I have read Ruth Reichl's non-fiction before and enjoyed it. I devoured Delicious, Reichl's first foray in fiction.
This novel was an absolute treasure.
Billie has always found it impossible to live up to her older sister, Genie. Genie is beautiful and smart and full of tireless energy. Striking out on her own, Billie moves to New York where she is hired to work at Delicious, a culinary magazine. Although she worries that she will not be good enough to work there, her palate is so refined she can name a spice in any recipe, and quickly fits in with the quirky staff.
On weekends, Billie finds herself working at Fontanari's, a family run store that sells Italian food.
Billie is living her dream, until Delicious shuts its doors, and she and her newfound friends must find another way to make a living. Billie is hired on to field calls from Delicious subscribers, and finally is able to see the library that was housed on the third floor of the Delicious offices, but was never opened for its workers to access.
In the library, Billie finds a mystery of sorts as she reads letters sent from twelve year old Lulu to James Beard, a legendary chef. As Billie reads these missives penned during World War II she is caught up in their story.
I loved this novel which had a bit of romance, mystery, and history captured in its pages. Reichl's novel was well crafted, and I marveled at the way she was able to tie it all together.