I could not decide whether to give this novel 3 stars or 4!
This book started out strong for me, but after about 2/3 of the way through, I kind of lost interest for a while (to be fair, it could be because I am in the middle of a lot going on right now with family life!)
However Lisa Wingate always has something new to teach us, and in that way this novel did not disappoint.
The Summer Kitchen has two main characters with very differing circumstances. Cass, a pre-teen, is trying to find her uncle so that she and her older brother Rusty can find a real home. I liked Cass’s character; she is spunky and not too naive, out of necessity in her struggles to avoid foster care.
“There is a plan, even when we don’t see it, even when it’s nothing we would have guessed. There is a purpose for broken houses and broken people.”
Sandra Kaye is also trying to patch together her own life after her older (adopted) son left to find his biological parents. How their lives intersect in the novel is perhaps, not very believable, but when you read the interview at the end of the book with the author you realize that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.
This is not a ‘comfortable’ read, in that the novel reminds us that there are children who are out there that are hungry, that don’t have a safe place to lie down at night, that don’t have family… but at the same time, it does offer hope and solutions. Cass comes to realize that accepting help from other adults may not be a bad thing after all. Sandra Kaye finds that sometimes we just have to accept what we cannot change.
“Just when she couldn’t go any farther, when the cold and the wind got all the way into her bones, she saw a light off in the distance, through the snow and the dark. She finally understood that sometimes, when you’re too far away from your old place to get back to it, you have to head for a new place.”
Lisa Wingate once again has given us an enjoyable read.