Just a Taste
Deirdre Martin’s sequel to Fair Play is delightfully funny and entertaining.
Anthony Dante, Ant to his loved ones, is part owner and head chef of Dante’s, the place to go for sumptuous Italian food. When we first meet Ant, he is at the cemetery visiting the grave of his late wife Angela, a police officer who died in the line of duty the year before. If you’ve read Fair Play, you will remember Angela as a wonderful woman who loved Ant as much as he loved her. It would take an incredible woman to replace her in Ant’s heart. And so, mere pages into the book I was intrigued, excited to see who could be the woman who would make Ant fall in love again.
In comes Vivi Robitaille, a French émigré who is opening a French bistro across the street from Dante’s. Needless to say, Ant is not pleased about this since he thinks Vivi will be his competition, Within moments of meeting each other, the sparks fly. They are immediately attracted to each other. Vivi, confident that she has met her soul mate, has no problem expressing how she feels for Ant. Ant, on the other hand feels that in loving Vivi he is betraying his late wife. The romance builds slowly, yet still passionately, in the kitchen, and out of it.
Ms. Martin does a terrific job in writing dynamic characters you will come to know intimately and care for. Ant is a great guy, devoted to his restaurant and his family – and mourning the loss of his late wife. Vivi is a vibrant, lively, beautiful woman who comes into his life and makes him fall in love again. Even the secondary characters are rich. Michael, Ant’s younger brother (hero of the earlier book), and Rocco, Dante’s maitre d, made me laugh several times throughout the book. The well-developed characters draw you into the plot. I enjoyed the richness of how they were depicted. It’s evident that author loves her characters and cares about them.
At times the romance genre can be transparent, but the genius of the writing occurs when the transparency does not dilute the potency of the story and keeps you turning the pages even though you know how it ends. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enthusiastically recommend it, and anxiously await future books by Ms. Martin.