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The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

Like the summer peaches on the cover, the love story in The Cookbook Collector ripens slowly. The Cookbook Collector is the story of two sisters, Emily and Jess — East Coast transplants to California whose mother died young, and whose father remarried and started a new family and whom they fly back to Massachusetts to visit occasionally.
Emily, the older sister, is a financial wizard heading up Veritech, a successful Silicon Valley start-up, and Jess, the younger sister, is a dreamy, bookish, philosophy student at Berkeley. The novel is set in the late 1990s’ boom time, before the 2000 dot-com collapse, when young people just out of college owned tech stock that suddenly made them millionaires. While relating the ups and downs of the young women’s work lives and romantic entanglements, the novel captures this time period for a segment of American society perfectly: the heady, guilty feeling of being rich, the sense of missing out by older people who weren’t part of it, the disbelief when the stock market began to crash, the shock of 9/11.
The two different sisters make different choices in life and love. Not always good ones. Emily, as CEO for a tech start-up, is a woman in a world dominated by men, but so is Jess, working for a rare book dealer. The author dwells on the time-consuming minutiae of these two fields, giving readers an inside look at them and at women and men trying to balance demands of career and family/personal relationships.
The men in The Cookbook Collector are also fully fleshed-out characters. Imperfect creatures, but – as required by the conventions of a love story – they are also as handsome as the sisters are beautiful. And they are rich. As rich as Mr. Darcy (in U.S. dollars and adjusted for inflation), which is always nice in a love story.

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