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Review and giveaway: The Kitchen Daughter

April 14, 2011

Twenty-six year old Ginny has been sheltered and protected by her parents her whole life.  She’s socially awkward, so she struggles to deal with all the ceremony surrounding their funeral after they died together in an accident.  Ginny’s sister, Amanda, makes all the funeral arrangements, and afterward insists that Ginny come to live with her and her family.

Ginny wants to remain in the home she shared with her parents, though, and turns to the one thing that brings her comfort – cooking.  While she’s in the kitchen, Ginny discovers that she can conjure up ghosts by creating one of the recipes they wrote while they were alive.   When two of the ghosts tell her not to let Amanda do something, it’s up to Ginny to figure out what they mean.

As shallow as it sounds, I have to admit that I was initially drawn to The Kitchen Daughter, by Jael McHenry, because of its fabulous cover, and I’m happy to say this is one case when you can judge a book by its cover.  I absolutely adored this book and am pretty sure it will be one of my favorite reads of the year.

Ginny is such a wonderful character – she’s smart, spirited and gifted in the kitchen.  She struggles when dealing with other people, but is fully aware of her shortcomings, and works hard to overcome them.  Since her parents died unexpectedly, she’s got to figure out how to manage the rest of her life – no easy task for anyone, it’s especially hard for Ginny.  She’s loyal, curious and thoughtful, and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and give her a hug, even though she wouldn’t have liked that.  I got so attached to her that I literally sobbed at one point in the book – that shows you how emotionally invested I was in this story!

The other characters in the book are fantastic as well.  Amanda seems overbearing, but she’s just trying to take up where her parents left off.  Gert, the housekeeper, seems to be the one who knows Ginny the best and she teaches Ginny a lot with her strong, selfless actions.

Told in the first person present tense, I found The Kitchen Daughter to be absolutely captivating.  I don’t always like supernatural elements in books, but they’re so well done in this one, they seemed natural.  I love that there are recipes included in some of the chapters, but I haven’t tried any of them yet.  I couldn’t put the book down, but I didn’t want it to end either – believe me when I say this is one book you don’t want to miss.

Thanks to the generosity of Gallery Books, I have two copies of this wonderful book to give away!!  To enter to win THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER by Jael McHenry, simply fill out this entry form.  Contest is open to US residents only.  I will use to determine the winner. Contest ends at midnight EST Friday, April 22, 2011.   The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 23, 2011.  Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

Challenges:  Foodies Challenge

Review copy provided by Gallery Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
60 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2011 5:02 am

    I’ve read so many rave reviews on this book. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. April 14, 2011 5:18 am

    I have been so excited about this book! I am so glad to hear that The Kitchen Daughter is as beautiful as its cover 🙂 I can’t wait to read it.

  3. April 14, 2011 6:31 am

    I can’t wait to read this book especially with your raving review!

  4. April 14, 2011 6:33 am

    I have wanted to read this one too! The bag of apples on the cover always looks like the silhouette of a woman to me.

  5. kaye permalink
    April 14, 2011 6:36 am

    Oh, this one sounds so wonderful! Your fantastic review makes me want to read it right now.

  6. April 14, 2011 7:08 am

    Oh wow, a top read for the year? This one must be special then. I am eager to get the chance to read it after reading your wonderful review. Glad to hear that you loved it!

  7. April 14, 2011 7:09 am

    This is a fab review and I will definitely be looking this book up!

  8. April 14, 2011 7:28 am

    Another glowing review for The Kitchen Daughter. It’s on my TBR list so I hope I win the giveaway 🙂

  9. April 14, 2011 7:34 am

    Shallow Me as well Great Cover..But inside the book is the Real Thing…Great Review..Yes,I Must read it!!!..Its a Book Club Dream….Thanks Susan

  10. April 14, 2011 8:03 am

    I would go for this cover too. I am shallow! This has a touch of magical realism to it, which I always love.

  11. April 14, 2011 8:58 am

    Yes, I second everything you’ve said! THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER rings very true (even with ghosts in the kitchen). What a satisfying rollercoaster of emotions –

    J came downstairs Monday as I was crying over my coffee cup – “what’s wrong?!?”
    me – “this book is SO good!”

    (he doesn’t understand, but he’s used to me after all these years).

    Super review of a super book, Kathy!

  12. April 14, 2011 9:13 am

    I agree totally with your review. The Kitchen Daughter is one of the more unique, interesting books I’ve read this year!

  13. April 14, 2011 9:30 am

    This book is tops on my wish list. Thanks for hosting this wonderful giveaway. Either way I have to read this book. Don’t you just love a book that makes you cry (well, sob really)?

  14. April 14, 2011 9:36 am

    No need to enter me, but I loved the character of Ginny as well. I had a harder time understanding Amanda, but I thought this book was incredibly well done.

  15. April 14, 2011 9:40 am

    With such a ringing endorsement from you, I really must read this one. I’ve entered to win it – have my fingers crossed.

  16. April 14, 2011 10:36 am

    Yes, I have now gone to Amazon and purchased this book for my Kindle. After reading 3 raving reviews this morning, it seemed like the things to do. 🙂

  17. April 14, 2011 10:40 am

    I’m not a big fan of supernatural themes and elements in books either but I’m very intrigued by Ginny who sounds terrific. I love well-developed, realistic characters. And I trust your opinion on books.
    Thank you for a great review, Kathy!

  18. April 14, 2011 10:44 am

    Can you see me bouncing in my chair? I’m totally excited by the giveaway…everyone keeps saying such good things about this book!

  19. April 14, 2011 10:46 am

    I finished this during the readathon and I so completely and totally LOVED it. I loved Ginny so much, she was such an honest character. Plus, all that FOOD. *sigh* Foodie reader heaven…

  20. April 14, 2011 11:00 am

    I really want to read this one — glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! (Too bad your giveaway is U.S. only…)

  21. April 14, 2011 11:03 am

    Great review,it makes me want to read it even more.

  22. April 14, 2011 11:55 am

    Best book of the year so far? Wow – you REALLY liked it. I will have to read it for sure. I love that it’s full of food references.

  23. April 14, 2011 12:22 pm

    I usually love books that have anything like magical realism, but I tend to shy away from books that include ghosts, so I haven’t made my mind up yet about reading this one.

  24. April 14, 2011 12:23 pm

    I get drawn in by covers fairly often. This sounds like a book I need to pick up.

  25. April 14, 2011 12:37 pm

    I don’t think this is my normal cup of tea, but you made it sound charming and I am so glad that the supernatural elements did not put you off. I am reading The Raising right now and I see it going that route. Maybe not, but it certainly looks that way right now.

  26. April 14, 2011 1:28 pm

    I love when a book lives up to the promise of it’s cover!

  27. April 14, 2011 1:32 pm

    This really looked like a good book — sort of An Invisible Sign of Her Own meets Like Water For Chocolate — and I agree — the cover is gorgeous!

  28. April 14, 2011 2:23 pm

    Sounds good, I shall put it on my TBR list.

  29. April 14, 2011 3:03 pm

    it’s funny, because I was drawn to this book by the cover too…and happy to hear that I won’t be let down!

  30. April 14, 2011 3:37 pm

    After reading your review, I want to read this one!!! Thanks for the terrific review.

  31. April 14, 2011 4:17 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that you loved this one 🙂 I plan to read it soon, and it’s nice to know that I have something to look forward to!

  32. April 14, 2011 4:25 pm

    I’ve decided that I’m totally OK with supernatural. I used to be unsure, but I’ve had it in a number of books and it just adds a little extra something something to make a book special. I take your recommendations seriously. I’m going to have to read this.

  33. April 14, 2011 4:35 pm

    Nice review. I just saw another one yesterday and it sure made me wanna read it

  34. April 14, 2011 5:24 pm

    I think this book sounds so great! I love ‘foodie’ literature!

  35. April 14, 2011 5:25 pm

    I think this book sounds great! I love ‘foodie’ literature!

  36. April 14, 2011 5:47 pm

    Great review. You couldn’t stop reading it but also didn’t want it to end, how intense in a wonderful way.

  37. April 14, 2011 5:52 pm

    Whoever designed the book cover for that book or did the art work, well, that person is an absolute genius!

    When a book makes you emotionally invested in that way, it’s surely a great book. Thanks for the review! =)

  38. April 14, 2011 6:57 pm

    I’m not entering because I’m reviewing it too. And, I’m so glad you liked this one. Ginny is wonderful. I was a bit concerned about the magical realism elements too, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t a ghost story. It’s a story about determination and family. Those elements really worked.
    2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

  39. April 14, 2011 7:12 pm

    This sounds like a great one Kathy. Thanks for giveaway.

    bibliophilebythesea AT gmail dot com

  40. stacybuckeye permalink
    April 14, 2011 7:14 pm

    You already know it’s going to be a favorite?! I must read it! And I like magical elements in stories so that part totally appeals to me.

  41. April 14, 2011 7:28 pm

    I’m so glad to see you liked this novel. I should be starting it this weekend I hope. No need to enter me.

  42. April 14, 2011 9:23 pm

    Ginny was certainly a wonderful character! I thought the portrayal of Asperger’s was pretty genuine!

  43. April 14, 2011 9:39 pm

    I’ve seen this book everywhere but this is the first review that I’ve read of it. It’s going on my tbr list.

  44. April 14, 2011 9:44 pm

    Cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine would be the perfect accompaniment to this book. I thought the cover was sassy fun and how could you NOT like a girl named Ginny?

  45. April 14, 2011 11:33 pm

    I’ve read some reviews on this one and most of them give such a high recommendations on it. Glad you like it too! (Not an entry)

  46. April 15, 2011 1:44 am

    You make this one sound simply wonderful!

  47. Carey (cooknbooknbeadn) permalink
    April 15, 2011 10:32 am

    Saw this one on your Mailbox Monday post and went instantly to find it locally – alas not yet found. Going to have to order it soon. Thanks!!

  48. April 15, 2011 1:25 pm

    I’ve been waiting to read a review of this book. Glad to hear you liked it. It sounds really good.

  49. April 15, 2011 2:13 pm

    O great review. I really want to try this one.

  50. April 15, 2011 8:06 pm

    Sounds like a fun book, and I love the cover as well 🙂

  51. April 15, 2011 10:35 pm

    I’m hearing only good things about this book and it’s even been suggested as a book club selection. Thanks for the great review!

  52. April 16, 2011 8:01 am

    I read a great review of this one on another blog and thought it sounded right up my alley. I like that the author is showing us a female with asbergers!

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!

  53. April 16, 2011 11:32 am

    Hello… I’m a coverholic so that is the first thing that gets me within the buying zone!

    Adding this one down and bravo on the review. Your enthusiasm made it a “BUY” and MUST READ for 2011.

  54. April 18, 2011 10:30 am

    This was indeed a very good book. As a parent of an Asperger’s child, I recognized her “personality” right away, and it was wonderful to read her journey of self-discovery (really, really didn’t like “Demanda” very well at all!) 🙂

  55. April 20, 2011 1:54 pm

    This story sounds fantastic. Any book that draws the reader in so emotionally is worth checking out in my opinion.

  56. April 20, 2011 11:22 pm

    I wasn’t originally planning to read this but your review is very intriguing!

  57. April 21, 2011 11:17 pm

    I’ve heard really great things about this book. I just found your blog, can’t wait to look around!!

  58. Murhl Blessing permalink
    April 25, 2011 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the good review, I’ve got to get that book. I like some supernatural books, some not so much. The Kitchen Daughter sounds like one I would enjoy.

  59. April 25, 2011 2:49 pm

    Yay, yay, yay! I’m so glad you liked this book, too! I think I know exactly the section that made you sob because I’m pretty sure it was the section where I experienced a wee bit of bawling! Such a wonderful book, I loved everything about it!

  60. December 30, 2011 2:48 pm

    Read this book earlier in the year and really liked it!

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