15 April 2013

Review: Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer

After thirteen-year-old Lorca is expelled from her private New York City school for cutting herself with a razor, her mother decides the girl will be better off in boarding school. Although Lorca is on her own most of the time, she doesn't want to leave her mother, who is a famous Manhattan chef. In an effort to win her mother's approval and not be sent away, Lorca decides to reproduce her mother's all-time favorite meal, masgouf, an Iraqi fish dish.

With the help of an older boy, Lorca tracks down the elderly owner of a now-closed Iraqi restaurant and begins to take cooking lessons from her. The results are unexpected.

Jessica Soffer's Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is built on a familiar premise: a troubled young girl in need of nurturing and love meets a grieving widow who is trying to come to terms with unresolved issues. Their bond puts them both on the road to healing. The novel is unique in the way in which the story is told through food and its strong emotional triggers.

All the characters in Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots are broken and self-destructive. Lorca is a self-harmer who learns from an accidental burn at age six that pain is something she can really feel. Her mother is distant yet possessive, and her absent father doesn't seem to spend any time thinking about his daughter. No matter how hard Lorca tries, she can never please her mother.

Victoria, an Iraqi immigrant, has never forgiven herself for giving up her newborn for adoption almost forty years earlier. Her fiance, later her husband, had wanted to keep their daughter, but Victoria did not. Over the decades, though, she wondered about what became of her child, and after her husband's death, she regrets that they never talked about their daughter or tried to find her.

Through food and cooking, Lorca and Victoria see in each other all that has been missing from their lives. Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is about found families, discovering love and hope, and learning self-acceptance. The strong characters and delicious prose make this a memorable read.

For a look at some of the recipes Victoria teaches Lorca, visit Scribd. For an interview with Jessica Soffer, visit BookDragon.

I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Brilliance Audio; 11 hr, 31 min) read by Kathleen Gati and Kate Reinders. My positive review will be published by AudioFile magazine.

Buy Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots at an Indie or at bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
ISBN-13: 9780547759265
Rating: B

Source: Review - audio (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Mystica 4/15/13, 8:03 AM  

This sounds such a good story. I'd like to read this.

Anonymous,  4/15/13, 9:07 AM  

I love reading about self-harm. Will definitely add this to my TBR list!

Daryl 4/15/13, 9:43 AM  

sounds like a good read

The Relentless Reader 4/15/13, 10:28 AM  

This sounds so lovely. Thanks for the review, this book is now firmly on my wish list :)

caite 4/15/13, 11:32 AM  

Love that cover...love that review. Darn, I may just have to read this..darn :-)

Zibilee 4/15/13, 12:25 PM  

I noticed the title right away, and mentioned to my husband that I loved it, but the story behind it sounds very compelling as well. I need to see if I can find this one, not only because I love foodie books, but because I love books about unresolved family issues, and this one sounds like it has a double dose. Excellent review today!

Beth Hoffman 4/15/13, 12:53 PM  

Love the title! And the story sounds sad yet compelling on many levels.

bermudaonion 4/15/13, 2:46 PM  

This sounds outstanding! I want an apricot now.

Michelle 4/15/13, 3:55 PM  

This sounds very compelling, although I am still scratching my head at the fact that the mother's response to her daughter's self-mutilation is to ship her off to a boarding school. I'm sure the author addresses this, but it still strikes me as an odd reaction.

Nise' 4/15/13, 7:57 PM  

I am drawn to books that have young and older characters that are drawn to each other. I will have to look for it on audio as Kate Reinders is a home town girl that attended school with my daughter.

Harvee 4/16/13, 8:42 AM  

Sounds like a lovely read...

Bonnie 4/16/13, 6:40 PM  

I just heard about this book and it sounds like a strong novel. I have been listening to more audio books on my commute so will look for this one on audio.

Lisa 4/17/13, 8:36 PM  

Sounds like a great choice for book clubs with lots to discuss.

Julie P. 4/17/13, 8:47 PM  

Just received the print version in the mail this week. Sounds like a good one!

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