In this second installment of the Two Blue Doors series, Juliette D’Alisa visits her family in France and Italy. With her new boyfriend, Neil McLaren and the mystery of her grandmother’s mysterious stranger unfolding before her, things are as unsettled and crazy as ever for Juliette. This roller coaster doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon either. Her mother’s illness is a terrible stress on the whole family and Juliette’s travels right before opening a brand new restaurant may not be the best timing. And this new boyfriend? It’s a long distance relationship that isn’t necessarily easy to juggle.
One thing is becoming clear though: Juliette is much closer to figuring out who the mysterious man in her grandmother’s picture is. With the possibility of interviewing her grandmother’s sister and also tracking down some of the places she lived, Juliette is much closer to solving that mystery.
With the same wonderful devotion to food and recipes, Lodge has once again created a beautiful story where food (good food!) becomes one of the main characters. When Juliette is having a difficult day, she might retreat into a special dessert or a main course that takes all day to prepare. And once again as she ponders the current situations she’s dealing with in her life, she retreats into her recipes and her love of cooking and food. And thankfully, Lodge allows us to do the same. I was delighted while reading the first book to discover that the very recipes our main character is enjoying were also part of the story for us. Each chapter ends with a recipe that came from somewhere within the story. This allows the reader to make an even deeper connection with the characters and the story as they share the experience of making the same recipes. I love that!
Juliette’s struggle with her mother’s disease, her grandmother’s heart wrenching story and juggling her own romantic adventures are poignant and heart wrenching at times for the reader. There were moments that I was reading and wanted to yell at Juliette and I did find myself close to tears a time or two. One of the magical moments of reading this book for me came when I found myself so intensely involved in the story that I had to stop and think about Lodge crafting not only Juliette’s adventure, but her grandmother’s. I had been so involved with it, that it felt like I, too, had discovered a batch of letters and I couldn’t wait to read and see what the next one had to say.
I loved this book as much (if not more) than the first one. (And a shoutout for the Doctor Who references again – yay!) If you love food, romance, travel, or adventure, you’re going to absolutely want to own this series so you can read it more than once and make the recipes too!