Blog Tour Review: A Recipe for Family by Tori Haschka


Title: A Recipe For Family

Author: Tori Haschka

Published: 3rd August 2022, Simon & Schuster Australia 

Read: August 2022 courtesy DMCPRMedia


My Thoughts:

Stella Prentice feels like she is drowning. With her husband, Felix, rarely home, she’s struggling to manage her full time career as a brand manager for an upmarket grocery chain while raising her bright four year old, Natalie, and resentful teenage stepdaughter, Georgia, along with fulfilling life’s everyday tasks. Stella’s friends amongst her well-off Northern beaches community insist that a live in au pair is the life raft she needs, but will it be enough to save a sinking ship?

Set within the same community as Tori Haschka’s debut novel, Grace Under Pressure, A Recipe for Family shares the exploration of similar themes such as work/life balance, marriage, motherhood, family, friendship and the stresses of modern living.

As an overwhelmed working wife and mother, Stella is an easy character to relate to as she attempts to juggle the demands on her time, struggling with guilt and resentment when she inevitably drops a ball. Hiring an au pair is an impulsive move, and though Stella is hopeful it will work out, she is uncomfortable with the arrangement. Subsumed by her own issues however, Stella does not handle the situation well, and her relationship with Ava becomes increasingly strained.

I felt very sorry for Ava, still grieving the recent loss of her mother, she is very far from home, and still so young. Ava attempts to draw comfort and advice from notes and recipes left to her by her late mother, but it quickly becomes clear, though she bonds well with Natalie and Georgia, that she doesn’t quite have the maturity or experience to negotiate the awkward situation she finds herself in.

There’s also a third narrative strand in A Recipe for Family which involves Stella’s mother-in-law, Elise. I liked the character, and enjoyed many of her observations, but I didn’t feel the features of her storyline fit comfortably in the novel. I thought the glimpses into the lives of Stella’s and Ava’s friends and acquaintances were more relevant, providing some interesting context and contrast to their circumstances.

Food, and in particular its associations with motherhood, is a linking motif in the novel, from Stella’s repeated attempts to connect with Georgia by preparing meals to honour her stepdaughter’s late mother, to the comfort food Stella prepares for herself at a low point, to the recipes that Ava cooks for the Prentice’s. I think many of us have at least one recipe that serves as a connection to family – for me, it’s my mother’s meatloaf, and I enjoyed this aspect of the novel. I also really liked that Haschka thoughtfully includes the recipes mentioned through the story in full.

Warmly written, with relatable characters, and thoughtful observations, A Recipe of Family is an engaging novel. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the last few lines of the novel had quite the unexpected kick, and I hope that Haschka decides to explore its consequences, (particularly for Eve) next.


Available from Simon & Schuster Australia 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carla
    Aug 18, 2022 @ 10:37:26

    This sounds interesting, Shelleyrae. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Kathryn
    Aug 18, 2022 @ 13:40:52

    Well this sounds very readable with great themes. Especially too that last kicky few lines!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. WendyW
    Aug 18, 2022 @ 13:54:14

    I like that this book explores the work/life balance.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out

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