Welcome! I am honored to be able to write novels for readers like you that are inspired by my grandmothers’ heirlooms, lives and lessons. The stories I write are meant to serve as a universal tribute to family as well as all of our elders, whose stories and sacrifices helped shape us and make us the people we are today.
Which is why I’m so, so proud of my new novel, The Recipe Box, which publishes in hardcover on March 20 and is available for preorder now. The Recipe Box centers on a young woman’s return home to her family’s northern Michigan orchard and pie pantry, where she rediscovers her passion, reconnects to the women in her life and learns about her family’s history through the treasured recipes in an heirloom recipe box.
I spent much of my childhood in my grandma’s country kitchen, tugging at the hem of her crisp white aprons embroidered with bright strawberries or pretty flowers. My tiny grandma and her little kitchen seemed larger than life to me as a child: A vintage oven anchored one side, while her sparkly countertops were engulfed by a bread box that held Little Debbies and Wonder Bread slices. But the most prized possession in her kitchen was her recipe box. A brilliant baker, my grandma cherished the burnished wood box jammed with beloved and secret family recipes, all organized into different categories – Pies, Cakes, Cookies, Breads – and all written in her slanting cursive. Her pink Formica table was the glamorous backdrop for her desserts: Fresh fruit pies – apple, blueberry, cherry, strawberry-rhubarb – with golden crusts vented with a pretty “S” for Shipman as well as lemon with mile-high meringue that resembled a heavenly cloud. And her cookies – chocolate chip, oatmeal, thumbprint filled with homemade jams – were devoured before they even had a chance to cool.
When she died, my mom inherited my grandmother’s recipes. After my mom passed, I became the keeper of those recipes and memories. The Recipe Box is inspired by my grandmother’s recipe box and recipes as well her life, love and lessons. Food, recipes, baking and cooking are what unite us, transport us, connect the past to our present. We all have special recipes, ones we make every holiday and special occasion, the ones we ask our moms, grandmas, sisters and aunts to make because they capture treasured memories and transport us back in time. Even if our loved ones are no longer with us, when we get out that old recipe card and make that favorite recipe, they are still with us in the kitchen, and we remember their hands on ours as they taught us to roll a pie crust or add just a pinch more cinnamon. I’m honored to open the recipe box of my family and share a slice of our lives – and our pies and cakes – with you! I hope you will share in this tradition, pass along your heirloom recipes to those you love and get someone in the kitchen to bake with you today.