If you could invite any five people—dead or alive—to dinner, who would you choose?
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As someone who has watched Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s more times than I can count, I was immediately sucked into The Dinner List, which is about a normal woman who shows up to dinner only to find Audrey Hepburn, snifter of scotch in hand, sitting at the table. The premise of the book is brilliant: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would you choose? What would you uncover in that one night?
The story takes place all in one night, at a birthday party for Sabrina (note the namesake here) that four notable people from her past—along with Audrey—attend. It also takes place across an entire decade-long relationship between Sabrina and the great love of her life, Tobias. In one chapter, we’re placed in this mystical dinner setting, and in the next, we’re being fed pieces of their relationship that leave you questioning—what happened between them? We learn not just about Sabrina’s relationship with Tobias, but also about her more strained connections with her father, Robert, as well as with her best friend, Jessica. There’s also a wise and eccentric professor from her college days, oh, and did I mention Audrey Hepburn?
The Dinner List made me swoon, dream, and wonder. While wrapped up in the book, I almost felt as if this too could happen to me. That one night I might wind up at dinner with people who I’ve loved and lost, and finally get a chance to say what I always wished I had said before.
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 30th 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.