Published by Lake Union Publishing ISBN 978-1542047821
Trade paperback, $14.95, 352 pages
Peggy Lampman previously owned a specialty food store, The Back Alley Gourmet, in her college town of Ann Arbor before writing a weekly food column for the Ann Arbor News. Now she writes a food blog, dinnerfeed.com and all this led her to write two novels- The Promise Kitchen (2016) and this year's The Welcome Home Diner.
Addie and Samantha open a diner in Detroit. Detroit has been through some rough times, and the cousins hope to help resusitate an area of Detroit with their neighborhood diner.
They got their love of cooking from their Babcia, their Polish grandmother. She inspired them, and her photo hangs up in a corner of the diner to remind them of how they got here. Addie and Sam share a two-story house- Addie lives upstairs with her boyfriend David and they seem very happy and well-suited to each other.
Addie is the organizer and planner, she handles the ordering, and the paperwork, along with the front of the house issues. She sees a future for her and David, marriage and children, but David is happy with things the way they are.
Sam runs the kitchen, she is beautiful and a great cook and after getting out of a bad relationship in New York, she is trying to find her footing again with men. Meanwhile, she has Hero, her dog who watches over her.
The Welcome Home Diner has money issues, as most new businesses do. They don't have much money leftover after payroll and food costs, but Addie and Sam are committed to making the diner work, sacrificing much to make it successful.
They draw a decent crowd from the young professionals in the area, but they are perplexed as to why the neighborhood residents do not eat at the diner. Their prices are reasonable, the food is delicious, and there isn't another comparable restaurant in the neighborhood.
In addition, there is a person giving them bad and inaccurate Yelp reviews, a next door neighbor who is openly hostile to them, and a business vendor who is menacing them.
I loved the characters in The Welcome Home Diner. Along with Addie and Sam, they have an interesting staff- Braydon, who started with them on day one and has worked his way up to floor manager, Quiche, a cook who brings her smart young daughter Sun Beam to work with her, and Sylvia, a young woman rescued from sex traffickers whom Addie and Sam take under their wing.
Having owned a restaurant with my husband, I found The Welcome Home Diner fascinating. Lampman gets so much right, such as the stress, the hard, physical work and the comraderie of the team effort. You get a great look at the day-to-day grind of running a restaurant.
The setting of Detroit is a character as well. We get a real feel for what a once-vibrant city is now going through, the struggles of the residents to get back on their feet. Some people appreciate the efforts of newcomers investing in their city, others fear the gentrification and the strangers moving into their neighborhoods.
I recommend The Welcome Home Diner for those who like foodie fiction, and family stories mixed with serious issues and there are even some recipes at the end, like Lamb Burger Sliders with Tzatziki and Beetroot Relish, and Sylvia's Heartbreakers, which are similiar to the amazing Levain's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies, famous in NYC (and my guilty pleasure).
Peggy Lampman's website is here.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Peggy Lampman's tour. The rest of her tour stops are here:
Peggy Lampman’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, October 16th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, October 17th: A Thousand Books to Read
Wednesday, October 18th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Thursday, October 19th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Saturday, October 21st: Beth Fish Reads
Monday, October 23rd: The Sketchy Reader
Tuesday, October 24th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, October 25th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, October 26th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, October 27th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Monday, October 30th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Wednesday, November 1st: Why Girls are Weird
Thursday, November 2nd: Bookchickdi
Friday, November 3rd: BookNAround
Monday, November 6th: Read Write Repeat
Tuesday, November 7th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, November 8th: Bibliotica
Friday, November 10th: What is That Book About