Book Review – The Kitchen Tales by Sally Nansen

Looking for something sweet, short and nostalgic? Artist, author and illustrator, Sally Nansen’s The Kitchen Tales is worth a read!

What is The Kitchen Tales about?

Sally Nansen’s The Kitchen Tales is a short story collection, centring on women in the home. Each story stands alone, but when read together, the collection provides a wonderfully nostalgic view of female empowerment, loss, struggle, and joy.

That current of emotion runs throughout each story, and ties them together beautifully. Each story centres on, or heavily features a kitchen of some kind, being a refuge and source of empowerment of women, especially from prior generations.

What I liked about The Kitchen Tales?

There’s something special about the handcrafted detail that the author has poured into this book. The author has indie-published The Kitchen Tales in a limited run (my own copy is pencil marked number 85 of 500).

This isn’t the only detail that makes me admire this book. Everything from the author designed cover, the typeface, to the nods to a bygone era on the dust-jacket (the price is listed in shillings and pence) lends the book a feeling of attention to detail.

It’s a somewhat different experience reading a book of this nature. It feels rare, in an era of mass production, for something like this to flourish. But it just goes to show that just because something isn’t common, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.

The stories themselves are well written, and the Nansen has a beautiful way with metaphors and characters. Short fiction takes considerable effort to execute successfully, and Nansen has done so.

Readers will likely identify on the pages, women in their own lives. I certainly did. The beauty of the everyday is the centrepiece of this collection and flashes of recognition add another layer to the enjoyment of reading The Kitchen Tales.

My favourite story in the collection?

My personal favourite from the collection was a story about a woman who despite losing her husband, is living life with joy. The story delicately balances loss, as well as newfound freedom.

I was captivated and amused by the first line:

When Mrs A. Daloney found her husband dead in the bath one fine spring morning, she observed his bluish pallor contrasted very nicely with the pale green towels hanging from their chrome rack.

Sally Nansen — The Kitchen Tales

The rest of the story is equally vibrant, with a dark sort of humour.

What I didn’t like about The Kitchen Tales?

There were not enough stories in the collection to sate my interest! But, by very definition, short fiction is exactly that; short.

The Kitchen Tales is perfect for?

Readers looking for something a little different, a bit special, and a lot heartfelt. I can imagine this making a wonderful gift, particularly if there’s a woman in your life you’d like to honour.

Where can I get a copy?

The Kitchen Tales can be ordered online from author Sally Nansen’s website.

Special thanks to author Sally Nansen for engaging my paid book review services and for providing me with a copy of her book The Kitchen Tales. I was not required to provide a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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