Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Recipe for Love - Sasha Wagstaff

When Lindsay asked me to be a guest reviewer on her blog and offered me a choice of books, this one appealed immediately. Romance, food, mystery, Sorrento and Vegas – sounded perfect. But so often these books disappoint with their poor research, weak writing, namby pamby characters... but not this one! I loved it from the moment I entered the world of food writer Cassia Marini and chef and restauranteur Rocco Disanti, and it was a really nasty shock to the system being deposited back in my Yorkshire home and day-to-day life at the end.

Cassia Marini, daughter of a famous actress who has lost her way, writes for “Scrumptious” magazine and is planning her wedding to nice but boring lawyer Finn.  But when she gets the opportunity to do an up close and personal series on Rocco Disanto, the notoriously difficult restauranteur, with restaurants in Sorrento and London, and another to open in Las Vegas, she leaves her wedding planning to her mother-in-law and heads off to Italy.  She also sees it as an opportunity to research the background of her late father, the food writer Marco Marini. What happens in Italy won’t surprise anyone, but the subsidiary characters and story threads are what gives this story its depth, breadth and interest. Cassia’s mother, Diana, decides to abandon her dissolute lifestyle, dump her toyboys, and return to the stage in a searingly exposed role.  Finn’s mother, Grace, takes full advantage of Cassia’s absence to create the wedding she wants, blissfully ignoring the wishes of the couple. Meanwhile Cassia’s sister Jules has an ill-judged relationship with Finn’s tennis pro brother Dom.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Cassia gets to know Rocco’s family – his widowed grandmother Sofia and heart of the family, and model Aurelia (Rocco’s sister) planning her own wedding in Capri.  Overshadowing it all is a historic curse over the family, and the mystery around an orphaned child rescued from a landslide.  The threads and many characters converge for Aurelia’s wedding, and the ending is as feel-good as it should be, with all the threads beautifully tied together.

The whole book has a wonderful sense of place, and the food descriptions make this book one to avoid if you’re on a diet.  I loved every page – this book is in the best traditions of the likes of Jilly Cooper, but with a fresh modern twist. Pure escapism between two covers, and highly recommended for anyone who enjoys excellent storytelling that engages all the senses.

Reviewed by Anne Williams

Guest reviewer Anne Williams has kindly reviewed this novel for The Little Reader Library - many thanks to Anne for her lovely, enthusiastic review. Anne is an avid reader whose reviews I always enjoy reading and whose opinion I trust when choosing a book, and she is part of the ReadItSwapIt website..

Published by Headline Review

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel to read and review.

You can follow the author on twitter @SashaWagstaff  and visit her website here.


  1. Great review Anne and Lindsay.

    I like the sound of this one :)


    1. Thanks very much for reading and commenting Carol :)

  2. Sounds like a good read, thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.


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