This post may contain affiliate links. For more info on this, visit my disclosure page. Thank you for your support in this way!

The Dinner List Review: Back-of-Book Description

Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, Rebecca Serle’s The Dinner List is a romance for our times. Bon appetit!

“I have five words for Rebecca Serle’s The Dinner List: wistful, delicious, romantic, magical, love.”
―Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Young Jane Young

“We’ve been waiting for an hour.” That’s what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That’s the thing I think first. Not: Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner, but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.”

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends with in her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day, and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.

When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.

 
The Dinner List Review: My Thoughts

So, some of you may remember a while back I read an amazing book that I raved about – In Five Years (catch the review here) – well! I told my friend all about it, she read it and loved it, of course, then realized she had another book by the same author. So that is how I came to read this book

Because of how much I loved the first Rebecca Serle book I read, I had impossibly high standards for The Dinner List.

I was pleasantly charmed to find that this book was just as lovely as the other I’d read. While it didn’t grip me and make me cry quite as many times as the other one, it was still really unique and interesting. And it certainly towed that beautiful line between sad and hopeful. 

The premise on the whole is super cool and relateable – I mean who hasn’t been asked the 5 people they would invite to dinner?! And then the way the author executed it was just wonderful. She made her own characters feel real and relatable while bringing life to the iconic Audrey Hepburn.

The settings feel easy and readily imaginable, especially the dinner place. The main couple of characters felt real and fully rounded to me, including the friendship and romantic relationship aspects. I think the author really thought through the reasons people drift apart or fight. And the dialogue felt smooth and natural, which I always appreciate. 

There was a really interesting and personally resonating plot point for me; the relationship between the main character and her father. In my opinion, it seemed like maybe the most significant one of the whole story. I think anyone with a distant relationship with a parent would appreciate it. 

On the whole, I think it was a really well-written story with a whole lot of remarkable, stand-out quotes. 

Favorite Quotes from The Dinner List

“The mere act of taking a chance, of changing, is by definition an act of evolution. And when we evolve, we grow. And that’s the point.”

“When someone leaves, remembering the joy is far more painful than thinking about the misery.”

“You cannot have good without evil…They are like DNA strands. Intricately and irrevocably spun together. Sometimes good wins, sometimes evil wins. We do not fight for good’s permanent triumph, but for the balance.”

“We are taught that honesty is the most important quality. Tell the truth. Do not lie. Etc. But there are so many instances when honesty isn’t kind. When the kinder thing to do is to keep what you have to say to yourself.”

“Love is still the answer…It’s the questions that stop mattering so much.”

“If there was a fight, we could make up, apologize, recover. But you can’t say sorry for a slow dissolve.”

“[He] is looking at me with what I can only describe as love. Nervous love, timid love, love that does not know its place or where or how it will be received – but love all the same. And I think that maybe that’s enough.”

“That’s the thing about life – these moments that define us emerge out of nothing. A missed call. A trip down the stairs. A car accident. They happen in a moment, a breath.”

“I couldn’t fix it. It’s strange the tricks adrenaline plays on you. The need to fix, to rectify. In the moment of impact we think it’s possible to go back. We’re so close to the previous minute; how hard would it be to just turn back the clock? To quickly undo what has just been done?”

In Conclusion

I’m going to say 4.5 stars for The Dinner List. It was a beautiful, unique story with interesting characters. I enjoyed every part of it except I was not thrilled with the ending. It just felt a little like I needed more. But I know that the end of the other book of hers I read – In Five Years – had a lot of mixed reviews about the ending. So maybe that’s the author’s ‘thing” – endings that create discussion?

In any case! This was a really good book and I would definitely recommend it to all kinds of people – people looking for stories of life and friendships, family, even some romance. It would absolutely make a great gift to people who like to read.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this review of The Dinner List – feel free to share! Check out other book reviews here and pin your favorite quotes below. 

“The mere act of taking a chance, of changing, is by definition an act of evolution. And when we evolve, we grow. And that’s the point.”
“We are taught that honesty is the most important quality. Tell the truth. Do not lie. Etc. But there are so many instances when honesty isn’t kind. When the kinder thing to do is to keep what you have to say to yourself.”
“When someone leaves, remembering the joy is far more painful than thinking about the misery.”
“You cannot have good without evil…They are like DNA strands. Intricately and irrevocably spun together. Sometimes good wins, sometimes evil wins. We do not fight for good’s permanent triumph, but for the balance.”
"Love is still the answer…It’s the questions that stop mattering so much.”
"It’s strange the tricks adrenaline plays on you. The need to fix, to rectify. In the moment of impact we think it’s possible to go back. We’re so close to the previous minute; how hard would it be to just turn back the clock? To quickly undo what has just been done?”
root directorygoogle.com, pub-8788340469212886, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0