Nutmeg is a breath of fresh air - completely different from any book I've read lately. It's the story of Meg, who is trying to find out the truth about her origins, but whose mother thwarts her at every turn with a string of impossible fairytale answers. Meg's father was, apparently, the most wonderful French pastry chef who fell in love with her mother in a cherry orchard then died, just days later, in the midst of trying to create an incredible cherry pastry in her honour. The scar on her head is from a crab cake which had a live crab claw left inside that nipped her. And Meg's mother is such a great cook that her lighter-than-air meringues make you float to the ceiling after a single bite...
Now 21, Meg knows that these stories are nothing but flights of her mother's imagination. She has turned to science as a reaction to the stories, preferring to deal with cold, hard facts. The problem is, her mother is very ill and still refuses to tell the truth. How is Meg meant to find out how she really is, when nobody else can tell her?
I really enjoyed this book. The beginning half in particular is beautifully, poetically written - full of tastes, flavours and scents. I loved the dynamic between Meg and her mother - the head and heart, reality and fantasy. There is a sort of magic about the story that made it feel really unique.
I don't think it's a perfect book - the second half felt slightly rushed and I never quite believed in Mark, Meg's scientist boyfriend whose quest for the truth at all times makes him unsympathetic and more of a viewpoint than a character. But I fell in love with Meg and her mother, and overall this is a funny, moving and very original story. What's more, it'll make you feel very hungry...
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