The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman

welcome homeThis was a very interesting read.

This fictional story is about Samantha (Sam) and Addie, who are cousins that buy, renovate and run a restaurant in Detroit, called Welcome Home.

My husband used to live just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan and I would travel to Windsor to meet him (I live in Toronto). We would drive through Detroit to get to his place. We have, on occasion stopped off for some food there. Having spent some time in and around the area, you can’t help but be aware of the issues the city is having. When I saw this was a story about a start-up restaurant in the city it piqued my interest.

The author did a really good job of being descriptive of not only Detroit, but the surrounding area. She mentions many points of interest around the area to make it real. She mentions University of Michigan and Zingerman’s Roadhouse (which we have eaten at many times. If you go get the mac and cheese! You will not be disappointed).

The story is not only about the restaurant, it is about the two main characters and their lives and their (sometimes fraught) relationship with each other. As they are building up the business, they each have their own struggles. There is also a cast of characters that work at or pass through the restaurant that have their own stories to tell. Each character seems to represent a point-of-view or struggle. The characters seemed real. I cared about them, and I wanted to know more about them.

There are some hard hitting issues that are addressed in this book (sex slavery, racism, violence) and it fits. It not only makes for an interesting story, but helps to expose some of the important issues that Detroit is facing.

Food features heavily in the story (obviously, it’s about a restaurant). Specifically it is about how food can bring people together, can link us to our past and to our family (or not). As a bonus, there are recipes in the back of the book. I am definitely going to try the diner’s signature Heartbreaker cookies!!!

This is more than a light beach read. However, it was interesting from the start and kept me engaged throughout the story.

I rated this 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Full disclosure: I received this eARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review. (Thanks NetGalley!)

 

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