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A Family Recipe

by Veronica Henry

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Star Books Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of A Family Recipe

The brand-new feel-good story from bestseller Veronica Henry - a perfect mix of family, friends and delicious food.

So absolutely and completely gorgeous in every way! I do look forward to the latest Veronica Henry, I fairly danced with glee when ‘A Family Recipe’ arrived. Number 11 Lark Hill, Bath sits centre stage in this story, set during the Second World War and 2017. The house connects two tales, two women and the people they love. I read this in one sitting, once started, I quite simply didn’t want to stop. Jilly and Laura became known and loved, each and every character pops with intensity, fully realised, touchable, real. Veronica Henry has such a beautiful touch, she paints an entire world, deeply rich and vibrant, bringing to life thoughts, emotions, heart-ache, joy. I stepped though the pages into Bath, wandered the streets, travelled back in time, and salivating, I even looked up the food market to see if I could visit! I know I say this every time, but each new novel becomes my favourite by Veronica Henry, that is her gift, and ‘A Family Recipe’ most certainly continues that tradition.

Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Liz Robinson

A Family Recipe Synopsis

The brand-new feel-good story from bestseller Veronica Henry - a perfect mix of family, friends and delicious food. What's the secret ingredient to your happiness?Laura Griffin is preparing for an empty nest. The thought of Number 11 Lark Hill falling silent - a home usually bustling with noise, people and the fragrant smells of something cooking on the Aga - seems impossible. Laura hopes it will mean more time for herself, and more time with her husband, Dom. But when an exposed secret shakes their marriage, Laura suddenly feels as though her family is shrinking around her. Feeling lost, she turns to her greatest comfort: her grandmother's recipe box, a treasured collection dating back to the Second World War. Everyone has always adored Laura's jams and chutneys, piled their sandwiches high with her pickles . . . Inspired by a bit of the old Blitz spirit, Laura has an idea that gives her a fresh sense of purpose. Full of fierce determination, Laura starts carving her own path. But even the bravest woman needs the people who love her. And now, they need her in return . . . ***** Praise for Veronica Henry: 'A delight from start to finish' Jill Mansell 'Truly blissful escapism' Lucy Diamond

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781409166627
Publication date: 17th May 2018
Author: Veronica Henry
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Collections: 80+ Books That Deliver a Hug ,
Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
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A Family Recipe Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

I really enjoyed it. I love Henry’s writing style, it’s an easy read for the summer. I loved the characters and it gave an insight into Bath, past and present.

As a lover of the old school ‘chick lit’ books from the nineties I’ve read my fair share of heartbreak, revenge and transformation novels. So Veronica Henry is an old favourite for me. 

We begin surprisingly for me in 1942, bring introduced to the quiet unassuming Jilly, a Doctor’s daughter, who during a night bombings of Bath is not home where she should be but meeting a young, dashing service man in the park! Bombs drop and Jilly is far from home, so begins the story. 

We then meet mumsy Laura, whose youngest daughter Willow is off to uni, leaving her with empty nest syndrome and a huge case of self doubt worrying about what the future holds. Thus begins a tumultuous few months when we learn all about Laura and her family.

I really enjoyed reading ‘A Family Recipe’. I haven’t read a book like this for a while so it was a refreshing change.  I love Henry’s writing style, it’s easy to fall in to and a perfect read for the summer. I loved the characters, especially Kanga, Laura’s amazing 93 year old Granny. It was sad at times yet refreshing and gave great details about Bath, past and present. 

Would definitely recommend if you love family drama and a bit of WW2 nostalgia too!

Nicky Hudson

A delightful, heart-warming story about the importance of home, family, friends and the unbreakable bonds between them.

A Family Recipe is a delightful, heart-warming story set in a much-loved family home in the beautiful old city of Bath. The book is about Laura, a devoted wife and mother, who is suddenly faced with living life on her own after spending many years at the heart of a happy, loving family. It also tells the heartbreaking story of Laura’s beloved grandmother and the author successfully manages to swing smoothly between memories of life during the war and the events of the present day. At different stages in their lives, a collection of precious family recipes provide a link with the past for both Laura and her grandmother as they battle their way through challenging times and overwhelming grief. The recipes offer the women practical solutions to some of their problems as well as providing much needed comfort during their struggle to find inner strength. In fact, food and nurturing are very much an integral part of this lovely story about the importance of home, family, friends and the unbreakable bonds between them. The characters are very likeable so the story tends to invite the reader to be understanding rather than judgemental and encourages a heartfelt wish for a happy ending. An absolute joy to read!

Lynne Manton

An enjoyable, engaging read about families and relationship. Perfect for a holiday, or for curling up with by the fire on a winter's evening.

This book would appeal to fans of Rosamunde Pilcher, Joanna Trollope and Maeve Haran. It is very much a woman's read, probably with a target audience of women aged 40 and over.

The novel tells the stories of Jilly and her grown-up granddaughter. It alternates between the 1940s and the present day. It is story of friendship and families, based in Bath. There are no real surprises in it, but it is a comfortable read with a satisfying end. I found it perfect for a teacher unwinding during the school holidays. It would be a good book to take away on holiday - undemanding and enjoyable. I think my friends would enjoy reading it, and I'm also going to recommend it to my mum.

There was some historical detail in the story, which I found interesting. I have never been to Bath, and was unaware that it had been bombed during the war.

Overall, a gentle and engaging read with likeable characters who learn from their mistakes, can be forgiven their misdemeanours.


Sarah Hamid

Wonderfully uplifting hen lit - that's chick lit for the older generation ! A story of lost chances and second chances, tragedy and despair but also hope and resilience.

A Family Recipe, dubbed the feel-good read of 2018, is what I like to call hen lit - that's chick lit for middle aged women (like me) who have outgrown classic chick lit. It focuses on several generations of strong but vulnerable women in the same family: Jilly, known as Kanga, the 93-year-old matriarch of the family, her grand-daughter Laura, who was raised by Kanga after her daughter Catherine, Laura's mother, was tragically killed in a traffic accident, and Laura's own daughters, Willow and Jaz.

Laura is in a predicament that many women envisage with trepidation : empty nest syndrome. With her youngest daughter heading off to university, Laura is at a crossroads in her life, feeling that she is losing her sense of purpose, value and even identity. Little does she know, this will end up being the least of her worries and her world implodes on the journey back from dropping off her daughter.

In parallel, the books tells the story of Jilly as a young girl, living through the horrors of the Bath Blitz in which she lost her parents, as well as her dreams of a happy-ever-after.

It's a story of lost chances and second chances, tragedy and despair but also hope and resilience. Despite some moments of great sadness, it is ultimately an uplifting, heart-warming read that will have you reflecting on how to find your happy ending, whatever stage of life you are at.


Cheryl Pasquier

An easy read with an uncomplicated story line. A good book for taking on holiday with you.

I have to admit this book really wasn't my cup of tea. It was easy to read and had an uncomplicated plot but for that was its merits.

I found the characters really shallow and the story line a bit predictable.

There didn't seem to be a huge chunk about the family recipes and it left me feeling a bit disappointed.

However if you are looking for a holiday read this would be the one for you.


Katie Lonsdale

A lovely page turner. Descriptive and captivating. Just wish it was longer or had a sequel. A great read.

Loved it, maybe this is why my review is a little late as I didn't want to finish it. Maybe I was biased as it was set in Bath, which I love, about Laura, whose jam stalls and B&B enterprises are exactly what I would like to be doing, if I had the bottle to give up the day job.

That aside, it's a great book, well paced with believable characters and pages of wonderfully lively description. I love how the writer slips effortlessly between the past and the present. Everyone should have a granny like Kanga. The way Laura's life and Jilly's life were equally gripping made it so much more special. It was like having two superb books on the go at once. I shall definitely be scouring the bookshop for more books by Veronica Henry.


Rosie Watch

A Family Recipe' is the new novel from best selling author Veronica Henry. I thoroughly enjoyed read this book, from and this heart-warming tale is a perfect Spring read.

A Family Recipe’ is the new novel from best selling author Veronica Henry. Central to the story is Number 11 Lark Hill and Wilson family that live there. The story begins in 1942 with the starkness of War and one fateful night where the lives of Number 11 change forever. The sense of the inspiring Blitz spirit prevails as does the warmth and comfort of the Aga!. As the story unfolds we meet more characters each with their own story to tell. This apt title, perfectly captures the ingredients of family and blends beautifully with the themes of love, hope, loss and friendship.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, from Lovereading and this heart-warming tale is a perfect Spring read.


Sarah Mustafa

Cosy warm story set in a beautiful location with lots of credible interesting characters. Veronica has done it again!

Loved previous Veronica Henry books and this was no exception. Wonderful characters, beautifully introduced and described and made me really care about them. Lots of strong female characters in the story, with the city of Bath being so beautifully depicted it became an extra character and made me long to visit.

 I could not put the book down and it was easy to read. Loved the two time period stories being told simultaneously and enjoyed the way they came together.

 With just a few chapters to go I wasn't sure how the story would be adequately drawn to its conclusion but I was not disappointed. Thank you!


Julie Mann

I am a big fan of Veronica’s books and I absolutely loved this one, it's a great summer read.

I am a big fan of Veronica’s books and I absolutely loved this one. Veronica always has one character that you feel you can relate to. I loved Laura from the start, her kids have left home, she is not sure what to do but then when a secret rocks her marriage, she decides to start making her grandmother’s jams and chutney’s. I love how the story unfolds and how her grandmothers recipe box helps her and her daughter. The sound of some of those jams and chutney’s sound absolutely divine. A great summer read.

Hannah Ward

We meet Laura and her family, who with the perfect mix of food, family and friends provide the right ingredients for this delightful read.

We are welcomed into the home of Laura, as she prepares herself for her youngest daughter, Willow, heading off to University.  Laura has to find a way of filling the space that is left by Willow, as well as keeping her anxiety at bay worrying about Willow's asthma.  Turning to her beloved grandmother's recipes, the dual narrative weaves effortlessly between 1942 and present day as we see how cooking delicious food for family and friends has always been central to Laura and her grandmother's lives.  Importantly they give Laura a sense of purpose at a time when things appear to be falling apart.  A delightfully immersive read, with a rich cast of characters, you cannot fail to be drawn into the lives of Laura and her family.  You will also want the recipes!

Brigitte Delaney

Delicious ! I recommend anyone pre heats their summer to relaxation and simmer gently with this great read !

I devoured this book and didn’t feel guilty once going back for another helping.

Having recently myself had my nest emptied with my second daughter gone off to University I was intrigued to see if the feelings I had had were common and although my experience was nowhere as exciting as Laura's I could empathise with a lot the character went through. The story links them all beautifully and I can't wait to book another sitting with them all.

I recommend anyone pre heats their summer to relaxation and  simmer gently while enjoying this great read. 


Dianne Harp

A thoroughly delightful easy read with engaging intertwining stories of strong women.

With intertwining stories of multiple generations of strong women, "A Family Recipe" was an easy read that quickly sucked me in to the story and to the city of Bath. Veronica Henry's storytelling painted a vivid picture of the house and the characters who inhabit it.

The story slips with ease between World War II and present time, from Jilly and Ivy's mischief and friendship to the trials and tribulations of Laura and Dom. Tying it together is the family recipe box, with generations of notations and remarks made on beloved recipes - something many of us can relate to.

From lost chances to second chances, and from tragic circumstances to soaring with success, the story of the women who live at Number 11 over many decades is one that strikes a chord with many of us. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Sarah Bedwell

My favourite book of 2018 - treat yourself to a delicious novel this summer - the importance of family, friendships and food.

This is my favourite book of 2018. The characters were believable, the flashbacks to life in the city of Bath during World War 2 were fascinating and I found myself cheering Laura on through her challenges at Number 11 Lark Hill. Definitely a novel to treat yourself to this summer.

I had never read any books by Veronica Henry before this novel, but will now need to remedy that.


Karen Kingston

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781409166627
Publication date: 17/05/2018
Format: Paperback

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About Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry was our Guest Editor in August 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing. Veronica Henry began her career as a script typist for Radio 4s 'The Archers'.  After two years in Ambridge she became a script editor for Central Television, then jumped over the fence and wrote scripts for ten years for many of our best loved dramas, including Boon, Heartbeat and Holby City.  Her secret wish to become a novelist was fulfilled in 2000. Her fourth novel, An Eligible Bachelor, was shortlisted for the RNA Novel of the Year Award 2006 for ...

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