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The Wedding Officer: A Novel of Culinary Seduction
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The Wedding Officer: A Novel of Culinary Seduction

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,773 ratings  ·  383 reviews
Captain James Gould arrives in wartime Naples assigned to discourage marriages between British soldiers and their gorgeous Italian girlfriends. But the innocent young officer is soon distracted by an intoxicating young widow who knows her way around a kitchen...Livia Pertini is creating feasts that stun the senses with their succulence—ruby-colored San Marzana tomatoes, gl ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Bantam (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  2,773 ratings  ·  383 reviews


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Connie (Ava Catherine)
In 1944 the British occupies Naples, Italy; however, the generals in London are not concerned with a counterattack by Mussolini's fascists or the German Nazis since the enemy is reeling from the Allied armies' thrusts. The most prominent concern is the fraternization between British officers and young Italian girls, whose men are off fighting in the war or are dead.

Captain James Gould is sent to prevent weddings between the soldiers and the local girls. He is dubbed The Wedding Officer by the l
...more
Caz
I've given this an A- for narration and a B+ for content at AudioGals

Anthony Capella’s The Wedding Officer is an enjoyable and engrossing tale set in wartime Italy, which is told through the eyes of a fish-out-of-water young British officer and the fiery Italian widow with whom he falls in love.

Naples in 1944 is now occupied by the allies, and things aren’t all that much better than they were under the Germans. Food is scarce and people are struggling to survive; there’s a thriving black market
...more
Joel Gilbert
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atf
My most recommended book for 2008. Fans of many genres will enjoy this example of great story-telling and rich characters. So, when you someone asks "What is this book about?" - I respond "Well, what is not about!?" (Okay, so I won't regurgitate the synopsis in which much more experience reviewers have taken such great care).

This book has almost everything. Passion, food, characters, passion for food, passion for others! Reading this book took me back to Napoli (I had the pleasure of visiting tw
...more
Eleanor
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
The premise gave way to the feeling that this would be a good read, but the actuality fell short. The majority of the book was interesting a bit long winded in places but enjoyable is a light not much thought way. But the last quarter of the book let it down. It felt as though well what else can be chuck at the plot, the author had at his fingertips lots of factual information for this period of Italian history well lets use it even if it doesn't do much to enhance the story, because it didn't t ...more
Rachel Aranda
After reading a summary like the one above how could a person not be tempted to read this book. Even the cover intrigued me. Until this book I had never read a book by Anthony Capella, and was astounded by the way he describes in mouthwatering detail, the preparation, cooking and eating of traditional Italian food, as he lays out the plot of the story. There aren't many books written in Italy during World War II that isn't based on the Holocaust. This book is deceiving as it looks like a book ma ...more
Kate
Jul 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Anthony Capella - The Wedding Officer (Sphere, London, 2007)

This is the first of my summer reads, and what a summer read it is!

The setting is the Bay of Naples, 1944. Naples has been occupied by the Allies, and the ongoing rationing makes it hard for the people to survive. Restaurants have been shut down, but operate officially, and one can get hold of almost anything on the black market. Most of the women of Naples are forced to prostitute themselves to soldiers in order to support themselves,
...more
Book Concierge
Captain James Gould is a young British intelligence officer during World War II. He arrives in Naples to take over as “the Wedding Officer” – assigned to discourage marriages between British soldiers and Italian girls. He is young, somewhat innocent, and determined to follow all regulations to the letter. He seems to be succeeding when a young widow arrives as the new Officers’ Mess Cook. Livia Pertini has always cooked in her family’s restaurant/bar in the small village on Mount Vesuvius. Her f ...more
penelopewanders
On loan from Alex. Had read and loved The Food of Love by this author, and am quite caught up in this one as well!

Half way through I was talking to a friend and said it reminded me a lot of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. After finishing the book, I read all the little tidbits, kind of licking the plate, so to speak, and saw that on the back cover they make the comparison too. So I'm not very original but I do agree. What a great book. Frequently I was laughing out loud, or close to tears, or angry
...more
Jeri
While I certainly liked parts of the book (the food) at times the main characters were not very easy to like. They were rude and at times seemingly ungrateful- during war, tragedies, and atrocities. The book was predictable at times and then it was "what the f*ck just happened" too .... The ending (epilogue) was satisfying.
Jennuineglass
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: foodie
As a lover of "foodie" books I was quite excited to fall into the pages of this summer reading book and devour its sumptuous banquet of characters, sex, war and general homage to the five senses.

It was sold as a cross between Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Chocolat...and lives up to neither book. Like a plain child of two beautiful adults, this book was fine. Adequate. Would hold you over if there was nothing else...but it was not transportive or particularly rich in any of the measures of lite
...more
Sammie
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
After reading the synopsis on the back of the book, I was quite excited to read it; however, I walked away a little disappointed.

Set in WWII, it begins with Livia Pertini, living in a town on Mt Vesuvius. She is a cook at her family osteria, which is like a tavern of sorts. It later introduces Cpt. James Gould, a British officer. It is Gould's job to prevent the soldiers from marrying Italian women.

The book started off quite slow for me. Since I am an avid reader, I will read the first few chapt
...more
Mila
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wedding Officer. Who knew there was such a job? Duties include deciding if it's OK for a British soldier to marry his Italian sweetheart by conducting interviews with the girls as a way to determine their "character". It was interesting to learn something new about WWII. I also enjoyed the food that was described so well, I could almost taste it. I'd love to go to Livia's restaurant at the foot of Vesuvius right now for some "burrata, creamy balls of mozzarella wrapped in asphodel leaves, made w ...more
Kate Quinn
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Another enchanting read from Anthony Capella, filled with good food, great scenery, and marvelous characters. James Gould is your typical upright and well-behaved Englishman, stationed in a small town near Naples during World War II and stuck with a difficult job: discouraging soldiers from marrying their Italian girlfriends. Even more difficult when he starts falling in love with an Italian girl himself: Livia, the pretty and prickly barracks cook who eventually introduces James to Italian food ...more
Michelle
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was just beautiful. I would read every word Anthony Capella ever wrote. I wonder if he can cook like he can write about cooking and food? I'd bet money that he can. He does things with food and sex and love all together that I just wouldn't think possible. I will never think of peas and snails in the same way again, that's for sure! But so lovely, so tastefully done. (Pun not intended!) For me this is the Holy Trinity, a beautifully written book about food, and romance, with ...more
Powells.com
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Delicious food prepared by a beautiful woman: What man could resist? It may be Captain Gould's job to discourage marriage between wartime soldiers and their gorgeous Italian girlfriends, but when Livia Pertini is hired as the soldiers' cook, the rules seem to fly out the window. This is a beautiful novel filled with love, laughter, and sumptuous dishes.
Recommended by Linda, Powells.com
Valentina Markasović
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone (who's not trying to lose weight-this book makes you want to eat)
It was a pleasant surprise, I didn't expect much, to be honest. The author perfectly mixed a love story with WWII, added some Italian food recipes (with vivid descriptions) and sprinkled it all with light humor.

Also helpful if you want to learn a bit of Italian.
Vera Nordic Soul Books
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an unexpected wondrous story!

When I picked up this novel, in a second-hand store in Scotland, I was not expecting this 1£ book would become a new favourite of mine. Allow me to set the scene: It's 1943 and the beautiful Italy is raged by WII. The Wedding Officer follows the life of a sparky and lively young woman, Livia, and a young and well-mannered English officer, James. The couple struggle against the challenges of the Italian wartime and war effort, and this historical fiction combine
...more
Alba Jensen
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This book had a little bit of everything I enjoy- a WWII story with interesting characters, a love story, adventure, beautiful scenery I could see in my head as I read the descriptions and recipes for delicious food from my father's birthplace. What can I say - I liked it and look forward to reading other books by this author.
MB (What she read)
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Book clubs? Do you fantasize about Sophia Loren?
2.5 stars
Very cinematic. I could almost hear the soundtrack swelling behind me as I read through this book. Several plot points were obviously included for their visual drama rather than as relevance to the plot (view spoiler)

The problem for me with this book was that although it was intended as a romance, I found the plot to be distinctly unromantic. Every single female (except for a elderly martyr, a child prostitute
...more
Walt Jacob
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Note: This was originally written on 10/7/2009 I began reading this book not expecting much, but I was delightfully surprised to find it is one of the best I have read in a very long time. It is, of course, about romance and delicious food. But it is also about history, for as it turns out most of the events and incidents described in this book actually took place.
Emily
Dec 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, reviewed
The book is about a guy, James, who is stationed in Naples as an intelligent agent and Wedding Officer who has to approve of all marriages of British Soldiers and when he takes over he starts making people follow the rules really maybe a bit to much even. Then there is the girl, Livia, who lives in a village outside Naples and cooks for the family restaurant. Livia is married before the war to the soldier and he is killed in the war, but Livia still won't break her marriage vows fighting against ...more
Shannon
Apr 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: oh-nine
Having read Capella's first book, I was very excited to read how he would weave words together in order for me to actually taste the Italian meals that the character Livia makes. I was disappointed, however, as the book started off strong and detailed the lives of Italians during World War II in a way I had not yet previously considered and then dragged on and on and on.

James Gould is an officer for the British army who meets and falls in love with Livia despite being unable to marry her. The p
...more
Carol
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol by: Lafayette Book Store
I had mixed feelings about this book; in part b/c it was billed as a good summer read / feel good romance, which it really wasn't at all. The history part regarding WWII in Italy was very interesting, and the food bits were fabulous. The romance was good, but there were a few trite, worn-out misunderstandings that I could have done without.

It did have, as so many other books and movies, a good "saving grace" ending which almost made it rank a bit higher, but not enough for me.

Perhaps if I had
...more
Kate Forsyth
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book too! What a delight. The story of a love affair between a British officer and his tempestuous Italian cook in the final years of the Second World War, it would make a wonderful movie. I'd pay to see it, for sure. I've read two earlier books by Anthony Capella, The Food of Love and The Empress of Icecream, and like them, this book is full of fabulous descriptions of food. I cooked my family an Italian feast once I'd finished this book, though I had to look up some of the recipes ...more
Fiona
May 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I've read by Anthony Capella, and again he describes in mouthwatering detail, the preparation, cooking and eating of traditional Italian food, as he lays out the plot of the story. I enjoyed this book and had no idea that Mount Vesuvius erupted towards the end of the 2nd World War. Nor did I realise just how close to Naples the volcano actually is. The book is an enjoyable read, though the last few chapters went off at a bit of a tangent that i could have done without.
Beth
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-clubs
Overall I would recommend this as a light read, though it got a bit far-fetched at times. It is about 50% love story, 25% war story, 25% food story. I guess I would categorize it as historical fiction, because it all takes place in Naples during WWII. Though the events are all based on true events, the fact that so many things happened to the main characters is where it gets a bit far-fetched feeling at times. However, if you like historic fiction and don't want anything too heavy, this is perfe ...more
Kristy
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book combined some of my favorite things....romance, delicious food, history, and vivid descriptions of life in Italy during world war II. The characters were all interesting, three-dimensional people. It was a very fast read despite its more than 400 pages. The last few chapters showed a gritty reality which was a departure from the earlier chapters of the book although serious issues were woven in throughout. Like most romances, the ending was happy bringing a wistful tear to my eye. Very ...more
Agnes
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's quite a nice book, very fluent and easy to read. However, sometimes the food metaphors are far too long and unnecessary, probably the author went to Neaples and fell in love with the food, and now can't help but to bring it up every two pages.
I really enjoyed were the more historic facts and how the author mixed little bits of historic trivias into the story, it was a real pleasure to read them.
Toward the end the story falls a bit into cliché and it becomes sappy. All in all, it's definet
...more
Danielle
Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book but felt that the ending did not live up to the first half. The first half is very well done: a love story during war, a realistic view of Italy during the Allies liberation, the eruption of Vesivuis during 1944. Very interting and great inclusion of food in the story. The ending is a chaotic and unrealistic "chase" that I think is a little unbeliavabilt. I would still recommend this book for a good summer read.
Al Lopez
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
An entertaining book - good summer read - but quite shallow and superficial. Given the setting and subject matter, the author could have woven a far deeper more meaningful story that would have captivated me with more intensity. If in the mood for a lighthearted and entertaining read that doesn't strain the mind or challenge the reader very much then this book serves the purpose well.
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Anthony Capella was born in Uganda, Africa in 1962. He was educated at St Peter’s College, Oxford, where he graduated with a First in English Literature. The Food of Love, his first novel, was a Richard and Judy Summer Read in the UK. It has been translated into nineteen languages and has been optioned for the screen by Warner. His second novel, The Wedding Officer, was an international bestseller ...more

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