Kitchens of the Great Midwest

By J. Ryan Stradal

4.5 out of 5 stars

Kitchens of the Great Midwest revolves around Eva Thorvald. It begins with her father Lars, a chef at a restaurant in Minnesota, and his relationship with Cynthia, a sommelier.  As he dreams of all the wonderful foods he will introduce Eva too, Cynthia realizes she’s not meant to be a mother and leaves. When Lars dies suddenly, Eva is raised by her aunt and uncle. They don’t have the same palate as Eva so there is definitely something hereditary there.

The book is  Eva’s world, on the inside and the periphery, with characters who are touched somehow by someone or something in Eva’s life.

And the food! There are some recipes I will definitely be trying. Every chapter has food somehow involved, if not Eva’s food and recipes, then someone else’s, be it gourmet our plain old everyday food.

The book comes full circle and reaches the ending in an interesting way. I was satisfied with it’s ambiguity. I also loved the journey of getting there. There were some parts I felt the character’s story didn’t really add much to the story so that took away something for me but overall, it’s a wonderful debut novel with humor, charm and intelligence.

I happily received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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