Thursday, December 24, 2020

Two Novels by Pamela Kelley: The Restaurant and Christmas at the Restaurant

 In my quest to read holiday novels, I picked up Christmas at the Restaurant at my library a week ago. As I started to read it, I realized I had The Restaurant sitting on my bookcase. I had picked it up a few months ago and never got around to reading it. So...I had to read it first before I read the follow up Christmas novel. You're getting two reviews in one post today, Christmas Eve. 

This was a quick read, and I'd recommend Pamela Kelley's novels to anyone who likes a gentle read with likable characters and a uncomplicated plot. That is not to say this was a dull book at all! As a matter of fact, it felt like a good visit with friends I hadn't seen in awhile. Three sisters: Emma, Mandy, and Jill, all have busy lives. Mandy lives in Nantucket with her husband and kids; Jill leads a busy life in corporate Manhattan, and Emma lives in Arizona with her professor husband. Their beloved  grandmother passes away, and leaves them a surprise: they, along with Chef Paul, are owners of Mimi's Place; a local restaurant. Mimi's has been in operation on Nantucket for decades, and is a favorite place for their family to enjoy special occasions. Unbeknownst to the sisters, their grandmother secretly owned it. 

Now, the sisters must work at the restaurant for a year. After a year, they can decide to keep it, or sell it. Paul, the chef, was a favorite of their grandmother, and he is a talented chef. He's also the high school sweetheart of Emma.

All of the sisters are going through some changes: Emma's husband has left her for another man; Mandy's husband has come clean about extramarital affairs; Jill is secretly in love with her business partner, long time friend Billy. Mimi's is their chance to take a breather, concentrate on something other than their personal lives, and give themselves some time together-time they have been lacking lately. 

There's food and wine galore in this novel, and it all sounds delicious. The plot moves along pretty quickly, and there aren't any huge surprise moments. Just a year in the life of three sisters and the restaurant they now own. I say this is a gentle read because there isn't any violence or sex scenes. At most there's some chaste kissing. And I was fine with that. 

Now, onto Christmas at the Restaurant.

This novel takes place a year after The Restaurant. It's Christmas time in Nantucket, and there are activities and traditions galore. Jill and Billy return to spend the month of December in Nantucket, working remotely and spending time at Mimi's helping out each week. Mimi's has had a resurgence of popularity, thanks to some changes the sisters and Paul made, and it's always busy with regulars and tourists. 

Mandy's divorce is going through, and she's found a new calling organizing events at Mimi's. Emma and Paul are going strong; together they keep Mimi's running smoothly. Mandy has a chance at a new romance with Matt, a local fisherman; she's happy to date, but isn't sure about jumping into a relationship. 

There's Gina, the bartender, who is fairly new to Nantucket, but loves working at Mimi's and is settling into her job and community. She's ready for romance, but what's a lady to do when two men, both very different, ask her out on dates? 

This was a really fast read; I started it last night and finished it early this morning (just couldn't stay awake last night!). Even though I immediately picked it up after finishing The Restaurant, I was happy to continue reading about Emma, Jill, and Mandy. Nantucket sounds like a pretty wonderful place to visit. More delicious food and plenty of wine in this novel, too. 

Ratings: 3/6 for each novel. I enjoyed both novels, getting to know Nantucket, and the simple enjoyment of people living their lives and finding happiness in everyday moments. I felt the characters could be developed a bit more, but overall, I will keep reading this series. 

Available in paperback and e-book.

No comments :

Post a Comment