This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
Four women, each at a crossroads in their life, seeking a new experience, book to spend two weeks at The Food of Love Cookery School in Sicily. Their passionate host and food guide, Luca Amore, assumes he is in store for the usual cooking, visiting vineyards, eating together and becoming friends before saying goodbye to the women who will return to their original lives with a heightened passion for Italian cooking. These women are going to bring more than the usual interest in food to the trip and all will take more than new cooking skills away.
This novel is a delicious combination of food and drama, with just the right amount of intrigue to hook the reader in and keep you guessing about the characters. The four women are all very different and all contribute something to the storyline. Valerie, having lost her extroverted husband, is looking for a way to feel young and enjoy life again. Moll, an enthusiastic food-blogger is hoping to capture as many experiences as she can before she returns to the reality of her life. Tricia is hoping to escape the negativity of her career as a divorce lawyer after it has seeped into other areas of her life, warping her view of relationships.
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Poppy receives the most focus from Pellegrino. Having just gone through a divorce and struggling to keep a business-only relationship with her ex-husband, she desperately needs to find a way to move on and Sicily, her grandfather’s childhood home, may prove to have the answers. All four women are likeable and provide an example of how people who are drastically different in terms of background and beliefs can enhance each other’s lives.
Luca seems distant at first and the reader is aware from the beginning that he is hiding a secret from his past that, if revealed, may alter our opinion of him. At first I assumed the secret would be something that Luca has blown out of proportion due to his attractive sensitivity and religious upbringing but when it was revealed, I found that it marred my experience of the book. It broke the suspension of reality that I enjoy when reading. Luca’s secret is linked to a real tragedy that occurred during my lifetime. For me, this did alter my perception of him. This could just be me being an over-involved reader, but I struggled to care as much as I did for his well-being before the secret was revealed. I felt it was unnecessary to include this link to reality and didn’t understand the decision to do so.
The ending wasn’t wrapped up neatly with a bow, leaving the reader guessing what would happen to some of the characters who were returning to potential difficult situations. I felt that the epilogue could have included more information on characters other than Luca and Poppy, as I felt a stronger attachment to some of them,
Overall, an enjoyable read that will leave you craving Sicilian cuisine.