In this novel we become acquainted with the Blaire family. We come to know them first when Lillian and Murray Blaire are just starting out and have a young family of four children. Murray, a lawyer has political aspirations and runs for Congress as a Democrat in the mostly Republican state of New Hampshire. Lillian, an aspiring writer, shelves her writing to raise her children, run the household, and support her husband who is on the campaign trail.
Lillian, a very busy woman, would be flippant when one of her children asked “What’s for supper?“. She would answer “Go Ask Fannie“, alluding to the renowned cookbook.Jump forward 32 years in time. Now Murray, a widower, is eighty-one years of age. He has sold the family home in Concord and moved to the north of the state where he works a farm. He has dairy cows and sunflower fields. Lillian and Daniel lost their lives in an automobile accident decades ago. Now Murray’s three remaining children gather at his home. Ruth, a lawyer, and the eldest of the siblings, worries for Murray’s well-being. She is married and has sons of her own. George, the middle child, is single and works as a registered nurse. Lizzie, the youngest of the siblings is also single and works as an underpaid university professor.
Lizzie arrives to the gathering late. She informs her sister and brother that the family heirloom cookbook has been gravely damaged by a boyfriend of hers. The family is distraught. For within the pages of this cookbook, their late mother wrote many notes. Not only notes to amend some of the recipes, but also notes on ideas for her writing.Lizzie, in retaliation for the ruined heirloom, inflicts both physical and property damage to her boyfriend. The police become involved…
This novel was about sibling relationships, a subject that is always fascinating to me as an only child. Also, the old Fanny Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook resonated with me. My own mother swore by this book. At present I have three different Fanny Farmer cookbooks, all different vintages.
This is essentially a novel about family. About the complicated relationships we sometimes have with the people we love the most. The book deals with love, loss, sacrifice, guilt, and regret.
I enjoyed getting to know the Blaire family, warts and all. They were depicted in a very authentic way. The novel was a ‘snapshot’ of their family life. Recommended!
Click here to read the Fannie Farmer popovers recipe featured in the novel.
Publication date: April 10, 2018 Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 9780735218567 ASIN: B075HZSYXF 304 pages
In the United Kingdom the title differs slightly. There it is called “Go Ask Fannie Farmer”.
Elisabeth Hyde is the author of six novels to date. Her first novel, Her Native Colors, was published in 1986. Monoosook Valley followed quickly, then after a break when her three children were small, Crazy As Chocolate was finally published in 2002. Her big break came in the summer of 2006 with The Abortionist’s Daughter, when England’s Richard and Judy Show chose her book as one of its Summer Reads. In 2010 In The Heart of the Canyon was published. Colorado Humanities chose her most recent novel, Go Ask Fannie, as the winner of their 2019 Colorado Book Award in General Fiction.
Besides writing, she likes to hike with her dog, dabble in watercolors, and goof around at the dinner table with her family. She is passionate about the Grand Canyon, having gone down the Colorado River twice (one time as a guide’s assistant). Last but not least, she craves quiet reading time.
Elisabeth Hyde grew up in Concord, New Hampshire. Trained as a lawyer, she worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., before she started writing full-time. She now lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband.