I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes, #2) by Sonali Dev
Series: The Rajes #2
Published by William Morrow on May 26, 2020
FINAL DECISION: I loved this book! The first book in the series was okay but not incredible, but this one had such emotional depth and just kept me turning pages. The interwoven stories of daughter and mother worked so well together. The balance between romance and personal growth (aka “women’s fiction”) was well developed.
THE STORY: Ashna Raje is desperate to save the restaurant she inherited from her father. She decides to join a “cooking with the stars” reality show as one of the featured chefs. She ends up paired with Rico Silva, a recently retired soccer player — and her first love. When their first meeting goes viral and makes them fan favorites, Ashna has no choice but to work with Rico to save her restaurant. At the same time, Ashna also is facing the return of her mother who abandoned her and Ashna’s father and now wants to build a relationship with her.
OPINION: I really loved this book. It is more women’s fiction than romance, but the romance was good enough to keep me interested in the book (although I could have done with much more Ashna and Rico!) Ashna’s story was complicated and sad and oh so painfully real.
Admittedly, the book relies on one of my least favorite tropes — people don’t speak to one another. And yet, isn’t that often the problem that we have. We don’t speak truthfully to one another. We deflect and avoid — and so it is here. I figured out the ultimate explanation long before the characters did, and yet, I so enjoyed the journey. These characters really reached me.
The premise of the cooking show was fun and worked as such an interesting reflection of Ashna and Rico’s relationship. I simply adored Rico and can’t wait to read more about him in the next book (as a secondary character).
The book was crowded with characters — but in a good way. I enjoyed the community of this book and how Ashna learns to see and accept that there are people who are there for her and see her as her essential self.
WORTH MENTIONING: Content warnings for rape and suicide.
CONNECTED BOOKS: RECIPE FOR PERSUASION is the second book in The Rajas series. The romance here is self-contained but there are overlapping characters in the series. This book can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.