This was quite an interesting read following on the heels of The Christmas Cookie Club. The Recipe Club is a Mercedes compared to Pearlman's Chevy. Recipe Club is a novel about friendship, a cookbook, and a history of the relationship of two women from the time they are in their pre-teens through their mid-twenties; then again after a 20+ year hiatus following "a disagreement", and to the present when they reunite.
The recipes are numerous and diverse, cleverly woven into the story of Lilly and Val, and their parents. The girls form a Recipe Club, correspond via mail, and help each other throughout their lives, up to the time when Val graduates from college. They are as different as night and day. Neither set of parents would ever be nominated for parents of the year, and the girls help each other relate to the individual parents by seeing them through the other's eyes.
The book is written not just as a series of letters, interspersed with yummy recipes but also as emails (when the relationship takes up again in 2000) and also has a section written in normal fiction format.
It is an elegant, thoughtful, delicious book. You have to love the two characters, although you also want to smack them. You have to wonder how two people who are so different in so many ways, can stay such good friends. And then you wonder as you work your way through the book, what caused the estrangement.
The ending of the book was quite surprising to me, but I think I should have seen it coming. It's a well-written, well-planned book that will be enjoyed by women of all ages.
The characters have so much more depth than Pearlman's women, while dealing with many of the same real life issues. It's amazing to read them back to back and compare. There truly is no comparison. If you have to read only one, pick The Recipe Club You won't be disappointed.
Edited to add: One of my LT buddies asked if I had tried any of the recipes yet. Short answer: No, but.....I'm on the road and have marked a couple to try when I get back. I realize people will want to know about the recipes, but this book stands alone as a novel....the recipes are frosting on the cake. (Pardon the pun.)