27 Oct The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse Blog Tour
Hey guys, today I have the pleasure to take part in THE FOOD OF LOVE blog tour and I’ve been waiting patiently for my turn (as it’s a rather long tour with 24 stops). Massive thanks to lovely Amanda and Simeon for the chance to take part, and if you want to read more reviews of this book, do check the other tour hosts. It’s a beautiful sunny day in Macedonia, so I’m off to enjoy the sun a bit. Cheerio, sweethearts!
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse
Published on 1.12.2016
A loving mother. A perfect family. A shock wave that could shatter everything.
Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.
But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.
In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.
In January this year (2016) I had the pleasure to read Amanda Prowse’s ‘Another Love’ and I loved every second of it. Though we’re at the end of the year now and I’ve read so many good books through out this year, ‘Another Love’ is definitely one of my top 5 2016 releases. Naturally, loving Amanda’s writing so much, I was very excited to read her latest book, ‘The Food of Love’. This book is among the last I’ll read this year (if not even the last), so I do like the symbolism, starting and ending 2016 with a book by one of my favourite authors.
Needless to say I had really high hopes for this book. I know this might seem like a terrible pressure for the authors, but it comes with the territory. No matter how much I try to have as little expectations as possible for a book, it’s very hard to persist especially if it’s from an author I love.
‘The Food of Love’ is definitely going to be a hard one to review as there were parts which I totally loved and some which I disliked strongly (mostly connected with the characters). If you’ve read Amanda’s books (or at least some of them) you’d know that Amanda is not the kind of author who does fluff and all her books explore difficult topics. If there’s one thing I admire most about her writing is that courage to dive into subjects which are so difficult to explore, creating characters the readers will not necessarily like or in the best case, which can be easily misunderstood.
As I previously said, I adored ‘Another Love’ which explores the subject of alcoholism and the impact it had on a whole family. I was reading that book with tears in my eyes and I felt such compassion for the main character I haven’t felt for any other in a very long time. When I read the blurb of ‘the Food of Love’ and realised it’s about another heavy topic, anorexia, I prepared myself emotionally as I knew what I’m in for. Now after I’ve read, I must say I was slightly disappointed. But not in the emotional effect it lacked, because I was deeply moved by the story and what the family goes through. However, I strongly disagree with some of the choices the characters made (by this I mean Freya, Lexi’s mum).
But let me start from the beginning and how a solid, happy family was shattered to pieces. Freya is happily married and has two lovely daughters, Charlotte and Lexi. Lexi’s always been the slightly chubby one, loving the food her mum made. And boy, does Freya love cooking. Writing articles on food, she’s always in the kitchen preparing not only tasty but very healthy foods. However, at the age of 14 Lexi starts changing, eating less and less… literally starving herself. The most confusing thing for me was that Freya didn’t really know or feel any of these changes, until one day she’s called to Lexi’s school hearing that her daughter might be having anorexia. She wasn’t even familiar with these terms, anorexia, bulimia… she didn’t even think her daughter had any issues of that sort. A mother always knows, e? WRONG! She was so wrong and soon, Lexi is on the verge of weighting just about 70 pounds and everything goes downhill. Lexi’s health, the family’s stability, Freya’s marriage… everything goes to hell.
As you see, this is a hard book to read. No matter if you or anyone you know hasn’t experienced these issues, it’s still hard to read. Amanda’s so descriptive when it comes to the state the whole family is in, there were times when I had to put the book down as I felt my stomach in knots. Still, this is a good thing, I could feel the pain Lexi was going through and all those desperate acts of her trying to deceive her parents and doctors. However, the thing which confused me was that I didn’t really understand the emotional reasons for Lexi’s anorexia. Maybe I’ve missed it in the book or it wasn’t enough emphasized, but what were the reasons that made Lexi torture herself like this? I didn’t find any strong reasons in the book, didn’t read about any severe trauma, bullying of any sort… so why did she feel the way she did? I’m no expert on anorexia, but I’ve gone thorough some periods in my life when my diet was anything but healthy. I’ve been through periods when I would stuff myself with food or eat as little as 600 cals a day… and it ALWAYS were repressed emotions behind it. The control I was losing in situations, I would try to gain back by monitoring carefully my food intake. What are Lexi’s deeper reasons for starving herself? If I’m on the wrong path here, please excuse me and I would be very grateful for other readers/reviewers to point out to me if I’m getting something wrong.
However, there are many things I liked too. My favourite character was Charlotte (and I see many reviewers feel the same) who’s role isn’t that big (deserves more space in my opinion, maybe in another book?) and who’s the only character I could fully understand. While I wasn’t that big a fan of Freya, my heart was breaking for her since as a mother I know she has the best intentions at heart. There’s a part in the book, when Freya talks to Lexi while watching the sky and stars commenting how we are all made of stardust and what would the other do If someone decided to leave and ‘see what’s on the other side of the Universe’. Now that’s a hard conversation for a mother (or anyone for that matter) to have and I burst into tears. Big, heavy, ugly tears.
Whether you like or dislike Freya, whether you agree or disagree with the choices she makes (which I won’t reveal as not to spoil the book for you), one thing is for sure – this book will make you think a lot. Even more so if you’re a parent. Do we really know our kids that well? What are the boundaries and until when should one tolerate someone’s behavior? Teenagers might think they know it all, but there’s a good reason they don’t get their vote on many things. If you’re like me, prepare yourself for an emotional ride and have those tissues ready. While ‘Another Love’ is still my favourite book by Amanda (read my review HERE), I’m most definitely looking forward to reading more books by her. As Amanda is one of the most prolific authors I’ve had the chance to read, I have no doubts there’ll be a new book out very soon.
About Amanda Prowse
Amanda has always obsessively crafted short stories and scribbled notes for potential books, but it wasn’t until she was forty that she began writing full time. The result was Poppy Day, the story of an army wife, whose incredible love for her husband gives her the courage to rescue him from hostages in Afghanistan. This was followed by the number 1 bestseller What Have I Done? Amanda now has ten novels and four novellas published.
All of Amanda’s books in the No Greater Love series share common themes in that they are contemporary love stories, the main characters are women, just like you and I, who find themselves in extraordinary situations for love.
Her new series is the No Greater Courage series, tales of women facing the trials that life throws at them and having to dig deep to find the will and strength to succeed. This series includes the A Mother’s Story and Perfect Daughter, which continue to receive brilliant reader and press reviews.
Amanda’s ambition has always been to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…
Currently, Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their 18 & 19 year old boys Josh and Ben.