The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb

kitchenReviewed by Julie Moderson

WOW! I am so impressed with the style and ease in which Karen Weinreb writes in her first novel. In The Summer Kitchen, Karen Weinreb parallels what is happening in our country and on Wall Street. It is a message to all of us how we are all caught up in more, more, more; she lets us feel some of what she must have felt in how she lost it all. Weinreb’s husband was incarcerated for a white-collar crime and she says this is not a memoir but her experiences were some of the inspiration for the writing of this book. I read about her story in a magazine and couldn’t wait to read what she wrote and it was so much more than I expected.

Nora Banks is the wife of a wealthy Wall Streeter and lives in the exclusive community of Bedford, NY. All the wealthy families live on dirt roads because of their horses. They drive black cars because the dirt shows and then everyone knows you live on the dirt roads of the very, very rich. None of the women work, they all have nannies to take care of their children and they spend hours gossiping about the other women – they are cookie cutter human beings. They dress the same; they talk the same and do whatever is the in thing to do at the time. They are constantly busy doing absolutely nothing constructive. Nora was always a bit different from her friends because she liked people and she treated most people well including those who worked for her. Her friends looked down at the people they employed. Nora did get caught up in spending more money because they had it. They had to go away for the holidays because that is what everyone does. Nora had a husband who truly loves her and she adores her children and is friends with her nanny Beatriz. One morning before dawn, Nora wakes up to the FBI arresting her husband, Evan, and soon they take all of her belongings. Evan Banks ends up doing two years in prison. Nora is hurt and angry with her husband for destroying her life and the lives of their children.

The book takes us through the most horrible period of time for Nora but she discovers who she really is and how much inner strength that she has. She finds friends she never fully realized and that those she thought were friends were not. The Summer Kitchen is such a fantastic book I can’t wait to see what Karen Weinreb writes next.

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