Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman

A book like this is for people who have been reading and liking the pairing of very different women: an eighty plus-year-old and a woman in her middle-age (or what counts for it). In this tale, our almost forty-year-old is Kate. She is in a stable relationship with an upward trajectory (or so she assumes). The nearly hundred-year-old is Mrs Cecily Finn, who lives in a nursing home surrounded by books she can no longer read. Kate is blindsided by a throwaway comment by her boyfriend when on holiday and then starts to spiral into an almost comatose state. In such a state, she starts to look for things to do and her paths cross with Cecily. She is then handed a book that intrigues her with the combination of wisecracks, advice and recipes.

Up to the point of their meeting (which happened too late into the narrative for my taste), it was a little slow. The author has based Cecily Finn on her own relative, the fact is something that shines through because her character is crystal clear and engaging. She says what she means and is not averse to speaking the mildest untruth to have things happen to Kate’s advantage, even if Kate is not aware. Kate grows over the year, and that is the actual content of the story. What struck me as odd was how quickly she distanced herself from a friend when she felt her being toxic but it took her more than twice the number of incidents for her to consider the boyfriend in a new light!

Overall the speed at which the story progressed in the first half, was very slow. This had me setting aside the book, and only once Cecily started trowing truths at Kate’s face, I felt the story pick up. It has a mix of serious conversation versus some lighter moments, and the writing in itself was steadily well done. I liked the book, just not as much as I expected to given the cover and the storyline.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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