When Zondervan sent me Shauna Niequist's latest book to review, I was excited. I purchased her previous two books Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet after hearing her speak at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Convention in 2012.
Bread and Wine: A love letter to life around the table, her latest release, communicates the value of community and the way that food so often brings us together. De-emphasizing the importance of crafting the perfect meal, Niequist challenges the reader to make her table a place of love and relationships.
I really appreciate Niequist's honesty. She has a way of communicating the thoughts and feelings that I think a lot of us share as Christian women, wives, and mothers. She shares the good, the bad, and the ugly - the triumphs and the failures - including the fear of swimsuits and the love of a warm slice of homemade bread.
This collection of short essays and recipes blends in perfectly with Niequist's previous works. Some essays almost read like poetry. She has a beautiful way with words.
Bread and Wine would be a wonderful choice for a book club (or a dinner club/cooking club). The book is divided into four sections. Each section includes four recipes which can be used to create an entire meal (main course, sides, and dessert). I haven't had a chance to try out the recipes personally, but many of them look very good. I also REALLY appreciate that most of the recipes are gluten-free (or could easily be adapted). Niequist shares that her husband has a gluten intolerance, so she has learned how to prepare many gluten-free dishes. It was so nice to find that several of the recipes were adaptable to fit my own dietary restrictions.
My own copy of the book is marked with highlighter and notes. Many things struck a chord with me. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to others! Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
"She teaches me, through her words and her actions, that if you take the next right step, if you live a life of radical and honest prayer, if you allow yourself to be led by God's Spirit, no matter how far from home and familiarity it takes you, you won't have to worry about what you want to be when you grow up. You'll be busy living a life of passion and daring."
"But if the last few years have taught me anything at all, it's the very things you think you need most desperately are the things that can transform you the most profoundly when you do finally decide to release them."
I received an Advanced Reading Copy to faciliate the review.