The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Paperback Book

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake Paperback

2.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the slice.

All at once her cheerful, can-do mother tastes of despair and desperation.

Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes perilous.

Anything can be revealed at any meal. Rose's gift forces her to confront the truth behind her family's emotions - her mother's sadness, her father's detachment and her brother's clash with the world.

But as Rose grows up, she learns that there are some secrets even her taste buds cannot discern. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is about the pain of loving those whom you know too much about, and the secrets that exist within every family.

At once profound, funny, wise and sad, this is a novel to savour.


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

The premise for this book is quite interesting - a young girl discovers that she can sense the emotions a person was feeling when they prepared the food she eats. However, the premise does not live up to its promise! I thought there was so much that could be explored with this idea but instead the book wallows in the (fairly uninteresting) woes of the girl's family. While I could accept Rose's 'gift', it was much harder to accept that of her brother and I felt the book slipped from being quirky to being ridiculous once we discover what Joseph can do.

Review by

I enjoyed this - as usual, a well-written book with a touch of magical realism is right up my alley. This was an interesting idea (being able to taste the emotions of the cook, when eating something) and some of the other "special skills" in the book were even more interesting to think about.

Review by

I don't really know about this book. I hoped to find it light but charming, but it's not really light and only the premise is charming, and the rest of it just sort of gets too much. I mean, there's a point where it just gets beyond magic realism and becomes absurd, for me. The idea of tasting emotions in food doesn't seem so strange to me, but there's a point where this story crosses the line.Some of the writing worked okay for me, but the narration didn't, quite: when is she narrating this? Why? To whom? The lack of speech marks and the sentence fragments didn't bother me too much, it all seemed to be part of the voice Aimee Bender was trying to build up for her character, but... For a story that could be so rich and sensual, it ended up being "hollow in the middle", like the flavour of sadness the protagonist tastes in her mother's cooking and baking.