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The topic of this month is Random Pick (a built-in off-theme month - go where your mood takes you!)
Genre: Historical / 1882-1892
My Rating: 4 stars
It’s been difficult to choose a romance novel this month. The theme couldn’t be greater –just whatever you feel like reading. The problem is that I usually read and review books a month before it’s published on my blog. So I had to make my decision in August, in the middle of a very hot summer. I spend summer months reading Literature and non-fiction, so I just didn’t feel like reading a romance novel.
But then something happened.
A reader of my blog asked me about romance novels with older couples. And I remembered just a few novels. Then I went to several web pages to look for lists of this trope. And while I was making that list –I even published a post about it- a novel was mentioned once and again– ‘Delicious’ by Sherry Thomas.
I remembered that I had that novel in my kindle, and I felt like reading it. Thus, among very different books, I read this one. And it was a treat.
The story is told, from a great part of the novel in two times, alternating chapters, as it’s usual in Sherry Thomas. So little by little you have clues about what happened.
A wealthy gentleman dies, and his properties go to his brother Stuart Somerset. Soon he discovers that he has also inherited a wonderful cook, a mysterious French woman called Verity Durant who seduces him through her amazing cuisine.
What he doesn’t know is that she is the same woman that had a one-night-stand with him, and then disappeared with no further notice. He’s been longing for her for a decade. And she also loves the fond memory of him.
But the reasons why they could not be together in the past are still the same today. Both of them have their secrets. She’s from a good family, but she left the family home when she was a pregnant teenager. The son has been adopted by a family. And she has made a name for herself as a cook. And rather notorious, as well, as everybody knows that she was her employer’s lover.
Stuart Somerset, on the other hand, has very humble origins. Now is a rising political star, so everything in his life has got to be perfect. He is betrothed to a younger lady from a noble family, who will help him in his political career.
I loved this book, I couldn’t stop reading it until I finished. What a wonderful way of telling a story! There is a lot of sexual desire, and longing from one another for a great part of the book. And the meals... OMG. It reminded me a little bit of two great cooks in fiction. First, Laura Esquivel’s novel Como agua para chocolate [Like Water for Chocolate, 1989] in which a girl that cannot have the man she wants, expresses her feelings through the meals she makes. But there’s a difference, of course, in Delicious there’s a happy ending and the food conveys usually just one feeling –desire, wanting, passion. It also reminded me of a Danish movie, Babettes gæstebud [Babette’s Feast, 1987], that was based on a story written by Isak Dinesen in the 1950s. In this movie, a French cook makes a very tempting meal for a rather pious and austere Protestant Danish community.
It would have been a perfect 5 stars book if not for a couple of things. For the majority of the book, Stuart does not see Verity’s face. The author did not allow her to recognize his former lover, because otherwise the book would have ended before. I think this was something very tricky that was maintained through really strange ways and rather implausible scenes. And then the second thing is that the story was solved in a very melodramatic way for my taste.
But it was one of the best romance novels I’ve read lately. And I do wholeheartedly recommend it.