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Delicious!: A Novel Audiobook, by Ruth Reichl Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ruth Reichl Narrator: Julia Whelan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2014 ISBN: 9780385393454
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Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York. But when the publication is suddenly shut down, the colorful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine’s deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the “Delicious Guarantee”—a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries—until further notice. What she doesn’t know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.

Delicious! carries the reader to the colorful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors, and from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine’s library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu’s letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history and the history of food. But most importantly, Lulu’s courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues—the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love.

In her bestselling memoirs, Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us. This theme once more comes to light in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.

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Quotes & Awards

  • • "Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it...Reichl makes the reader feel present with her, sharing her experience. The Washington Post Book World 
  • “Reichl’s compulsively readable novel is a treat for anyone who loves a warm, character-packed tale—a delectable mix of flavor, fantasy, and emotional comfort food.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • • "[Ruth Reichl is] the culinary scene queen...the most influential food person in America today. National Post 
  • • " all around role model to food critics everywhere. The Toronto Star 
  • • "An absolute delight to lucky we are that [Reichl] has the courage to follow her appetite. Newsday 
  • • "[Reichl] is fair-minded, brave, and a wonderful writer. The New York Times Book Review
  • “This savory feast of a first novel blends the rich gifts that readers of Reichl’s memoirs and food writing have come to expect. To a tantalizing coming-of-age story about a budding chef and journalist she adds a bittersweet tale of separated sisters.”


  • “Drawing amply on her years as editor of Gourmet, Ruth Reichl’s fiction debut, Delicious!, follows a perfect-palated aspiring young journalist to her new job at an iconic New York food magazine, where she uncovers a mysterious trove of James Beard’s wartime correspondence—and learns how intimately food and legacy are intertwined.”


  • “Its title strikes me as perfectly apt…The novel presents a whole passel of surprises: a puzzle to solve, a secret room, hidden letters, the legacy of James Beard, and a parallel, equally plucky heroine from the past, who also happens to be a culinary prodigy.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Reichl’s vivid descriptions of food will have readers salivating, and an insider’s look at life at a food magazine is fascinating. Her satisfying coming-of-age novel of love and loss vividly demonstrates the power of food to connect people across cultures and generations.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “In the search for each letter and the young letter writer herself, Billie finds a purpose and a heroine and gathers the courage to face the past she’s running from. There is indeed a secret readers may quickly guess behind Billie’s fear of the kitchen, but Reichl fills her plump novel with plenty—rich characterization, a bright New York setting, transcendent discussions of taste and food—to distract from predictability.”


  • “Audiobook listeners enamored with former New York Times restaurant critic and food editor Ruth Reichl’s nonfiction works are in for a treat. Her fiction debut features delectable descriptions of foods and spices, embedded in the story of Billie Breslin’s discerning palate. Narrator Julia Whelan gamely matches Billie’s culinary adventures with a hearty range of voices and a myriad of accents to match the diversity of New York City, where Billie lands a job with an iconic food magazine. Her culinary explorations delve into ethnic-ingredient sourcing, ancestral recipes, chef and restaurateur encounters, artisanal purveyors of amazing tastes, and a cache of old letters linked to a legendary chef.”


  • “Tragedy, war, fairy-tale makeover, trauma resolution, romance and—of course—food are just some of the ingredients in dining critic and celebrated memoirist Reichl’ first novel.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller
  • One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books, May 2014
  • A Los Angeles Times bestseller
  • A BookPage Top Pick, May 2014
  • A May 2014 LibraryReads Pick

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About the Author

Ruth Reichl is the bestselling author of the memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples and the novel Delicious! She was editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years. She lives in New York City with her husband, son, and two cats.

About the Narrator

Julia Whelan, winner of numerous Earphones Awards, won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Romance Narration in 2013 and has also been a finalist for an Audie Award in other years. She was named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of 2010, and two of her audio narrations were shortlisted for the American Library Association’s notable recordings of 2010. Her narration of Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere earned a place in the first round of 2011 Grammy nominations for Best Spoken Word Album. She is a former child actor who has appeared in multiple films and television shows, most notably ABC’s Once and Again. After receiving her college degree, she returned to the film industry and is also a writer.