Review: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

Review: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman is one to read if you are a fan of heart-felt stories that will whisk you away on a virtual mini-vacation. This book is a beautifully written story that will have you longing for a trip to Michigan. It also explores the theme of self-discovery through the use of recipes and a multi-generational cast of characters.

Review: The Recipe Box by Viola ShipmanTitle: The Recipe Box
Author: Viola Shipman
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Bestselling, beloved author of The Charm Bracelet spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

Amazon “iBooks”

❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

Having never read a Viola Shipman novel before, I had no idea that I was going to be transported into the story so easily. The passages and descriptions of the Michigan countryside are both breathtaking and vivid. I really enjoyed learning not only the history of the region, but the climate, and the gorgeous land formations.

❀ Relatable Main Character

Sam is a character that is easily relatable. She is a recently graduated pastry chef that is trying to decide which path to choose in life. Shipman takes Sam on this journey of self-actualization through her family’s recipe box. The recipes are ones that have been handed down from generations of women in Sam’s family. Each chapter in The Recipe Box is based on a recipe and even contains the directions for how to make it. The well-loved recipes are created by Sam throughout the novel and the history of her family helps her to decide her future path. It is such an interesting concept for a novel.

❀ Focuses on Women

This is a story that really focuses on women and the many women that have shaped the orchard that Sam’s family owns. There are flashbacks to Sam’s great-grandmother, her grandmother, and her mother, as they are in different stages of their lives. The recipe box is the constant in each of the women’s lives, as it helps each of them achieve their goals. I really enjoy when a novel has a big family theme that portrays so many different generations.

❀ Beautifully Written

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman is a wonderful story that is written beautifully. The theme of self-discovery in the novel is portrayed in a very unique way through the use of recipes and a multi-general cast of characters. I am looking forward to extending my enjoyment of this book further by recreating some of those mouth-watering recipes.

Book Quotes: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

Book Beginning:

Starbucks was jammed with those who, like her, rose at dawn to start their day: construction workers, Wall Street traders, emergency room doctors, eager assistants. And struggling pastry chefs like me, she thought, looking around the coffeehouse.

Friday 56:

The apple blossoms were in full bloom, and the orchard looked as if it had been dusted in pink snow. Every few seconds, a gusty warm wind bellowed down the hillside and into the bay, a roar followed by a brief silence in which another sound would emerge: the hum of bees on the blossoms.

About Viola Shipman

Image of Viola Shipman

VIOLA SHIPMAN is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired him to write his debut novel, which is a tribute to all of our elders. Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered. To date, The Charm Bracelet has been translated into nine languages. He is at work on his second “heirloom novel,” which will be published in 2017.


About Lori

Avid reader. Contributor to The Candid Cover. Educator.

14 thoughts on “Review: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

  1. Mary @StackingM BookShelves! says:

    This sounds like a really great book. I like that it goes through each of their lives at different times and how each one grew. I wish I was a writer sometimes so I could write a good story like that about my own family. Great review!

  2. Becky Richardson says:

    This sounds great. It’s been on my TBR list. Love your review and can’t wait to read it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.