A perfect recipe for romance, heat and sweetness
I’ve never heard of this author before but this book came recommended by my friend and co-reviewer Jude from judeinthestars.com and features Natalie Naudus, one of my favorite narrators. Plus, it’s available in Scribd, so it’s risk-free. I’m glad that I’ve given it a try as it was a very good listen.
Amy Chamber’s restaurant is in trouble and she decides to hire Sophie Brunet, a former reality-show finalist, as head chef hoping her celebrity status and skills will bring a solution to her financial woes. Sophie Brunet just wants to cook and forget her reality-tv past but a new foodie tv show might provide exposure to save Amy’s restaurant. If only both women could stop fighting and ignore the mutual attraction simmering between them…
The Romance Recipe is book two, following after Hot Copy which is an m/f romance featuring Amy’s brother Wesley. Even though Wesley plays an important role in this novel, these are stand-alone stories so there’s no issue if you choose to skip book one as I did.
This is an enemies-to-lovers story, or at least, both characters have strong convictions on how to run a restaurant and kitchen and have trouble finding common ground. They are also very attracted to each other. When all that repressed tension inevitably explodes, sparks fly and the sizzling chemistry between them is super hot. Ruby Barrett knows how to exploit this and writes a series of very steamy sex scenes.
Food is the other essential ingredient in the plot (sorry for the bad pun). As with the romance part, the author knows how to make use of the sensuality of food. As a matter of fact, her description of the culinary art – in Amy’s words – is fantastic and sets the tone for the character’s admiration and feelings for Sophie:
Food is a biological necessity, it’s breathing, but within that basic human need is art. Unlike paintings and sculptures, literature or music, we get to consume this art and Sophie’s art melts on my tongue. I get to tear it with my teeth. Food is visceral and pleasurable and I’m not bragging when I say I am a good cook but that’s like saying I draw well and Sophie painted the Sixtine Chapel.
Amy is a hard-to-like character, she’s grumpy and hard-headed, but her journey of growth and redemption is a pleasure to follow.
Sophie’s journey, on the other hand, isn’t easier either. She’s reconciling with her recent discovery of being bisexual, her coming out which destroyed her relationship with her former fiancé, and her romantic feelings for Amy. All of these emotions simmer inside her and she sometimes doesn’t know how to handle them. Her coming out scene with her mother is very relatable to anyone who’s been in a similar situation.
The book is written from both characters’ points of view in alternate chapters. The audiobook version features two narrators: Natalie Naudus who performs Amy’s point of view and Chelsea Stephens who reads Sophie’s. I’m normally not a fan of two narrators but these two have a similar quality to their voices which made the transition between chapters effortless. Once again, Natalie Naudus shows the difference between reading and performing a story, absolutely fantastic.
If you are looking for a steamy romance with a very good narration, this one is for you. 4.5 stars.
Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins