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Let's Dine Out!

If you know Andrea, then you know that she loves to read books in which restaurants play a big part. She loves to imagine the clinking of glasses, the contemplation of a menu, and relaxing with a good meal. Here are seven delicious books that recently whetted her appetite.

We are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

In the vein of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest, Tracey Lange’s We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame—and the redemptive power of love—in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets. The family owns the pub Brennan's in an imaginary town in Westchester County, NY.

Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close

A lovely bittersweet, charming family story with the added bonus of revolving around an old style Chicago restaurant, Sullivan's. I loved it. I haven't read a novel that makes you both laugh out loud and sob a little in quite a while. A great, fast, engaging story, full of family pathos, angst, togetherness and love...tossed with well mixed cocktails and a side of fries.

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant's delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. Whether or not Big Leo Chao is honest, or his wife, Winnie, is happy, their food tastes good and their three sons earned scholarships to respectable colleges. But when the brothers reunite in Haven, the Chao family's secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last. It's a family drama, a murder mystery, and a love story.

Finding Freedom by Erin French

Erin French survived a lot to get to her place of success in the Lost Kitchen Restaurant. From her days as a single mother, to her terrible marriage and drug dependence, hers is story of determination, mixed with wits and a little luck. The food descriptions are superb. If you like foodie books, this one is for you.

The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison

A mesmerizing and dreamy multi-generational story of family secrets and strengths set against the wild beauty of Montana. As Polly, the main character, attempts to heal from a devastating accident, the story slips back and forth in time as family truths are revealed along with hints of mystery. Full of family meals, family loyalty, friendship and love. As an added bonus, Polly's husband owns a restaurant in Livingston, Montana which plays a part in the story.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

If you could go back, who would you want to meet? In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee--the chance to travel back in time.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

A colleague recommended this book to me for its great food imagery, and that is certainly the case, but it is also a sweet poignant read. A woman meets her high school teacher at a bar and slowly and quietly, love blooms. As they step around each other, and then closer together, you feel their loneliness and the blossoming of togetherness. A lovely atmospheric and ethereal read that left me dreamy.

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