Book Review: The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan

"I feel like I’m living an interrupted life.”
Elizabeth LaBan, The Restaurant Critic's Wife

The above quote comes from a book I recently finished, The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth LaBan. I came across this book when I joined a book club in my local area. The book summary drew me in, and I was excited to dig in. I wanted to write a review for you. After two years of having unfinished books sitting on my nightstand, I couldn't put this one down and finished it in two days!

I was so excited I decided to jump on here and write a review for you all!

Book Summary

The story follows Lila Soto, a former hotel executive who finds herself in a new town (Philadelphia), married and pregnant with her second child. Her husband is obsessed with his work as a local restaurant critic, leaving Lila to navigate the transitions to a new city, two small children and rediscovering herself in the midst of all these changes.

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Lila's husband, Sam, is so concerned about his new job that he restricts Lila's ability to make new friends or return to work. Lila, remaining loyal to her husband and wanting him to succeed, makes the necessary adjustments but finds herself questioning everything. She wonders if her career break, her marriage and even starting a family were the right things to do. Lila begins to feel like her identity is disappearing and isn't sure of what to do to gain control of her life.

What drew me to this book?

I was drawn to Lila's story because I interact with women whose lives are very similar to hers. I felt a strong connection with her throughout the novel. The choices a woman has to make when she gets married and has children are often difficult ones. There are so many transitions that take place, in what seems like a short amount of time, and they take place in an unfamiliar new reality. Prior to reviewing this book, I was hesitant to share her story but I believe her life mirrors mine which is why I was compelled to share her story with you all.

Book Review

The story line is slow at times, but I appreciate that because the author was able to draw us into Lila's everyday life. We got a glimpse into the decisions she made as a woman, mother, wife, and friend in every area of her life. We came to understand the connections between her feelings and her decisions. Her relationship with her husband is hard to accept at times. His attitude towards her was off-putting. The reality is. However, husbands and wives make demands on one another like Sam did on Lila. He could have approached the entire situation differently, although we see some hope at the end of the story.

I recommend this book to women who are grappling with transitions in their lives and want a story line that parallels their experience. The women who are seeking to get in touch with who they truly while adapting to their ever evolving life.

I hope you enjoyed this review. If you want to build a conversation around this story, please leave a comment below.

Elly

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