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Recipe for Persuasion (2020)

de Sonali Dev

Sèrie: The Rajes (2)

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This is the second book in the The Rajes series – a retelling of the Jane Austen novels using an Indian-American royal family who have immigrated to the US. Although several of the characters reappear, this could work as a stand- alone as it focuses on different main characters.

Ashna Raje and Rico Silva were lovers in high school, united by their love of soccer and their feelings of being outsiders.

Ashna’s father vehemently opposed the friendship, and through a series of misunderstandings the two were separated.

Ten years later: Ash is now not very successfully running her father’s restaurant. Rico has earned international fame as a soccer star, but an injury has ended his career.

On a whim Rico looks up Ash on the internet and find she will be part of a cooking show pairing chefs with celebrities. Rico insists on joining the show with Ash as his partner.

Lots of yearning, missed cues, cooking mishaps, humor and, well, you can probably guess the ending.

Light, fuzzy feel-good romance.
  streamsong | Sep 25, 2021 |
CW: talk of past alcoholism, suicide and rape; ptsd and panic attacks

I have a thing for desi Jane Austen retellings, so as soon as I saw the announcement for this book, I knew I was going to read it. Second chance romance on the other hand is not my favorite trope, but because I knew how Persuasion turns, I thought I would love this one too. It didn’t end up working that way though.

The bare bones of the story is quite close to the original, but I was actually excited for the reality cooking show plotline which turned out to be just ok. The author’s writing is pretty descriptive in places which also didn’t really work for me. I liked the characters of Ashna and Rico individually and there was chemistry between them when they meet again, but we only are ever told and I never got to see why they were so deeply in love with each other even after more than a decade. Ashna’s mother Shobi is the other POV we get and my feelings for her kept oscillating between like and hate. I really wanted to like and root for the characters, but their pasts are so full of tragedy that it just depressed me. To be honest, I only kept waiting for them to get their act together and finally be happy because I couldn’t bear how much they were wallowing in their misery.

On the whole, maybe I read this book at the wrong time or I just had wrong expectations, because despite being objectively well written, I didn’t enjoy it much. If you are in the mood for a contemporary romcom which will make you swoon or smile, this is definitely not it. It’s more tragic and sad for the most part, and I just wasn’t ready for it. But maybe it’ll work for for you if you go in with the right expectations. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Packs A Ton Into Final Moments. The first 90% of this book is solid. Lots of drama over all kinds of secrets and misunderstandings, primarily between a couple that split over a decade ago and finds themselves thrust together when one of them decides to force their way into the other's life. But also lots of intergenerational drama between a mother and her daughter. But then that last 10% or so of the book... wow. If you like the various cooking reality shows, you're going to like this book from that angle, but there really is so much more here. Solid use of the old English source material (Jane Austen) brought into more modern contexts and even a much different specific cultural background... and then bringing even that background into yet another more modern setting. Long at nearly 500 pages, but never overly feels it. Very much recommended. ( )
  BookAnonJeff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
The "Persuasion" in the title refers to Jane Austen's Persuasion, as the conceit of this series is that each book in it features Indian American authors living a romance loosely tied to a Jane Austen plot. I didn't find as much similarity as I expected with Austen's work, although there were a few - the reentry into the heroine's life by an old love, a father who wouldn't have been particularly happy with the romance - although in Austen's work, the father is very much alive to disapprove, and in this work, he has been dead for quite some time. I had also thought that Wentworth was much older than Anne, in Persuasion, but it turns out that they were only four years apart. However, Ashna and Rico, our couple in Dev's work, are even closer in age.

Ashna owns a restaurant, which she has inherited from her father, a prince who moved to America and became a chef, making somewhat uninspired food, but coasting on his notoriety, as though Harry and Meghan had decided to take up cooking. Ashna was a soccer player in school, where her real passion lay, but her father wanted her to continue the family business, so when he died unexpectedly, she went to culinary school, breaking up with her boyfriend in a 19th century way - the kind where you unexpectedly cut contact, leaving the crucial things unsaid that would resolve the entire issue in the relationship. Her boyfriend, Rico, went on to become a soccer star, and they meet again when they are paired up on a Celebrity Masterchef-type show that Ashna enters as a way to save her failing restaurant.

If you like fluffy romantic comedies, the kind that were big in the '90s and 2000's, but seem to be straight to Netflix now (and I do like them, I think that's a shame - but it is the way the world has gone), this book is up your alley. The characters are sweet, and it will leave you craving Indian food and possibly some tea, after all the culinary descriptions. ( )
  AnnieHidalgo | Mar 28, 2021 |
This is the second book I've read by this author, and probably my last. I read A Distant Heart which I thought was okay but not great. That one is about a girl with a serious physical illness; this one is about a girl who needs counseling. Okay, it never says that in the story, but Ashni definitely needed to talk to a professional after the childhood she had.
The book is supposedly based on Persuasion by Jane Austen, but it really isn't even close to that story. Persuasion happens to be my favorite of Austen's books, and I also have read a lot of the various fanfic versions of her books. Like the other book by Ms. Dev that I've read, it's a very serious read. This one deals with alcoholism, marital rape, child abuse (mental), male patriarchy, and dysfunctional families. It is not especially romantic but more of a women's lit book.
Rico, the hero and famous soccer star, is all right, and some of the more minor characters seem okay, but Ashna is a horror as well as her mother and father. Why Rico is so determined to get involved with them again never made sense to me. There's was a high school romance but he should have moved on ten or more years later. She treated him pretty badly bad then and still does for most of the book.
Anyway, it's a depressing story that mixes in a lot of stuff. There are no surprises; every event is blatantly telegraphed to the reader (not to give any spoilers, but did anyone not get the constant blending of teas or the resolution to the political campaign?).
Anyway, that's the last book by this author I'll read. Definitely not for me. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Mar 12, 2021 |
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For Aie and Baba for disregarding the "in-law" in daughter-in-law from the very start, but more importantly for doing away with all the patriarchal nonsense that goes with it. Without your unconditional love and support this journey would not be half as joyful.
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Ashna Raje couldn't remember the last time her restaurant had thirty occupied tables.
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813.6 — Literature American and Canadian American fiction 21st Century

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