book cover A Recipe for Love By Lucy J MadisonA story of renewal and discovery.

This book is one of those rare lesbian fiction stories that feature a woman over the age of 50, and it’s great to have this slide into my inbox when I usually only get to review books about women under 30!

Danika Russo is 55 and newly retired from her 30-year career as a mail carrier. For years she’s put the needs of others before her own in caring for her terminally ill partner and her unloving father. She’s now living in the childhood home she inherited, a home she really doesn’t feel comfortable in, and not sure what to do about it.

After she makes a list of things she has always wanted to do, a new location and way of living, plus a cooking class, come out top of the list. While her new lifestyle frees her in ways she never expected, at the class, she meets a chef who recognizes she has an amazing palette for top-class food, and she also meets Finn, a woman with Native American roots who, although much younger than Danika, seems to be equally interested in pursuing something more than casual friendship through a shared cookery class.

While this is categorized as a lesbian romance, there’s actually a much bigger story going on here, and it was that element that really sucked me in. At 55, retired, and realizing she’s spent her whole life putting herself second, Danika goes through a wonderful transformation as she comes to realize just what it is that makes her happy, and excites her, and makes her feel alive. This book really is all about the journey, about understanding yourself and being brave enough to make the changes to enable yourself to be truly happy. All such journeys are fraught with doubt and difficulties, and Danika does suffer some setbacks that I wasn’t sure she’d cope with. But with the help of some good friends and growing confidence in herself and her abilities, we see her grow into herself in the best of ways.

The writing style is very easygoing, and although there were a few places where I felt the timeline jumped ahead a bit too much, and I would have liked a little more detail to fill in the blanks, overall the pacing is pretty good. The area the book is set in is nicely described; it seems obvious it’s an area of New York state the author is familiar with and loves, and that definitely added to the overall feel of the book. What’s also rather lovely, and I’ve not seen this done before, is that the recipes for all the food described in the book are replicated as a supplement at the back of the book, so you get a romance and a cookbook all in one!

It’s a nice story, and it’s definitely something you could tuck into to while away the hours before dinnertime…