Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies

Sourcebooks Landmark. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781728210230. pap. $16.99. F
DEBUT As 39-year-old foodie Kate approaches the dreaded 4-0, her stable life starts to unravel. Her job may be on the chopping block, but even more upsetting is when her soon-to-be live-in boyfriend says he needs to “retreat.” To get her mind off her troubles, she volunteers to give food demos at a retirement home for elderly women, where she meets cantankerous 97-year-old Cecily, who disdains Kate’s choices and how she wastes precious time on her boring job and unsuitable boyfriend. As relations begin to thaw a little and Cecily tells Kate about her adventurous life, Kate starts to wonder if Cecily is right. This is a fast and fabulous third-person read about life, loneliness, love, and the power of good food and friends. Zimmerman keeps things realistic, including Kate’s modern relationship troubles (e.g., ghosting and a noncommittal boyfriend who constantly lets her down), frustrated friends, and an irritating mother. But Cecily, a mentor Kate meets by chance, is the real star, with her jaw-dropping insults, fascinating life story, and brusque but well-meaning advice.
VERDICT A can’t-miss title for fans of chick lit and modern women’s fiction.
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