By: Sonali Dev
Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?
Rico Silva, that’s what.
Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.
FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.
But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico. Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…?
In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy.
I thought I’d start this review with a disclaimer. I have not read Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice and Emma and loved them. I have every intention of reading Persuasion. I just haven’t gotten to it yet—one day. So I have no idea how closely Recipe for Persuasion follows the book that inspired it.
Recipe for Persuasion was lack of communication the book. Whenever anyone talked to each other, they were vague, or they just walked away when things got uncomfortable, or they got frustrated that they weren’t being understood. That was literally the entire conflict behind the book. If any of the three characters had sat down and had a straightforward conversation, things would have been solved in a quarter of the time.
Ashna, the heroine, is a giant ball of anxiety and possibly obsessive-compulsive disorder. She cannot cook anything but the food her father cooked. If she does, she passes out or has a crippling anxiety attack. She cleans obsessively, especially when she’s feeling stressed. She bottles up all of her negative emotions and is basically half a person. Her family has tried to help her with yoga and breathing exercises, but seeking professional help is only mentioned once, in passing, as something she did after a traumatic event. She could have really, really used someone to talk through her problems.
Rico, the love interest, is super attractive, the most successful soccer/football star on the planet, and recently retired after a knee injury. He’s succeeded at everything he wanted, except being with Ashna. Of course, there was a huge misunderstanding between them, and twelve years have passed with no communication between them.
Shobi , Ashna’s mother, is the third person who’s story is told. She has been an absentee parent, leaving her only child with a father she knew was unfit. She comforted herself with the knowledge that it was actually Ashna’s aunt and uncle raising her. Still, she focused on her career and not her child. There is more to the story, of course, but she doesn’t reveal everything to Ashna, preferring to try to make Ashna love her without relevant knowledge to explain her actions.
My least favorite trope is lack of communication. Sometimes it’s acceptable, but I don’t like it when it’s the only source of conflict. Recipe for Persuasion was wonderfully written, but it was not for me.
Side Note: The blurb, in several places, has outright lies. I won’t point them out because I don’t want to spoil, but this is not a light hearted, humorous book, at all.