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Thursday 6 June 2024

Rachels Random Resources: The Heartpine Recipes by L. C. Fields

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About the Book
The Heartpine Recipes
It’s more than southern storytelling. It’s southern storytelling with a side of biscuits.

When Grace Collier comes back to Heartpine, Tennessee, she's thinking about endings. The end of her job. The end of her engagement. Instead, she finds a new beginning. A journey of discovery that will reconnect her to her home place…as well as her own past.

Like so many southern tales, this one starts out in the kitchen. Grace’s Aunt Jess – the wise, loving woman who raised her after her parents passed – is collecting recipes for a new community cookbook. It’s not long before Grace finds herself an honorary member of the cookbook committee; and next thing she knows, she’s busy gathering up all the rich stories that come with those recipes. All the surprises, all the mysteries, all the memories. Along the way, she gets to know a townful of unforgettable characters. Stirs up a few old secrets. And comes to terms, finally, with her own legacy of loss.

It’s about the recipes, yes. But more than that, it’s about the relationships. It’s a journey that links families and generations. A journey of homecoming and redemption.

And just for fun, every chapter includes an iconic southern recipe – so you can cook them up yourself and see what all the fuss is about. From cornbread to collards, from pulled pork to pineapple casserole, you’ll find them here. There’s even a never-fail recipe for the best sweet tea you’ve ever tasted (not that a true southern cook would need a recipe for that, heaven knows!).

Touching, positive and uplifting, The Heartpine Recipes is a generous serving of warmth, humor and heart.

Purchase Links

From the author:
I’m really excited about my new novel, The Heartpine Recipes. That’s because it brings together two things I love: southern storytelling and southern food.

It’s true: so many southern rituals and relationships are centered on the foods we love. They’re an important part of who we are. They connect people, across distance and time. It’s not just the ingredients, the biscuits and the bacon. It’s our stories, our voices. So when I started writing, started getting to know these characters, it was natural to bring in the southern cooking, the foods they shared. And if you’re going to do that, then you might as well put in the recipes. So I did.

My narrator is Grace Collier. She’s a strong female lead, a thirty-one-year-old writer who’s decided to take a break from her life in Nashville and come back temporarily – or so she thinks – to her home town of Heartpine, Tennessee. Both her parents died when she was very young, and she was raised by her aunt. She gets involved in the collection of recipes for a town cookbook, and that’s the engine – along with the food, naturally – that drives the action. Each chapter focuses on a specific recipe, but it’s really about the story that comes with it. There’s plenty of humor along the way. It’s a feel-good book, the kind that makes you smile, but there are a few tears, too. It’s an episodic novel, but there’s an overall arc as well: Grace’s homecoming and her rediscovery of place, past and family.

The town of Heartpine isn’t real, meaning that you won’t find it on a map. But it’s put together from parts and pieces of real places I know and love. I made it up, but I didn’t invent the spirit, the wisdom or the kindness. In fact, everything in the book is inspired by my own experiences… including the characters. It’s really a character-driven novel. And they’re strong characters – strong women, for the most part. The female friendships are at the heart of the book. While I’m writing, I actually enjoy visiting with them, and they sometimes whisper in my ear to tell me which way a story ought to go.

I’m going to apologize up front for stretching a metaphor just a tad too far: like a recipe, a book depends on the quality of the ingredients. In this case, there’s a range of personalities and situations. There’s a diminutive old lady, living in a grand southern mansion, whose family heritage includes the official recipe of the semi-official State of Franklin: a collection of Tennessee counties that made a brave, hopeless effort to become the fourteenth U.S. state. There’s a head-to-head collards cook-off between a shy home cook and a flamboyant upscale restaurateur: old south versus new south. There’s even a good old southern ghost story, all about a nineteenth-century woman for whom the kitchen was both prison and sanctuary. And for Grace, at the end, there’s a consuming personal quest: the attempt to recreate one of her late mother’s recipes, and come to terms with her own legacy of loss.

You could say that The Heartpine Recipes is a summer book, in more ways than one. It starts off in May, and it ends in September. But it’s also a good summer read, I think. My hope is that you would be able pick it up and dip into a chapter or two, and enjoy it that way; or read it cover to cover, and follow Grace’s journey right along.

Author Bio:
You’ve probably read some of L.C. Fields’s writing, somewhere along the line. That’s because L.C. has spent a couple of decades at ad agencies, writing for a few of the great icon brands. Some of that experience is baked into L.C.’s fiction.
L.C. lives in rural Southwest Virginia – about an hour’s drive from the imagined town of Heartpine – off a winding gravel road. It’s a grand place to listen to the wind, watch the animals (including one ridiculously cute Kerry Blue Terrier) and soak up inspiration.
The Heartpine Recipes is L.C.’s first (published) novel.

wishing the author all the best
for her first published novel

Social Media Links: 
Amazon author page:

(note: Helen has not yet read the book herself)

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