Book Review: Recipes For Melissa by Teresa Driscoll

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Is it ever too late for the gift of goodbye?

Melissa Dance was eight years old when her mother died. They never got to say goodbye.

Melissa and her father lived their lives without her mother. Melissa managed by blanking out her memories of her mother, while her father clung on to them. Both of them coping in ways they could. On her 25th birthday, she gets handed a journal. It is her mother’s journal which she had left with special instructions to be handed over when Melissa turned 25. The journal that he mother wrote just for Melissa, something that even her father is completely unaware of. It is her way of saying goodbye to her daughter, at a time she feels might be right, rather than as a bewildered eight year old. But is the the right time or it s it too late already? Has Melissa moved into an unforgiving state with little memories of her mother to match the words that leap out of the journal? Or will her mother’s words reach out to her, hug her and comfort her when she needs it the most?

A beautifully written book. One that touched my heart. Melissa’s emotions as she reads the book and the way it impacts her life at the moment, was beautifully brought out. It was heartbreaking and sweet at the same time. A mother’s pain at leaving her eight year old and her beloved husband was palpable in Melissa’s mother’s words. It did make me wonder how/what I would do if faced with a similar situation. Would you make the most of the little time you have left in the world, by making it as normal and memorable as possible or would you tell you daughter and prepare her as best as you can. I’m not sure if I agreed with everything that Melissa’s mum did, as in, not saying a goodbye to her eight year old, before she died, but the beauty of the book is that it makes you empathise with the characters. You may not completely agree with their way of thinking but your heart goes out to them, you understand why.

The book is not just about Melissa and her mum, it is also about her dad who has been struggling in many ways himself. Having had the most wonderful relationship with his wife, he fears that he has had his chance at happiness. He’d be too greedy to expect more.

A book that will stay with me. The recipes of course, are an essential part of the book. The author does such a beautiful job of merging the recipes with Melissa’s mum’s words that you don’t even realise where an anecdote ends and a recipe begins. Beautifully handled throughout. A 4.5/5 read for me.

About the Author
Teresa Driscoll is a former BBC TV news presenter with 25 years’ experience across newspapers, magazines and broadcasting. After training as a newspaper reporter, she joined Thames TV for five years before 15 years as the anchor of the BBC’s south west regional TV news programme Spotlight.

Teresa has been writing short stories for a range of national magazines for a decade and has tutored creative writing with the support of Arts Council England.

Recipes for Melissa – her debut novel – was auctioned at the Frankfurt Book Fair and has already sold in six languages.

This book is available for pre-order at Amazon(UK), at 99p (an absolute steal!).

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