Sonali Dev was a new to my author when I read her Pride and Prejudice retelling, Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors, last year.
I was thrilled to see that she would continue the story of the Rajes family and do a retelling of my favorite Austen novel, Persuasion. Dev has a great sense of humor and a way of capturing difficult family issues and difficult sibling relationships but yet keeps her focus on the romance at hand. So basically, I couldn’t wait to reacquaint myself with the Rajes and start this one.
One of the things that makes Persuasion so great for me is that it’s a second chance romance and I was so excited to see how that unfolded in this book, not to mention all the food in this book. Sign me up!
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. (summary from Goodreads)
One reviewer really hit the nail on the head about why Persuasion is the ultimate Austen classic that will never go out of style. She points out that some of the most important parts of P&P just don’t translate well because they are no longer relevant to modern audiences such as the importance of marriage and wealth. But with Persuasion, we have a timeless tale….the one who got away. This person’s review really made a lot of sense to me when I thought about why I loved this retelling more than the P&P retelling that Dev did last year.
While I enjoyed Dev’s P&P book last year, I found that I immediately fell in love with this one from the get go where as the P&P book, it took me a little while to connect and relate to some of the characters. But with this one, I absolutely loved Ashna and Rico’s romance and thought that it stole the show. While this book is marketed as a retelling, I think it has it’s own unique voice and approach to be considered an Austen influenced book rather than a full-fledged retelling.
There is also a lot of family dynamics and issues in this book. There is a difficult relationship with Ashna’s mother and lots of other issues to unpack in the family situation so this is far from a fluffy book. There are some things in the book that could be considered triggers (I will leave it at that) so consider yourself warned. But at the end of the day, the romance is what takes center stage in this one and what redeemed the book for me.
In the end, I found that I really enjoyed this one and was thrilled with the final outcome and ending. There were some darker moments in this book that I wasn’t exactly expecting but in the end the romance made me love this one. The chemistry between Rico and Ashna was executed wonderfully and I couldn’t wait to see how they came together. If you are looking for a spicy and modern second chance romance worthy of an Austen nod then this is going to be one you want to check out!