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La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  1,760 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Since childhood, Rosa Fiore -- daughter of a sultry Sicilian matriarch and her hapless husband -- found solace in her family's kitchen. La Cucina, the heart of the family's lush estate, was a place where generations of Fiore women prepared sumptuous feasts and where the drama of extended family life was played out around the age-old table.

When Rosa was a teenager, her own
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 7th 2000 by Harper (first published 2000)
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Darth J
Apr 01, 2013 Darth J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

Okay guys, remember all the hype surrounding Eat, Pray, Love - about how it was all about the food and the celebration of being your own person? And then you read it and found it to be a pretty vapid and pretentious travelogue? Well, then La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture might actually satisfy you if you are looking for something similar to what was promised with that other book.

Not only are there a ton of mouth-watering descriptions of Sicilian cooking, but the prose is actually scrumptio
Apr 23, 2008 Rosie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I felt like I needed to include a book I didn't like. I really, really, really disliked this book. The author peppers the story with Italian words, but never really captures Italian culture. She resorts to some tired stereotypes - the ignorant peasant girl, the possessive father who uses the words "dishonor" and "puttana" way too much, the fat middle-aged woman, the Mafia taking out a foreigner, etc. This left me cold. I couldn't sympathize with the characters because they were so two-dimensiona ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Sve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Слаба ракия като цяло. Нещо като смесица между "50 нюанса сиво" и "Като гореща вода за шоколад".
Изключително дразнещо е че книгата е пълна с грешки - не е минавала през редактор и коректор.
Jul 24, 2014 Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title - La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture

Author - Lily Prior

Summary -

This is the tale of Rosa Fiore, a peasant Sicilian girl who grows up in a passionate household and who in her way finds her own passions. From the men she loves to the cooking she does.
Rosa's family has always been suspect in her small village. Her mother's powerful and lustful ways the stuff of much gossip. Until the birth of her brothers, Siamese twins, proof of her mother's wickedness the gossip was always in whispers.
For Ro
Aug 25, 2008 Tanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La Cucina se passe au début du 20e siècle. C’est l’histoire de Rosa, une jeune italienne qui adore faire la cuisine. Elle soulage ses inquiétudes, ses joies, ses colères etc. en faisant à manger pour sa famille et elle-même. Lorsque son amoureux est assassiné, elle quitte sa campagne natale pour aller vivre sa vie en ville. Elle y passera près de 25 ans de sa vie comme bibliothécaire. À l’aube de ses 25 ans de service, elle rencontre un étranger avec lequel s’ensuivra une relation myst
May 02, 2009 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun and racy read! The lead character, Rosa, is easy to fall in love with. I found myself in my own daydreams that included the wonderful aroma of her cooking – if only I could have sat at her table for samples! And thank goodness she met L’Inglese in his ‘come to bed shoes’ – I will never look at men’s shoes the same again…

Thank you, Rosa, for inspiring me to bake fresh bread last night; it was delicious! And thanks to Bebe for recommending this book as it is a fun and interesting peek i
Jun 09, 2013 Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a page turner: I read it in less than three hours. However, I didn't enjoy it as the love interest's personality was repellent. For example, "[he] waved me ahead of him up the spiral staircase. I had reached halfway before I realized that he had positioned himself directly underneath and was looking up my skirts. I tried to gather the material close around my legs so he could not see anything, but in truth, he had already seen everything. He smiled broadly at my discomfort." Urgh. Als ...more
Linda Robinson
Nov 26, 2015 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend loaned this book; her mother loaned it to her because she said it made her laugh. I didn't laugh but I sure enjoyed reading this story of passion, in all rooms of the house and in the garden as well. The cover is rich and so is the story. La Cucina is the kitchen where the life of the cooks in the household takes place. Rosa Flores is a cook - kneading dough calms her, creating an elaborate dish lets her forget her pain. A sumptuous read.
Jul 14, 2013 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: execrable
This novel is much too easy to mock, and so I dare not, since I might get carried away. The author raises "food porn" to a whole new level, and I don't mean in a good way. OK, I just can't help myself: one teensy little mockery: the narrator is more full of herself than a Mario Batali cannoli! Read at your peril. (Or if you want to laugh out loud, when you really shouldn't.) On the other hand ... maybe it was meant to be this funny.
Sep 20, 2015 Malloreon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lily Prior is now one of my favorite authors. I love everything from her style of writing to her very unique imagination. The only thing that pains me about Lily Prior is her novels are too short. She has so many interesting plot points and characters in her writing that simply get glossed over due to her penchant to keep her novels short and sweet. I liken Lily Prior to 'Haruki Murakami Lite.'
Dec 31, 2013 MaryAnn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Makes you want to cook, eat and have lots of sex!
Feb 28, 2017 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, quick read filled with amazing food, ridiculous sex, the odd bit of mafia action, Siamese twins, a library, a farm, a fire and a surprising end. This is a solid
The Cats Mother
Sue brought this to book club, she's long had a thing for books about Italy and food; it sat on the shelf for a while as the reviews were unenthusiastic, but it looked like a quick read and I'm trying to clear as many books from the pile as I can before our next meeting, so gave it a go. What can I say, I finished it, and it's not as bad as expected, but it's not great.
The story is OK - what there is of it - only daughter Rosa grows up on a farm in Sicily in the 1920s surrounded by her dominatin
Jul 03, 2016 Val rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: womens-prize
The author takes a lighthearted and superficial romp through Sicilian stereotypes regarding food, sex and honour. It is a quick and sometimes amusing read, which I quite enjoyed, but neither the descriptions of the sex or of the food really reach the heights of rapture. There is plenty of sweaty pounding of dough and flesh, but the pivotal scene combining food and sex just made me laugh and I'm not sure whether this was intended or not.
The book is divided into seasons. In Winter we hear of a ser
Jan 08, 2013 Megan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking-food
"...we sucked and sucked at one another, paddling with our hungry tongues."

This is one of the worst books I've ever read. It alternated between cliche, trite, badly written, and ridiculous. If the author could have focused solely on the cooking, culture, and crime aspects of the novel, it would have been half decent in spite of the total abuse of punctuation (averaging 2 comma errors per page).

However, the romance portions of the book were absolutely atrocious. Many of the interactions between
Feb 21, 2017 Elize rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so incredibly disappointed by this book after absolutely loving "Nectar". I found myself constantly rolling my eyes at the clumsy attempts at writing a "passionate, sensuous story about desire" or whatever all the reviews said.
Aug 13, 2011 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, food
La Cucina was a quick and engaging read that I enjoyed quite a bit.

The tale follows the life and loves of Rosa Fiore whose gifts with food were legendary in her Sicilian village and expressed her passions and sensuality in a socially appropriate way. After a tragedy occurs in her home village, Rosa sets off to Palermo and becomes a librarian where, 25 years later, she meets L'Inglese and ignited by a passion for him and for life that transforms her.

Without giving away the plot, this story was f
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Anne
If you are a foodie, you will enjoy reading this book. There are no recipes included, but thanks to that little thing called The Internet, all recipes can easily be found.

The book is basically about food, and sex. Eating food during sex. Having sex using food as props. Cooking to stave off sorrow and loneliness for a lost lover.

La Cucina can be compared to Like Water for Chocolate but without all the magical properties assigned the food. If you want something more straightforward read Julie and
Levina  C.
Apr 20, 2011 Levina C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The beginning was a lot move eventful and well thought-out than the rest of the book, which was mostly tales of Rosa, the heroine, and her foreign lover's sexual adventures. The novel is sprinkled with descriptions of lavish Sicilian recipes, which Rosa gives names to in her language and then doesn't explain in English. She had a sad life: After losing her father and her first love when she was young, she falls into a depression and starts arguing with her mother. She leaves home to live twenty- ...more
Patrice Sartor
This felt like an Italian Like Water for Chocolate, which I also gave four stars. A woman deals with a demanding and domineering mother (and a slew of brothers). Lots of food and cooking is involved, and the passion that stems from the culinary activities extends into sexual activities, and vice-versa. I especially liked that the main character became a librarian, though portraying her as the stereotypical dowdy sort of library worker did not please me, heh.

It's a light and easy read with a dose
Drenched in the sensuality that accompanies a true passion for food, we meet the protagonist Rosa Fiore. Lonely, desperate for love without knowing it, Lily sublimates her sensual nature into a love for food. Her food preparations are elaborate and the descriptions of them just heavenly. But romance truly blossoms when L’Inglese enters the picture. The reader is inundated with truly smoldering entries of Rosa’s romance with this mysterious man who clearly revels in food and good eating as much a ...more
Jul 27, 2015 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating tale about Rosa, a woman from a small town with a large family of brothers. Rosa's tale takes a turn when her beloved, Bartolomeo, is found dead. She then flees to a neighbouring city, and begins her life anew as a librarian. It is there that she meets 'L'Inglese', who turns her life around in more ways than one. I really enjoyed how specific Lily was when she wrote about Rosa's feelings. It began as a simple story, with Rosa being a young girl in love. She was quite innocent in th ...more
Jan 31, 2017 Martine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
J'ai choisi ce livre car cela parlait de cuisine et un peu de mafia, j'ai complètement occulté que ça parlait aussi de sexe. Moi qui fuis comme la peste toute cette mouvance de "romance érotique", c'est raté!
Enfin pas tant que ça. Les scènes d'amour ne sont pas à rallonge et plutôt respectueuses des femmes ; considéré l'époque, le consentement (qui fait souvent défaut aux autres titres du genre) est bien présent (ouf).

Et puis ça ne manque pas d'humour, et c'est un humour qui n'est ni cynique ni
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book was nominated for my international book club for the next year, but not selected. I got a copy anyway, because the person who put it forward made it sound better than it is.

What is it? Basically a cheesy barely-strung-together erotic novel that was more embarrassing than anything else. Also I would not be eating off of that table!!

It did entertain me for the last part of a late-night plane ride, but I kept checking to make sure my seat mate wasn't reading over my shoulder. Just not my
Leigh Denton
A scrumptious and sensual tour through the life of a Sicilian woman who truly loves food and cooking; spiced with the drama and larger-than-life characters you expect from the early to mid-20th century landscape that was rural and urban Sicily. Enjoy the awakening of a woman pigeonholed by her era and gender, until great change is wrought by the arrival of a foreigner ("l'inglese", no less) who transports her into a life-changing romance. Savour the characters, the detailed descriptions of the s ...more
After reading Lily Priors novel " Nectar" years ago, I do not profess myself as her fan as I didnt like it at all. But I came across "La Cucina" in a charity sale and decided to buy it and give it a try , at least for charitys sake. Well, as I was already aware what to expect from Ms. Prior and perhaps thats the reason I found this novel (her debut) much better than " Nectar". Nonetheless, dont think this is Laura Esquivel or Joanne Harris . Unfortunately, though Ms.Prior tries , it lacks finess ...more
The book was (I think) intended to be an Italian 'Like Water for Chocolate' or something like that-- with rich descriptions of food which parallel the storyline and add another layer to the nuance of the story.
However instead it often felt disjointed and awkward within the story. "___ important event happened, and then I went home and made this enormous _____ meal for the family." They didn't click together well.

What I did enjoy however, were the elements that weren't about the food. The story i
(copied review) When 18-year-old Rosa's first love comes to a terrible end, she takes to cooking to ease her grief, but eventually leaves her rural Sicilian town for the city of Palermo. Twenty-five years later she has become a librarian, and still lives to cook. But the overweight, overlooked Rosa doesn't truly come back to life until she meets a man who comes to her library for research, but who falls in love with Rosa and her flair for cooking. All goes well (better than well, in fact, for sh ...more
Dec 12, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
This was a great story.

Centered around a Sicilian woman - Rosa Fiore - "La Cucina" outlines her life. She leaves home after her first love affair ends in tragedy and lives for twenty five years on her own. She meets a man - l'Inglese - who helps awaken her from her sexual hibernation and she learns to love again.

Rosa finds solace in her kitchen - so be prepared to find delicious descriptions of the dishes she prepares throughout the story.

For a full review of this book please visit my blog at
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