by Farah Heron
Foodie romance set in Canada with Gujarati-Tanzanian brown people falling in love with each other and dealing with massive family issues.
I mean, I would have come just for the descriptions of hard-boiled egg potato curry, but we also get references to African spices, sourdough starters that are named and fed throughout the romance, and massive descriptions (not to mention recipes in the back!) of paratha vs maani etc.
Reena’s father is a real estate developer in Canada trying to lure an investor in by promising a daughter to marry to the investor’s wayward son.
They end up living in an apartment across from each other where Nadim has to smell Reena’s baking obsession every time he comes home.
Then Reena has a life crisis, needs a partner to enter a cooking show, ends up drinking and cooking one night and the rest is hijinks, meddling mothers, fathers, and sisters, and the slow uncovering of the secrets (or shall we say not-so-secret since it turns out everyone knew but just wasn’t talking about it) behind Reena’s perfect family facade.
Reena’s family is Muslim, and there are references to it, but it felt very modern and more like cultural norms then religious faith in this story. Some of the more orthodox strictures like no drinking, no gambling etc. are used primarily as secrets the family are keeping from each other (more evidence of their non perfectness) and as ways immigrants adapt to their new countries than an expression of faith.
There is very little steam in the book (other than the cooking kind). There is some kissing, and then we mostly jump to the morning after. I did wish for a wider window in to the sex-positive modern Islamic female perspective (neither hero or heroine are exactly virgins).
Super sweet, lovely little foodie modern romance centered squarely within meddling family. Would definitely read more by this author because a) food b) Canada! c) immigrant perspective.
Definitely fans of Sonali Dev would like this (only expect less steam).