Are you a foodie? Or are you like me, a fan of the Food Network who spends hours watching Paula Deen add pounds of butter to anything she can get her hands on, while rooting for Bobby Flay as he throws down with one of the best bakers on the east coast, at the same time wondering what the secret ingredient will be in the next Iron Chef competition, but you can’t even boil water? Well whether you’re a foodie or just a person who loves to ‘watch’ an artist at their craft as they create culinary delights to pleasure palates ranging from the ordinary to the extreme I think you’re going to love Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards.
This is my very first foray into the land of Louisa Edwards and I’ll tell you, it won’t be my last. Ms. Edwards has a way with words. Her prose and dialogue are smart and witty with just the right amount of references to pop culture making this contemporary romance sing—or should I say cook?
Just One Taste is the third book in her Recipe for Love series and it’s actually the first one I’ve read but it definitely stands alone. It’s a humorous, engaging contemporary romance with a hero and heroine, who are as opposite as two people can get. Their resumes are as different as Reality TV is from a Wagnerian opera. Rosemary is a bonafide genius with not one, but two PhDs. She’s a scientist, a geek, and also a Treki with a penchant for the SyFy channel. Wes is a former con man, a charmer, a streetwise and up-and-coming chef with the soul of an artist when it comes to mise en place, deglazing, and sautéing. And that’s just for starters.
Wes is a man on a mission: to pass the boring required food chemistry course so he gets a good grade at the Academy of Culinary Arts and eventually gain an externship at a five-star restaurant. Rosemary is a woman on a mission: to teach the food chemistry course so she can have full access to the Academy’s top-notch labs and produce the kind of work that will make her a rising star in the academic world of 'publish or perish'.
Wes’ clever plan to securing his passing grade is to have Dr. Rosemary Wilkins help him with a project on—wait for it—aphrodisiacs. Now, when you put two people together, Wes who is all about the taste, feel, sensation, and the ‘experience’ of food, and Rosemary, who is all about the nutritional benefits of the food, you have an interesting mix—because how they view food seems to be how they view life. One is all about the adventure; the other is all about the observation.
The basic premise for this book is love discovered, love lost, and love found. However it’s the way Ms. Edwards uses circumstances, tension, dialogue, emotion, and the back story of these two characters that keeps this one a page-turner. With Wes trying to live down his past and be a better man and Rosemary trying hard to be part of a world she’s never quite understood, both Wes and Rosemary charmed me individually, so when they do come together, as a reader, I was enamored. There’s a lot of witty banter and behind the scenes looks at the inner workings of a restaurant, as well as cultivated and interesting secondary characters giving this book great appeal. What excited me the most was Ms. Edwards’ ability to put the ‘au currant’ in contemporary—making this a contemporary for the 21st Century.
So, dear reader, if you’re looking for a new contemporary with a heart and soul, wit and emotion, discovery and creativity, and of course a good romance, might I suggest Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards?
I’ll be back next Wednesday (due to the Labor Day Holiday), so until then, remember there’s a book waiting to be read. What’s your next read? Me? I’m thinking I need a little sizzle so I’ll be reading Jaci Burton's Riding the Night.
Don’t forget to stop by Melanie Murray’s new thread "New & Recommended," a place where we let you know about the best of the books we're reading now.
I’m curious, what’s your favorite romantic meal?
Marisa is an avid reader and television producer.