Chef Ashna Raje is struggling to keep her restaurant open when her cousin approaches her to fill in as a celebrity chef on a new reality show called Cooking With The Stars. Ashna loves her cousin, but her panic attacks make starring on this show an impossibility. It isn’t until her mother, whom she has a difficult relationship, tries to get her to come to India and Ashna uses the reality show as an excuse that she makes the commitment, for better or worse. The first day of filming is when she meets the celebrity she gets paired with…. her secret high school boyfriend, FIFA winning soccer star, Rico Silva. When their meeting goes viral they become immediate fan favorites and are almost guaranteed a place in the final. Recipe for Persuasion is a rom-com loosely based upon Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, and as with that original plot, this book has fun dialog, dramatic misunderstandings, and a joyful union.
Recipe for Persuasion is the first novel I’ve read by Sonali Dev and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed her writing style. She enwraps her main character Ashna with the flavors of her culture and boy, all of the dishes they cook really made me want to run out and stock up on my Indian and South American spices. Not only is the story filled with the color and flavor of Ashna and Rico’s cultures but their language and life experiences also helped make this story unique.
The use of flashbacks into Rico and Ash’s love story as well as Ashna’s mother Shobi’s own relationship with Ashna’s father could have been confusing but instead created emotions that really helped tie the two stories together. Not only does the love story play out, but Ashna’s conflicted feelings for her mother and father are explained and when the story concludes, despite previous misgivings, you feel like her character can finally be happy.
As with most Jane Austen re-tellings miscommunication and misdirection play a big part in how the heroine acts and reacts during the story. This novel used those same tools but you really had the feeling that Ashna wanted to work on the why’s and wherefore’s which made me like her character a lot more than I did many of Jane Austen’s. Also, the peak into why her relationship with her mother fell apart was a lot more than Ms. Austen gave her readers and was most likely why I connected with Ashna in a way I couldn’t with Jane Austen’s heroines. If you like your senses overwhelmed by the cultures of other lands and you like your stories filled with emotional growth then I think you should read this novel. Yes, it’s a rom-com, of sorts, but it’s also deftly written and you may be surprised at the emotions the story brings forth as I was. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
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