Monday, 19 December 2016

The Food of Love - Amanda Prowse

Inspired by Amanda’s own extreme struggle with body image and a family history of anorexia, this is a compelling and heart-wrenching look at family, food and the challenge of raising teenagers in our self-obsessed, image conscious society.

Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years happily married to a man who still excites her, two beautiful teenaged daughters, and her dream career as a health food writer. Her home is filled with love and laughter, with a passion for food at its very core.

But no amount of love could have prepared Freya for the devastating impact of anorexia and bulimia on her family. In a desperate battle to rescue her youngest child from its clutches, Freya will do all she can to save her daughter, her marriage and her family. But how can she when food, the social glue of their family, is both the problem and the solution? Is Freya’s own obsession with clean eating partly to blame? And how can you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved? 

What I thought:

Since reading her first novel, Poppy Day, several years ago now, I have found that Amanda Prowse is one of those authors who never disappoints. Her books are always packed with emotion, so tissues at the ready, I was prepared and excited to get stuck into The Food of Love.

The Braithwaites are like any normal family. With two teenage daughters, Charlotte and Lexi, their days are filled with chatter, laughter and of course, arguments! It's a happy home. Dad, Lockie, is a freelance photographer, and mum, Freya, a food writer who loves cooking and is always whipping up fresh and exciting meals for her family. No frozen TV dinners or fishfingers and chips for this household!

When the school rings and asks Freya to call in to discuss Lexi, she's quite puzzled.It can't be anything serious, surely? Hers was a normal family, her girls well loved and cared for. The teacher is concerned after Lexi fainted at school. She thinks she may have an issue with food but Freya isn't convinced. If there was a problem then she'd know about it.

What follows is a story of torment and desperation, of love and heartache and of a once happy, stable family that begins to crumble and fall apart.

Lockie's character is refreshingly honest. He's a joker and at times a total embarrassment to his teenage daughters. I found his inability to cope with the situation and sometimes lack of tolerance, frustrating, although understandable, but his obvious love and devotion to his family won me over in the end. In fact the whole family's love for each other shines through as they struggle along on this harrowing journey.
This story is as ugly as it is beautiful. The excruciating pain and frustration borne by the whole family made for some uncomfortable reading at times. Lockie trying to exert a firm hand and Freya just trying to nurture her baby girl. Both helpless as they are engulfed by a blanket of gloom that poisons the happy unit they once were.

It was no surprise that this was an emotional read, but it wasn't just that. This book is a gift. It offers an insight into this little spoken about, often taboo subject. It doesn't hold back on the graphic reality of this horrific disease. A disease that can touch any one of us or our loved ones. It's a book that will stay with me.

In my opinion, it's the author's best book yet. I loved it. Highly recommended - read it and see for yourself.  

About the author

Amanda Prowse is a bestselling novelist with an incredible 136K followers on Twitter. This is her sixteenth novel and her books have been translated into a dozen languages and regularly top bestseller charts all over the world. Amanda has been dubbed ‘The Queen of Domestic Drama’ and writes about ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined.


Through writing The Food of Love, Amanda has come face to face with her own feelings of shame, secrecy and obsession with food. Overweight as a child and a yo-yo dieter as an adult, Amanda has struggled with body image and overeating all her life.

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