Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer

I originally found this book via buzz from Twitter, and this feature in O (Oprah's) magazine. The cover art is gorgeous, and would be enough to make me want to read the book, but the reviews encouraged me to buy my own copy. This book is a beautifully-written tale of Lorca, a precocious but troubled teenager, and Victoria, an old woman trying to cope with the loss of her husband. These two women's lives intersect when Lorca seeks the recipe for a Middle Eastern dish called Masgouf. Lorca's mother has become exasperated with Lorca's "cutting", and decides her only option is to send her to boarding school. Lorca has been asked to leave school because she was caught "cutting" in the girls restroom by another student. In Lorca's mind, the only way to please her mother is to find, and prepare, her favorite dish: masgouf. 
Victoria has just lost her husband Joseph, but harbors a darker secret-a daughter she gave up for adoption years ago. She and Joseph owned a restaurant called The Shohet and His Wife, and this restaurant is where Lorca's mother went to eat masgouf, the dish she loves. The restaurant has had its doors closed for years, which is why Victoria is baffled when she's contacted to teach cooking classes. Thanks to a meddling neighbor, she's now going to teach Lorca how to cook masgouf. The two develop a friendship, and then the knowledge that they may be related is revealed. Lorca's mother did mention that when she was at The Shohet and His Wife, she felt like "family". Was that a sign that she knew Victoria was her mother? If Victoria is related to Lorca's mother, that would make Victoria Lorca's grandmother. 
This book reminded me of my own grandmother, and her cooking. My father is from Iran, and my grandmother, his mother, would always cook. The names of the Iraqi dishes weren't the same as the Iranian ones, but as I heard Victoria speak to Lorca, I pictured my own grandmother standing over the stove, making a stew to go with the basmati rice. I wondered why I didn't ask her more about her won life while she was alive. Now, it's too late for me to ask her questions. It made me envious of fictional characters. I wished it was us in the kitchen, and not Lorca and Victoria. 
Jessica Soffer has managed to write a book that evokes emotions of hope, happiness, and sadness as she weaves the tale of Lorca and Victoria. You will be rooting for both of them to have a happy ending. After all, don't we all deserve a happy ending? I believe we do.

Jessica's Website
HMHCo Link

Interested in what other readers had to say about the book? Read that here on GoodReads.

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