Time for a new book to read! For the month of May, Mrs. Twist Reads This bookclub will be enjoying The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman.
Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.
When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.
As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.
Why this book? First of all, I am totally a sucker for pretty book covers. I love the charming hot pink jacket, kelly green skirt and the much-loved, smudged recipe cards reminiscent of my own family recipes. I think recipe cards are a becoming a long-lost way to record recipes. I had a millennial ask me recently “what’s a recipe card?” Cue tears.
Second, I love the story behind the author. Viola Shipman is a penname for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. To date, The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest have been translated into over a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. The Recipe Box was hailed by #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans as “filled with cherished memories and treasured recipes … a touching tribute to the women and food that unite us and connect our past to the present.” “My novels are a tribute to my Ozarks grandma, Viola Shipman. The jangling of her charm bracelet was as ever-present as the call of the whippoorwill, the scent of her hope chest as vivid as cedars after a spring rain, and her burnished wood recipe box stuffed with family recipes that still make my mouth water.
Her heirlooms, life, lessons and love not only inspire my fiction but also inspired me to become a writer and, I hope, the person I am today. She taught me that the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – are truly the grandest gifts. My fiction is meant to honor the elders in our lives whose sacrifices and journeys helped make us who we are today. I couldn’t be prouder of my novels, which I hope reconnect you to your own family’s stories, heirlooms, histories and traditions.”