Recipe for Persuasion

(The Rajes #2)

by Sonali Dev

I am in love with the Rajes. Their brilliant, supportive, infuriating family (the richness is icing on the cake) is as much of an emotional draw as the central romance. This time around is Ashna’s turn. She is still trying to save her dead father’s failing restaurant despite the hero (DJ) from the prior book giving her menu a make-over.

We find out that she can’t actually cook his recipes because she suffers from dehabilitating panic whenever she tries to cook anything other than her father’s recipes. Yeah, that sounds hoky and plot-devicey at first, but the layers of emotional distress about her parents’ marriage, the events of the night her father died, and her own tricky relationship with food slowly are slowly revealed and make this more believable.

Ashna gets roped into a reality show…and her celebrity partner is a Brazilian futbol star she just happened to date in high school. Despite their mutual misunderstandings about being rejected in the past, they are drawn to each other again.

I wish there had been more scenes of them actually cooking together instead of summaries after-the-fact, I wish there had been more steam (it fades to black), but those are my own concerns and those are kind of personal taste. The other area is that we switch mid-point to some extended passages of Ashna’s absent mother, Shobi, in her POV both past and present. At first I resented them since they interrupted the romantic flow, but when I remembered this romance is more about the Bollywood overall emotional development of the family/heroine, then I went with the flow and enjoyed it. That has a satisfying conclusion as well.

Lovely, lovely time escapist contemporary romance with food and East Indian/California culture. Fingers crossed there’s more!