the lives and home of the D’Alisa family, and since then, our heartstrings have been tugged on. All thanks to a trilogy that has
been a complex yet heartwarming series of books.
Juliette D’Alisa. A young Seattle woman, Juliette is working to get her
fledgling restaurant (which she co-owns with her brother, Nico) off the ground.
Just now, Juliette’s whole world has crumbled. She broke up with her
long-distance boyfriend and shortly after her mother died.
she’s dating her brother’s sous chef, Adrian, who is wild about Juliette, and
trying to again find her footing when her ex, Neil shows up in Seattle.
Remembering memories she thought she was over, Juliette struggles to separate
the life that was with the life she has now. It doesn’t help that Neil keeps
showing up in her world or that up until now Juliette never fully admitted what
her heart knows; she’s not over the not-so-distant past.
journey from the moment I began reading Hillary’s first (debut for me) novel, A Table by the Window. Inside those pages,
the author crafted a smart, elegant, funny and wonderful world. Then Neil
McLaren walked onto the page, and goodness, I fell a tiny bit more in love
(insert heart eye emoji). But wait, that wasn’t necessarily the makings of a
happy ending. In book two, Reservations
for Two, our hearts were shattered by an uncoupling, and of course we were
left in tatters over what the finale would bring. Happily, in this final book, any tears that are
shed are of the happy variety.
What Hillary does
so well is bring fleshed out, well rounded characters to the table. Every
single one of these characters felt like they reached a kind of pinnacle which
is no easy feat considering the book is all Juliette’s first person narrative.
Even still, somehow this felt true.
Are there characters who could and maybe deserve to have their own story told?
Absolutely, but at this point, their lives were “complete.” This is further
evidenced by the gentle love story. Ordinarily, I’d not be a fan of the love
triangle trope, but here, I had no qualms about it. There wasn’t anything
forced or silly about it, and because of this, I in no way found it contrived.
Instead, everything was a genuine struggle (for the characters) to reach the
right and furthermore, the best decision,
and I honestly wouldn’t have minded either man winning Juliette’s heart. Much as I want to gush over the men in this novel, I really feel unable to because, spoilers.
parts, I was surprised that the latter fourth of the novel is all about
reading a dairy rather than furthering the characters in the present. That being said, I
understand its importance since it plays a large role in Juliette’s earlier
journey (from the first books). Upping the fun of this story, I enjoyed it while joining a
read-a-long with my fabulous #BookBesties friends, Cassie and Courtney. If you’re
up for major fangirling and “all the feels,” you can read our tweets at
#TogetherAtTheTableRAL (beware, spoilers).
contemporary fiction, reading this novel isn’t a question of “if,” but when.
You simply must pick up this gorgeous
series. Only don’t start with Together At
the Table. Return to where it all began with A Table by the Window. You won’t regret this journey of
self-discover, good food and of course, laughter. Don’t miss this one, join the D’Alisa family at the table one last time. ♥
Synopsis: Three months ago, Juliette D’Alisa’s world changed.
a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together
to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended
in anger and tears.
As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally
on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family
is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in
and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a
trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.
Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and
research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still
wants to know the full story – and she’ll travel across countries and
oceans to find it.
But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally
uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own
chances at lasting love? – Goodreads
complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.