I loved the flowing style and rythm of narration, the pleasant and amusing plot and characters.
This is the seventh book in a series of which I skipped earlier books because I'm not interested in hockey, and the author takes good points in being able to make the story comprehensible without giving the readers the impression that we're missing something, despite the fact that there are characters clearly majorly involved in the early installments.
Story and characters felt very real, and despite there is not even a vague reference to their age and the physical attributes descriptions are sparse, to follow their story is almost like seeing it in a movie, with the text that easily evokes images in the reader's mind, particularly focusing on body language.
Characterization is very good for all actors: main, supporting and secondary characters look credible and not forced or hurried at all. I especially liked Anthony, I found it perfect the way the author has shown him in relation to mourning Angie and his attempts to overcome it and move on, the hesitancy and insecurity in trying to jump back in the love game, his fear (and a bit of - rightful - resentment!) before surrendering to the charmer that had wounded him; I also found very valuable the author's choice to put a male character in a condition in which we'd usually see the heroine and the courage of showing his sweeter and more affectionate sides, sometimes to the point of almost making him give a feminine vibe, without, however, never crossing that limit and not failing to maintain a male perspective and all the proud muscular masculinity of Anthony, even despite that shadow of fat beginning to show on his mid section! ;)
On the contrary, I wasn't able to fully appreciate Vivi: if you look at her not too closely, and according to their different social and familial status, roles might seem reversed between her and her sister, but I find that it's the blondie chef that's a little too insensitive and accustomed to be spoiled. As well as for Vivi, despite understanding their motives and feelings, I found it difficult to sympathize with all my heart for Michael too, neither I liked the way Theresa sort of washed her hands about her son&husband problems, forcing everything on Ant (what a nickname!), Ant that also revealed himself as a very special uncle.
Particularly interesting is Natalie, and her evolution, I' would really like to read more about her: one could imagine that she'll eventually surrender to the journalist in the end, but it would have been nice to see some more progress, along with a usual working day for the two chefs-rivals, even better if setted some time after. Unfortunately, none of the Dantes and their affiliates seem to appear in later books (which, for this, and for the sport-related scenes glimpsed here that failed to win me, I'm not going to read).
Another little negative note is the fact that the Dantes are a little too generalized in their italianness: no one knows exactly their origins, some linguistic expressions and recipes would make you think of Sicily, some other of Campania, but - as an Italian - I raised my brow a bit at reading Madonn!
, with the D
! I don't know if the Italo-Americans have effectively this slang, but we say "Maronn!
" or better yet "Maronna mia!
Brilliant dialogue, while the most serious confrontations are intense and moving, very funny and enjoyable are the scenes involving culinary disagreements and point of views: if you're on a diet it may be better to not read this book 'cause it triggers an uncontrollable desire to get up and cook something good and delicious to sink your teeth or your fork into!
[I resisted only a little after 50% before hurrying to bake me a coffe cake! Yum!]
“Our appetizer special tonight is crisp fried zucchini blossoms.”
“Only the male blossoms, correct?” Vivi questioned.
Anthony looked insulted. “Of course.”
Natalie looked at both of them in alarm. “There are male and female zucchini blossoms?
“Please, if there’s anything I can do to make your dining experience more pleasant, let me know,” he concluded with a small bow.
“What he really means is, vote for him,” said Michael. The table laughed.
My hero is my uncle Anthony. He runs a restaurant and is a chef. I want to be a chef when I grow up. He shows me how to cook things and even the right way to frost cupcakes. His wife is dead but he’s nice anyway. When I grow up I want to run the restaurant with him and be a good cook just like he is.
Why couldn’t God have designed human beings so they didn’t need to exercise?