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3 February 2014

Blog Tour: 'Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots' by Jessica Soffer (2014)

Today I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Jessica Soffer's new novel, 'Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots'!

Victoria, eighty and recently bereaved, is lonely and needs to find a way to reconnect with the world. When she starts teaching cooking classes she doesn't expect Lorca, a troubled teenager, to be her first pupil. Lorca is desperate to find a way into her mother's affections and as a last attempt decides to track down the recipe for her ideal meal, an obscure Middle Eastern dish called masgouf. 
As Lorca and Victoria form an unexpected bond over almond and pistachio cookies and baklava, they begin to suspect they are connected in more ways than just their love of food.

At the start of 2014 I was contacted with the question whether I’d be interested in reviewing ‘Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots’, the debut novel of new author Jessica Soffer. Even though I wasn’t too sure about the book at first, something in the blurb managed to hold my interest. The novel is compared to Joanne Harris’ ‘Chocolat’ and Julia Powell’s ‘Julie & Julia’, both books in which food takes on a central role and which I have definitely heard of but also have never picked up for a reason I’m not completely sure of, if I’m honest. So, I decided to give the book a chance, knowing that if I would enjoy this, there would also be some other books waiting for me to be picked up!

Lorca is a troubled teenage girl living in New York who is trying to find her way in life, but without the motherly love and family affection she so desperately longs for. In order to at least feel something, she has developed the habit of cutting and hurting herself, which is something she tries to hide from the world. At the other side of town, there’s Victoria, an eighty-year-old woman who has just lost her husband whom she loved dearly, and finds it difficult to find a way to go on with her life, all alone. Through a shared passion for food and cooking, Lorca and Victoria are brought together and it soon becomes clear that they might be connected by more than just food and that feeling of loneliness.

I didn’t quite know what to expect from this novel, but after reading the first chapter I was already captivated by Lorca, a teenage girl who desperately wants and needs some kind of bond with her mother or at least someone who is interested in what she has to say and feels. I immediately felt a certain fondness for Lorca and wanted her to be fine, to be loved. The other main character, an elderly woman named Victoria, is also described in such a powerful and poignant way that I couldn’t help but be intrigued. The link between these two characters is beautifully explored with the subject of food at its centre: Lorca discovers her mother’s favourite meal is an Iraqi dish called ‘masgouf’ and her search for the recipe brings her to Victoria, who used to own an Iraqi restaurant together with her husband. In this way, the book brings together several themes like a search for love and family, dealing with grief and loneliness, and a passion for food and culture.

The story is told from three different points of view: Lorca, Victoria, and a few passages from the mind of Joseph, Victoria’s husband. Even though I wasn’t as completely gripped by the storyline as I would perhaps have liked to be, the emotions and the characters are so strong and they managed to suck me in until I had read the last word on the last page. There were even a few twists and turns at the end of the book which I had not seen coming. ‘Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots’ is a captivatingly well-written and heartfelt debut novel with two characters at its core that will stay with me for quite some time to come, and I am curious to see what else Jessica Soffer has in store for us! 

Rating: 7,5/10

For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads


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