Book Review: The Mediterranean Family Table: 125 Simple, Everyday Recipes Made with the Most Delicious and Healthiest Food on Earth

Product DetailsHow would you like to lessen your risk for many chronic illness by living a fulfilling life and eating delicious food with friends and family? If so, The Mediterranean Family Table is for you. Much more than a mere cookbook, the authors provide a solid, scientific basis for following this lifestyle and detailed guidelines for food and exercise at every stage of life from infants, children and teens to middle and advanced age. The one-hundred and twenty-five recipes included in this text are mouth-watering and fairly uncomplicated to prepare. Ricotta pancakes, nut butter smoothies, stuffed mushrooms with spinach, orecchiette with zucchini and ricotta salata, and Chilean sea bass with tomatoes, capers and olives are but a few examples. Furthermore, the authors clearly know whereof they write. Acquista is a doctor board certified in pulmonary and internal medicine who learned this lifestyle as a child near Sicily, while Vandermolen has over a decade of experience in academic medical institutions as a medical writer. If this book has a drawback, a few more pictures of the dishes would have been nice. However, this book should not be missed by anyone interested in a practical, yet delicious guide to maintaining the Mediterranean diet lifestyle.

(Reviewed in exchange for a copy of the book in Manhattan Book Review.)

Book Review: The Gilded Hour

Product DetailsIn The Gilded Hour, Sara Donati creates two highly unconventional, main characters: Anna and Sophie. These young women are unmarried physicians living in New York in 1883, one of whom is the daughter of free colored people. Although raised by a rather unusual and forward-thinking extended family, the society in which these two cousins live and work has little concept of women’s or minority rights or concern for the well beings of orphans. This same male-dominated society also supports the entrapment and incarceration of doctors for providing abortions or contraception education to female patients who desperately seek both. These elements alone could provide ample fodder for an excellent novel, but Donati adds a significant element of romance and a challenging mystery to her well-researched historical fiction. The result is an irresistible page turner.Donati is also the author of the international bestselling Wilderness series. Indeed, Anna and Sophie are the descendants of the characters in that series. In any case, readers both familiar and unfamiliar with her earlier work should eagerly seek out The Gilded Hour.

(Reviewed in exchange for a copy of the book in Manhattan Book Review.)

Book Review: The Beautiful Possible

Product DetailsIn November of 1938, a young, Jewish man named Walter survives a horrific, life-changing tragedy in Germany. Fleeing Europe as a lost soul in need of healing, Walter boards the wrong ship and travels to India. Discovered by a scholar who recognizes his promise, Walter arrives in the United States a strange and disheveled young man in Indian garb. At the scholar’s insistence, Walter enrolls in a Jewish Seminary. There he meets Sol, a promising rabbinical student who lacks Walter’s insights, and Sol’s fiancee, Rosalie, the daughter of a free-thinking rabbi. These three form a love triangle that endures for decades.

Amy Gottlieb has written a  beautiful, first novel. On one level, Possible is about the bonds that bind the three main characters throughout their adult lives and play out in the next generation. However, on a deeper level, this book is a meditation on faith and religion, on love and faithfulness, on feminism, on the times in which the characters lived, and on the meaning of life. On both levels, Gottlieb has written a truly satisfying novel.

(Reviewed in exchange for a copy of the book in San Francisco Book Review.)