Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Angelina's Bachelors

Angelina's Bachelors
Brian O'Reilly

Angelina's Bachelors: A Novel with Food

Genre: Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads):  Sometimes the shortest distance between two people is the length of a kitchen table. . . .

Far too young to be a widow, Angelina D'Angelo suddenly finds herself facing a life without her beloved husband, Frank. Late one night shortly after the funeral, she makes her way down to the kitchen and pours all of her grief and anger into the only outlet she has left - her passion for cooking. In a frenzy of concentration and swift precision, she builds layer upon layer of thick, rich lasagna, braids loaves of yeasty bread, roasts plump herb-rubbed chicken; she makes so much food that she winds up delivering the spoils to the neighbors in her tight-knit Italian community in South Philadelphia.

Retiree Basil Cupertino, who has just moved in with his kindly sister across the street, is positively smitten with Angelina's food. In a stroke of good fortune, Basil offers Angelina (not only husbandless but unemployed) a job cooking for him - two meals a day, six days a week, in exchange for a handsome salary. Soon, word of her irresistible culinary prowess spreads and she finds herself cooking for seven bachelors; and in the process discovers the magical power of food to heal, to bring people together . . . and maybe even to provide a second chance at love.

Filled to the brim with homemade warmth, Angelina's Bachelors is a sweet tale of overcoming grief, redefining family, and following your heart through food.

Review: This was a nice story, but it was just way TOO nice for my taste, and I LIKE nice stories.  Angelina's husband dies at the start of the book, without ever getting a sense of him as a character, or providing the reader with a view of their marriage.  When Angelina finds herself jobless, she manages to quickly find 7 hungry and friendly bachelors who are willing to pay her generously to cook them dinner.  SPOILER ALERT!  Then she discovers that she's actually 5 months pregnant (hello, how dumb is she?) and then she opens a restaurant that's an immediate fantastic success.  It just seemed like everything went Angelina's way without her having to do anything.  And I never got a real sense of who Angelina was and what she wanted from her life (other than to cook for strangers). 

The recipes in this book sounded fantastic, but were extremely long and complicated, and not something I would have the time to make myself.  I couldn't figure out why the recipes were so fancy, and why this chick-lit foodie romance was written by a man, until I discovered that the author is a producer on The Food Network.  Which I think explains a lot about the book.

Rating: 2 stars

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