"I was pretending to read the paper. I thought that if I didn't say anything, my mother might stop glaring at me, burning a hole in my face.
I was home from school. I'd been sent home.
And though I hadn't gotten myself caught on purpose, as soon as Principal Hidalgo said "suspended" my first thought was of my mother waking to the smell of homemade croissants. I'd be in an apron, piling the hot pastries high in a breadbasket, just beside the cranberry-sage brown butter I'd whipped up. I was suddenly happy, hopeful, thinking of the time we could spend together."
So begins Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer, a new novel which releases today. I requested an uncorrected proof from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley based upon the following description:
Two women adrift in New York—an Iraqi Jewish widow and the latchkey daughter of a chef—find each other, solace, and a new kind of family through their shared love of cooking.
Lorca spends hours poring over cookbooks, seeking out ingredients for her distracted chef of a mother, who is about to send her off to boarding school. In one last effort to secure her mother’s love and prove herself indispensable, Lorca resolves to replicate her mother’s ideal meal, an obscure dish called masgouf.
Victoria, an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant, teaches cooking lessons; Lorca signs up. Grappling with grief over her husband’s passing, Victoria has been dreaming of the daughter they gave up forty years ago.
Together these two women — a widow and an almost-orphan — begin to suspect they are connected through more than a love of food. In these lessons and their separate investigations, they will be forced to reckon with the past, the future, and the truth — however complicated and unimaginable it might be.
Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is a novel of loss, remembrance, and revival. It is the heartrending, heartwarming story of two cast-off characters who find in each other a way of accepting the people we are meant to love-- even ourselves.
So, what did I think?
This sure sounded like a novel I'd love. However, early on, I discovered that Lorca is a "cutter". I have a strong aversion to reading books with this type of character, and would not have requested this one had I known beforehand.
Since it was a review book, I persevered through the first third of the novel. The story was enjoyable (especially the food and cooking angle) and I had no problem with the writing, but the self-mutilation was too much for me - I could not continue. I have an idea how these characters might eventually resolve their issues, and look forward to chatting with someone who has finished the book.
Although I was clearly not the right reader for Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots, if you enjoy novels told from alternating perspectives or stories with a strong emphasis on food and have no problem reading about "cutters", you just might be. The early reviews look promising.