Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Summer Kitchen-Karen Weinreb

The Summer Kitchen
Karen Weinreb
St. Martin’s, Jul 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312379254

On Halloween in Bedford, New York, Nora Banks answer the doorbell as she has done all evening though this trick or treat visitor is a bit late so she assumes it is teenagers. She has her candy ready only those at the door are not there for sweets. The Feds arrest her husband Evan.

Nora and her three adolescent sons (seven years old Thomas, five years old Nicholas and three years old Charlie) quickly realize not just the affluence is gone; they are treated like felons by those who were friends until Evan was taken away. The children’s nanny Beatriz remains loyal and soon the three kids are being raised by a household run by the two women. Nora opens up a baking business THE SUMMER KITCHEN bakery-cafĂ© to bring in some needed income and considers an affair; as the five members of the household struggle to become entrepreneurs over the objection of the Bedford wives who spend the summer on the Cape.

This is an entertaining inspirational family drama as Nora and her horde roll up their sleeves rather than wallow in self pity and recriminations; in other words they move on trying to regain equilibrium. The wealthy townsfolk who were their friends before the fall prove shallow and though that is a key impetus for the Banks making it; they come across as less dimensional than the more famous Bedford Wives. Still fans will enjoy this fine tale of a family bonded by need and love, but also seeking actualization form loved ones and especially their selves.

Harriet Klausner

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