Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies

“Beneath the outward signs of deterioration, the same spirit dwells and looks on with dismay at the devastation the years have wrought. Inside, there is still an urge to dance under the stars, to walk swiftly across the fields, to lie on the shore under a blazing sun… today’s choices become tomorrow’s memories in a heartbeat — do make them count.”

Thank you Source Books for gifting me a copy of MISS CECILY’S RECIPE FOR EXCEPTIONAL LADIES by Vicky Zimmerman.

“No woman dreams of being unceremoniously dumped and moving back in with her mother on the eve of her 40th birthday. Food technician Kate Parker’s first response? Denial, long days under her duvet and bucket loads of cheesy pasta.

A reluctant Kate finds herself volunteering at the Lauderdale House For Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 96-year-old Cecily Finn – spiky and sharp as a pin, but the spark has gone out of her. She has resigned herself to the imminent End.

Having no patience with Kate’s self-pity, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference – it’s a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at ‘the easily dismayed’. It promises the answers to essential life questions: ‘what shall one give to one’s rich aunt Emma that will be palatable but not prodigal; to one’s husband’s managing director, at once memorable and modest; one’s old love’s new love; the man one hopes will stay on after dinner; the man one hopes will not …‘.

Can Kate find a menu to help a broken-hearted woman let go? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too? The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily’s own remarkable and heartbreaking story and the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two.

So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls – one at the end of her life, and one stuck in the middle – who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man’s heart is . . . irrelevant!”

What a wonderful surprise this story was! I’m not going to lie, I first noticed this book because of its cover and then I read the synopsis and thought it sounded like a good light read. But, it was so much more than I could have ever anticipated it to be. 

I quickly fell in love with Kate and her obliviousness to her boyfriend, Nick, and his aloof, non-committal personality. I felt sorry for her as she began to understand that she would never get anywhere with him and then understood her denial that he would never change. But then Kate met Cecily.. or Mrs. Finn as she preferred to be called. As soon as Mrs. Finn entered the book, I looked forward to Kate visiting her new friend because I, too, wanted to learn about the life of the cantankerous older woman in the Home of Exceptional Ladies. Cecily was a force to be reckoned with and all of her advice to Kate was filled with such wisdom. When the truth behind was happened to Cecily was discovered, I had to put the book down and dry my eyes because I couldn’t stop crying. 

I highly recommend MISS CECILY’S RECIPES FOR EXCEPTIONAL LADIES to those who appreciate a good heart-warming story and a nice reminder of the wisdom that comes with aging and the importance of taking the time to sit down and listen. 

Oh, and if you do decide to read this book, please be sure to read “Note from the Author” at the end of the book; it honestly made the whole book even more beautiful.

I gave this book five glowing stars and will, with 100% certainty, be a favorite of the year. 

Thank you, again, to Source Books for gifting me a copy of this book. 

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