Monday, 14 May 2012

Books Read: Sasha Wagstaff - Recipe for Love

Source - Received from publisher to review

Summer in a luxurious Italian villa should be a taste of heaven, shouldn't it?

Talented, passionate and notoriously private, Italian chef Rocco Disanti never talks to journalists. So when he grants Cassia Marini's magazine an exclusive, all-access interview in Sorrento, providing her with the chance to learn about her beloved late father's Italian heritage as well, Cassia can't refuse - even if it means handing over the planning of her upcoming wedding to her frost mother-in-law.

But Rocco isn't thrilled by Cassia's arrival. Persuaded to do the interview to help publicise his business, he has enough on his plate with his fiery girlfriend, wedding-obsessed sister and fiercely protective grandmother. And now it seems as if someone is trying to sabotage his restaurants too... 

Cassia's summer in Sorrento is shaping up to be a recipe for disaster. But could it also be a recipe for love?

Wow I thought that Sasha's last book, Heaven Scent, was her best to date but this one has far and away exceeded my expectations.  I was hooked from the start and read it in just a couple of sittings.

Cassia is a food-writer, working for an online magazine, who is asked by her boss to go to Sorrento to interview renowned chef Rocco Disanti.  She'll be granted full access to his everyday life of running his successful business - warts and all.   What surprises Rocco most is that he agreed to this in the first place, as he doesn't normally grant interviews, but was talked into it by his family as publicity for the launch of his new restaurant in Vegas.

Meanwhile Cassia also has her own reasons to not wanting to do the interview at this time, she should be making arrangements for her forthcoming wedding to fiance Finn.  She's told her future mother-in-law, Grace, that she wants a quiet low-key affair but somehow she knows that's not what she's going to get but as she cannot be in two places at once she'll have to hope for the best.

Rocco's family welcome Cassia with open arms and it's soon clear to her that the whole family depend on Rocco, he's carrying the majority of the burden of running the business on his shoulders which has meant him stepping away from his beloved kitchen.  Can he manage to strike a balance in the business which will enable him to cook again, it's looking extremely unlikely when it looks like someone is trying to sabotage them.

Throughout the book you are drawn into the romantic setting of Sorrento and and we get to meet and delve into the lives of the three main families; Rocco's, Cassia's and Finn's.  Although there are quite a lot of characters catered for within these families, with each having their own dramas, it doesn't actually feel too much which is a sign of extremely good writing.

Warning though do not read this book if you're dieting or hungry as it will make you crave the delicious Italian food being described in exotic detail, here's a taster of what you can expect "Torta alla noce e cioccolato is a deliciously rich Sicilian cake with nuts and chocolate, it has a luscious buttery pastry base that melts in the mouth and a fluffy, vanilla-drenched sponge layer that oozes flavour."  See what I mean!

I'd like to thank Sasha's publishers, Headline, for sending me a proof copy of this book to review.   When's the next book out Sasha?  I hope I don't have too long to wait...

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