MixedThe Chicago TribuneWhat makes Megan: A Hollywood Princess stand out from the pack is the fame of Morton, whose book Diana: Her True Story explosively blew the cover off the unhappy marriage of Harry’s parents ... Morton provides a dutiful and generally positive profile of Markle in his biography. But there’s little of the 'wow' factor that made Diana: Her True Story such a powerful book. I wish there was more of that in Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. Yes, Morton writes about Markle growing up with a white father and an African-American mother who divorced when she was a child. He writes about the challenges and racism Markle faced being biracial in a painfully divided America. But I still wish he could have gone deeper into what motivates and inspires her.
RaveThe Chicago TribuneComing to My Senses is extremely easy to digest, even for non-foodies, largely because Waters views her eventful life with a touch of wonderment that is at once wide-eyed and slyly observant. This book is nicely peppered with telling details, wry and often self-deprecating quips, perceptive character sketches of family, friends, mentors, and even an occasional recipe ... Waters comes across as intelligent, creative, intuitive, exacting, brave and, always, learning ... Waters’ story from birth to the opening days of Chez Panisse is presented in roughly chronological order. But peppered throughout are anecdotes and observations that move freely through time and space. These passages are often in italics, and I learned to anticipate them because they were always much fun to read and often delightfully dishy.
RaveThe Chicago TribuneEach sharply drawn profile reflects the personality, the opportunities and challenges, and the times they lived in. Particularly well-executed is Shapiro's placement of Lewis' rise from kitchen to drawing room in the context of late Victorian and Edwardian culinary and social mores. By writing about these women and not focusing on gastronomy's usual suspects, Shapiro is able to use the unexpected context of the book to bring great insight into the roles and expectations of women and men, particularly during the 20th century. Reading these stories, one after the other, one realizes how Shapiro deftly uses food to link one woman to another — and to us today ... a deliciously satisfying read.
Sally Bendell Smith
RaveThe Chicago TribuneAs Smith's biography makes clear, Camilla's impact on Charles has been considerable, first as his mistress in an on-again, off-again relationship that spanned decades and the end of both their marriages, and then as the second wife whom the prince married in 2005. So, while this is very much a biography about Charles — billed as the first major biography of the prince in 20 years — the reader will find Camilla woven throughout much of the story … I suppose it's ironic Charles is getting short shrift in this story, especially as it was sparked by his biography. But I don't think he'd mind the slight and might even admire the irony.
RaveThe Chicago TribuneBaird thoroughly and engagingly strives to restore a truer perspective of both woman and sovereign in her fine work ... A new biography of Queen Victoria seems so right for right now. For while she lived a life of almost unimagined privilege and wealth set in various palaces and castles, hers is a story that will seem all too familiar to today's readers, particularly women struggling, like Victoria, to balance it all ... this fine work, with its family tree, maps, detailed notes and extensive bibliography, shows she has considerable talent for royal biographies.
Jean Kennedy Smith
PositiveThe Chicago TribuneOne might wish that she was, well, a little more 'there' — or, perhaps, more revealing — but such is the difference between 'memoir' and 'history' ... Smith writes mostly of a time in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s when her wealthy and political family was winning considerable renown but had not yet become the cultural superstars they would be beginning in the 1960s ... Her tales are affectionate and nostalgic, the memories a grandmother would tell the grandchildren as they leafed through a photo album ... There are useful lessons here, not just for grandchildren but for Americans as a whole, especially those who might wonder how the Kennedys so captured the popular imagination.
PositiveThe Chicago TribuneLest the reader find hotel living claustrophobic, Towles does manage to escape the Metropol when the story requires it. He moves fluidly backward and forward in time ... 'marvelous' is a word I'd use for this book. Finishing A Gentleman in Moscow left me with conflicting emotions. I was happy for a good, engaging read. And I was sad that it was over and I had to bid Count Rostov adieu.
PositiveThe RumpusTye presents a balanced portrait of his subject that gives equal due to Kennedy's achievements and failures in and out of the public eye ... Readers looking for titillation or confirmation of rumors long bandied about will likely be disappointed.
Eric Ripert and Veronica Chambers
PositiveThe Chicago TribuneHow Ripert becomes a chef is a known story, too. But what makes 32 Yolks compelling is the honesty and laudable humility Ripert brings to the telling...Let's hope Ripert sees the possibilities of a sequel to this fine memoir and produces a second volume. I'd enjoy learning of the lessons learned from the people and the kitchens he encountered in the United States.
PositiveThe Chicago TribuneAny criticisms are minor compared to what I got out of it. Reading The Lonely City left me with the unsettling thought that all those decades I had spent trying to outrun loneliness rather than accept it had consequences far more subtle and devastating than the obvious ones I have since come to accept on my life, my relationships, my creativity. My liver? Forget about it. Yet, despite the painful thoughts The Lonely City sometimes triggered, this is a book that left me feeling encouraged. Laing takes all sorts of people, events, cultural attitudes and political items and stitches them together to create a new, compelling whole.