Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Come Away With Me" by Karma Brown, Served with Giada's Lemon Spaghetti

On today's TLC Book Tour stop, we are taking a trip to Thailand, Italy, and Hawaii with the moving novel of love and loss; Come Away With Me by Karma Brown. (Releasing today!) I am pairing my review with a big bowl of sunny Lemon Spaghetti, inspired by the book.

Publisher's Blurb:

A heartbreaking and emotional story of love and loss, COME AWAY WITH ME is one woman’s discovery that life is still worth living, even if it’s not the life you planned.

One minute, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next, a patch of black ice causes a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined.

Tegan is consumed by grief—not to mention anger toward Gabe, who was driving on the night of the crash. But just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, Gabe reminds her of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and so begins an adventure of a lifetime.
From the bustling markets of Thailand to the flavors of Italy to the ocean waves in Hawaii, Tegan and Gabe embark on a journey to escape the tragedy and search for forgiveness. But they soon learn that grief follows you no matter how far away you run, and that acceptance comes when you least expect it. Heartbreaking, hopeful and utterly transporting, COME AWAY WITH ME is an unforgettable debut and a luminous celebration of the strength of the human spirit.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Mira (August 25, 2015)

My Review:
I have to start by saying that I ugly-cried throughout Come Away With Me. A lot. It's hard not to get attached to Tegan and her husband Gabe, a young couple with so much possibility, only to have it torn away in a few moments in a tragic accident. Tegan's grief is palpable from every page, as is her anger at Gabe, who she blames for driving too fast and not paying the attention he should have to driving and the accident that takes the life of their unborn child. How does someone come back from that kind of devastation? Gabe thinks she should pull three slips from the Jar of Spontaneity they started a few months before their wedding, hoping the results will push her to start healing and forgiving. The three slips turn into an incredible trip from Chicago to Thailand, Italy's Amalfi Coast, and finally to Hawaii. Tegan is reluctant to go and is having a tough time balancing her love for Gabe with her anger at him. The grieving process is never a straight path and the author captures the one step forward, two steps back in an honest and accurate way. Each location and the experiences had there are vividly drawn and it adds to the beauty of the story--as do Tegan, Gabe, their friends and family, and the people encountered along the way. The story moves back and forth, before and after the accident and at different points in Tegan and Gabe's relationship and it all comes together seamlessly, serving to build an even deeper connection with the characters. I had some inkling of where the ending was heading but it added a whole other level of emotion. A touching book that shows the power of love, loss and healing. Wear your waterproof mascara and prepare to be swept away. 


Author Notes: Karma Brown is a National Magazine Award winning freelance writer and journalist, and a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. She lives just outside Toronto with her family and writes powerfully emotional upmarket women’s fiction, in the vein of Me Before You. COME AWAY WITH ME is her first novel. 

You can connect with Karma on her website, Twitter or Facebook.

With the wonderful locations in the book, it was easy to find food inspiration for a dish to pair with this book. Having spent some time in Thailand and loving Thai food, I thought about red curry and rice or a glass of Thai iced coffee. The poke, pineapple, banana bread, and 'Maui Wowie French Toast' mentions from Hawaii were also tempting of course. ;-) Taking a cooking class in Italy is a dream of mine and the tomato sauce, Eggplant Parmigiana, farmer's spaghetti, and lemony white fish with capers from Francesca's Cooking School had my mouth watering. The Italian cooking Gabe's mom did and his dad's Dutch Pancakes were also strong contenders. But, it was the description of Amalfi with its "...layered rows of lush, ripe lemon and olive trees as far as the eye can see" that pulled me in and started me thinking of lemon pasta.  

I keep meaning to make this simple Lemon Spaghetti recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. I think the liberal use of lemon juice and olive oil captures the spirit of Amalfi, and the fact that it is a quick dish with just five ingredients makes my lazy heart happy.

Lemon Spaghetti
Giada De Laurentiis via Food Network
(Serves 6)

1 lb spaghetti
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I used parsley)

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.

Notes/Results: Just a quick and easy pantry dinner that tastes like sunshine in your pasta bowl. Lemony, but balanced with the olive oil and slightly nutty from the Parmesan.I forgot to buy basil (bummer) but I had parsley on hand and it worked just fine. This goes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta and works as a side or could be a main dish too--you could easily add chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas to it for some protein. I will make it again.

This post is linking up to Potluck Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs--our chance to make any Jacques Pépin recipe, or any recipe from a previous IHCC chef, like Giada. You can see what recipes and which chefs that everyone cooked from by checking out the picture links on the post.    

Note: A review copy of "Come Away With Me" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.



  1. A dish that tastes the brightness of sunshine is so perfect for this time of year!

  2. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. Giada's recipe is always so rewarding! :)

  4. Light and lovely - that looks to be a perfect dish for a hot summer day.

  5. The Amalfi Coast is at the very top of my list! Your lemon spaghetti looks so fresh and delicious. I could enjoy it both hot and cold (if there were any leftovers).

    Sounds like a lovely book!


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