Take one dysfunctional family, sprinkle some magic dust, a few slices of depression, loneliness, sadness and mystery, stir in a pinch of family secrets and you'll have the most unusual tale of a young girl with the most unusual gift of knowing how someone is feeling while they're cooking a meal just by consuming it.
"As I finished that first bite, as that first impression faded, I felt a subtle shift inside, an unexpected reaction.......it seemed that my mouth was also filling with the taste of smallness....of upset, tasting a distance I somehow knew was connected to my mother, tasting a crowded sense of her thinking."
For Rose, every food had a feeling, by the time she was 12 she could identify exactly where it was produced or grown. As she grew up she found it more palatable to eat food that was produced in a factory, preferably not by human hands.
Her brother Joseph was distant and uncommunicative (and he keeps disappearing and appearing out of nowhere!), her mother was raw with loneliness (but keeps it well hidden) and her father rarely spoke to her (and he has a secret of his own).
This is, basically, a family saga as we follow Rose through her early years, her jobs, her college life, her crush on Joseph's friend, George, who is the only one who believes her, and, ultimately, as she comes to terms with her gift.
This is a wonderfully written story, full of oddball but memorable characters, which I felt enchanted by.
My favourite was the secretive and sad Joseph, I wanted to know more about him, how he was feeling, what he was thinking but the book focused mainly on Rose and the other characters were just on the periphery so I didn't feel as if all my questions were answered ......... but perhaps that was what the author intended .......... or perhaps it was just me not seeing the answers!