The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman


The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman
(Lake Union – October 10, 2017)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful ode to Detroit and comfort food, this novel is an absolute feel-good delight.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy of this title.

Book Description (from Goodreads)

Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?

Review

Lampman has taken her love for Detroit, combined it with her adoration of food, and created not only a wonderful work of fiction, but also a wonderful primer on Detroit’s history and the resurrection of a fallen city. Michigan as a whole and Detroit specifically take on a life of their own in this novel, creating a sense of place that I really don’t experience in most novels. The characters grab your heart and while I didn’t always agree with their decisions, I could relate to Sam and Addie very closely. The diner itself is swoon-worthy, and I love how the influence of food bloggers, Yelp and newspaper reviews are included.

Throughout the story, Lampman is careful to include the complexities of race relations in the area, as well as the complexity of race relations in general, and while several times this gets somewhat awkward, her genuine attempt to highlight her respect for the diversity of the diner’s neighborhood shine through. I would much prefer an awkward implementation over an inappropriate one or completely glossed over view of race in a quickly-gentrifying neighborhood.

Overall, this is a delightful read that I would highly recommend to fans of contemporary women’s and foodie fiction, as well as anyone with a soft spot for Detroit in their hearts. I’m a huge fan of all of these things, making me the PERFECT audience for this story! I’m so happy I had the opportunity to read it pre-release.

View all of my Goodreads reviews

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