What do you get when a 1950’s London cookbook meets a modern-day Bridget Jones? A London foodie’s version of chick lit called “Miss Cecily’s Recipes For Exceptional Ladies.”
The book is languidly paced, the way novels of the 1950s were, when a book was a leisurely escape. It tells a multilayered tale that unfolds slowly. In this age of Twitter brevity, it is amazing that you can find this kind of fiction. Even more amazing is that it’s a retitled release of “The Woman Who Wanted More” from 2018. I’m not sure if this is a marketing ploy or if it was done to better entice the American audience. This is Vicky Zimmerman’s fifth novel, the others done under the pseudonym of Stella Newman, all of them foodie romcoms in the chick lit genre.
Kate can see her fortieth birthday ahead of her all too clearly. Her habit of floating along and letting things make do is becoming a psychological bad taste. She is realizing how little satisfaction she receives from her job, her boyfriend, her friends and family. To shake things up, she volunteers at a nursing home and is assigned to the recalcitrant Miss Cecily, a senior who lives in a room filled with books and memories. Kate tries to tempt her into the general population of the facility, but to no avail. Sequestered together, Cecily becomes Kate’s Yoda, a guide and a frustration, who helps more than she is helped.
When you look at the author’s notes and the online information for Vicky Zimmerman, you’ll see she has given us a disguised autobiography instead of a novel. And if you are looking for the recipes, you’ll find cleverly named menus from the 1950’s cookbook belonging to Miss Cecily and delicious sounding dishes, but not a pinch of real ingredients. Zimmerman leaves you to Google for that.
“Miss Cecily’s Recipes For Exceptional Ladies”
By Vicky Zimmerman
Sourcebooks Landmark, 432 pages
L. D. Barnes writes mystery, historical fiction and poetry. She is working on the second novel in her Chicago Street Crime series while living on the far south side. Barnes is a member of FLOW (For Love of Writing), Longwood Writers Guild and Mystery Writers of America. She performs locally.