Book Review: The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan

Since I am back onboard with hubby dearest, you can surely expect a constant stream of book reviews coming your way for the next few months as there is nothing like sitting on the bridge and reading a book with sound of waves and winds in the background. So, the first book I read as soon on my way to the ship was Elizabeth LaBan’s The Restaurant Critic’s Wife and boy! was it a mistake because I instantly craved every bit of food she described in the book and that is never a good thing when you are in a place with rationed food supply

The Story

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife is the story of Lila and Sam who move to Philadelphia with their daughter Hazel from New Orleans when Sam gets a new job with Philadelphia Herald as a food critic.

Lila is overwhelmed with everything, the move, her break from her job, her pregnancy and most of all Sam’s obsession with keeping his profession a secret from his neighbors or anyone for that matter because he could never know who owned a restaurant in the area.

Within a few months of the move, Lila finds herself detesting everything and particularly her husband. She did love Sam but is constant nagging about keeping a distance with everyone to avid the situation of people finding out that he is a food critic and the zillion restrictions he expects Lila to follow draws a wedge between them to a point where Lila takes up a part time job without telling Sam anything about it.

Narration & Character Development

The author has done a great in terms of the narration and in most chapters, you find yourself drooling over the food she describes. The fact that the author is an actual food critic’s wife helped in keeping the description and the frustration of Lila’s character very realistic.

The story has a nice pace and even though the author decides to switch back and fro in time, you do not feel lost or confused during the transition.

The character development could be a little stronger as I kind of felt that it was a bit one dimensional and pretty much lacked the details for any of the characters apart from the protagonist.

My Review

The book caught my attention with its wacky title and quite a hilarious blurb however I kind of lost interest during the last few chapters

Lila’s frustration with a husband who she loves but gets annoyed with at the same time is pretty relatable but the constant details of the food they tasted kind of got in the way of the story. I mean I am a total foodie but I couldn’t understand the logic of the description of a delicious pecan pie while she is contemplating separating from her husband.

The book overall was a nice read but I think the author would have done a better job if she had left her obsession with the food when the story moved forward.

Final Verdict

The book was a refreshing read with a very relatable protagonist who loves her kids and husband as much as she loves being a career women. I rarely come across books that voice the frustration that a modern day women feels while juggling between her home, husband, motherhood and work so this was such a good but I would have loved the book a tad bit more if the book skipped the food talk towards the end.

Have you read this book?

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