Margherita's recipes for love by Elisabetta Flumeri and Gabriella Giacometti

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Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471162695
(Age: 15+) Well, this is a delicious read, a feast for the senses. The writers almost dare us to not relish or enjoy the food, the convoluted love stories, the solving of issues of love, loyalty and friendship all set in the delightful towns and countryside of Italy. Flumeri and Giacometti have previously written radio programs, novels and a number of screenplays. In this novel, they focus on food and love that are depicted as inextricably linked, choosing an ideal setting that is a feast for all the senses, the adventures mostly taking place in the enticing, glorious green hills, vineyards, old homes of the small towns of Tuscany.
The story has a complexity that is used to build up the requisite tension, and the outcome, while perhaps predictable, is a satisfying one. However, it is not the characters who dominate this food-lovers' novel, but the food itself. Described in richly evocative phrases, food, in its powerful effect on the emotions and behaviour of the characters, is really the star of this story. Food dominates, and is used to create tension, to solve issues, to bring people together, be it for friendship, family issues, business or love. Descriptions of meals are passionately described, and we are persuaded to see how the particularly powerful, sexually arousing effects of dishes that persuade people to like, love, or indeed to disdain, others. Melodramatic it may be, but it is a happy, well-written and quite simply enjoyable book that brings a smile to the face and enjoyment not dissimilar to watching a good cookery program on television.
Elizabeth Bondar