The Romance Recipe
The trouble with The Romance Recipe is that I felt like our heroines really didn’t like each other much. They wanted to have sex, sure, but it took more than half the book for me to believe that they had anything resembling an out-of-bed future together.
Amy Chambers has just opened her first restaurant, and things are not going well. She just lost her line cook, her head chef quit to be a sous chef at a more prestigious place, and people are hassling her over her reservation policy. Amy would do just about anything to reverse the curse plaguing her restaurant – including hiring Sophie Brunet.
Sophie has taken up weightlifting, putting her cooking career on the backburner after appearing in the reality show Pop-Up Kitchen, on which she became a finalist. Her relationship with fellow contestant Paul imploded in the wake of the show’s conclusion, and everything about the experience has pushed her away from being a chef. She takes up Amy’s desperate request for a chef because she loves to cook, and all she wants to do IS cook, without the weight of being a celebrity chef on her shoulders.
Amy and Sophie already have an antagonistic relationship, but in the kitchen they’re like oil and water. The trouble is they’re also deeply attracted to each other. What will win out – the burning bread in the air or their lust for one another?
Amy and Sophie are attracted to each other physically, and they like the food the other cooks, but their level of conflict is so high and so strong that I couldn’t believe they had gotten over their antagonism by the time the HEA rolled around. That’s a shame; I liked Sophie, who’s trying hard to scrape her life back together after the TV world smashed it down, and Amy, who’s determined to prove herself as a restaurant owner, though she often comes off as quite inflexible. But they fight non-stop – all the way to the end of the book. Is this romance, or lust?
Maybe it’s both, but in spite of their obvious concern for each other I’m not convinced it’s real love. On the other hand, Barrett creates a very realistic world of chefs and cooking that drew and held my attention. And I really loved the complicated relationship Sophie has with her parents.
But overall, The Romance Recipe was a little too light on romance to keep me happy.
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier