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Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite
The Year of Soup by Howard Reiss was a wonderfully insightful read. Tess is relatively put out. After three jobs and as many failed loves, she's ready to break out of the habit that she's in. Starting a restaurant seems only natural, as she's always depended on her family recipes for soup to pull her out of her funks before. A loyal patron of her new restaurant, Beany, seems to be a constant figure when - out of the blue - he commits suicide. Confused and dismayed, Tess turns introspective about her own life and future through the help of the letters that Beany left behind.
As an English major, I think I could appreciate some of the more literary references from Tess of the d'Urbervilles and more. I particularly liked Beany, for all the small amount of screen time he got, and was very put out when he tragically passed. The subsequent stream of letters from him alternated between heart warming and heart wrenching. It all goes to show you how skilled Howard Reiss is at making characters seem real and lovable in the space of a few pages or paragraphs.
The Year of Soup is a hands-down, great read. I would recommend this book for anyone who loves mysteries, emotional fiction, and self-discovery because those are the prevailing elements here, time and time again. Howard Reiss is able to deftly weave story into sustenance and create a plot that is beautifully original without straying too far from classic themes of this sort of genre.