The Rajes, Book 2
From the publisher:
From the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors comes another , clever, deeply layered, and heartwarming romantic comedy that follows in the Jane Austen tradition―this time, with a twist on Persuasion.
Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?
Rico Silva, that’s what.
Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.
FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.
But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico. Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak―or a recipe for persuasion…?
In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy.
I read the first book in the series, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, when it came out in 2019 and I really liked it. But somehow I missed this second book, and the third book is out now, too. So I went back to the beginning and re-read the first book before running through the rest of the series. Yes, these books are that good.
If you are a Food Network fan, then this is your book. It is centered around a cooking competition show based on Dancing with the Stars; professional chefs are paired with “stars”, most of which are B list celebrities, in a cooking competition. Ashna is a chef and graduate of the Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Ashna’s family is a mess. Her mother left to work in India, and Ashna’s relationship with her is poor, to say the least. Her father raised her but he commits suicide and Ashna is the one to find him. So serious emotional issues abound here. Ashna goes to Paris to learn how to cook at The Cordon Bleu, leaving his chef and manager in charge of the restaurant for two years. Unfortunately, while she is gone, they ripped off the restaurant and disappeared with over $5 million dollars, leaving Ashna is a very bad place. She returns to run the restaurant, but things are really bad. The restaurant is old and looking it, and the customers are few and far between.
Ashna gets some help from her friend DJ as he creates new recipes for her, in hopes of getting new customers. But Ashna has some serious baggage and finds herself having panic attacks when she tries to cook anything other than her father’s recipes. When her cousin, a producer of the cooking show, loses one of the chefs at the last minute, she begs Ashna to fill in. The winner gets $100,000 plus the restaurant will get a ton of free publicity, so despite her misgivings, Ashna feels like she doesn’t really have a choice if she wants to save her restaurant.
She is shocked to find herself paired with Rico, one of the best soccer players in the world, and her high school boyfriend. No one knew about their relationship and she broke his heart when she left him. Rico has enough star power to demand to be on the show and to be paired with Ashna and their first meeting goes viral, pushing them in the lead as the contest starts. Cooking together means Ashna has no way of ignoring him, and as she works through her fear of cooking, especially in public, Rico has her back and they grow even closer.
The Rajes are a large, wealthy family and Ashna, while not exactly a sibling, is considered one. With her mother never around, the Raje matriarch is like a second mother to Ashna, and her children consider Ashna a sister. I love this family, and their relationships give another layer to this story. This was a terrific follow up to the first book, and I can’t wait for the next book. Fortunately, I don’t have to wait. Review to follow shortly.
8/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
RECIPE FOR PERSUASION by Sonali Dev. William Morrow Paperbacks (May 26, 2020). ISBN: 978-0062839077. 448 pages.