Based on the Hallmark Channel movie by the same name, Liz Isaacson comes to the blog today with this cute and surprisingly clever foodie romance. Please read on for my review of
A Dash of Love
Nikki has been working in her dream job for years – she’s a cook with an ‘out of the box’ flair for taking the ordinary and unexpected (WHO uses rootbeer and peanut butter in beef stew?) and making something delicious. But the diner she’s worked at for the last while is closing, and the need to find another job, preferably cooking, is imminent. Her problem –she doesn’t have the experience of culinary school, so most of the restaurants in town won’t consider her for a position. Her best friend has already found a new job – waitressing for Nikki’s Idol – Holly Hanson– at her self-named restaurant, one of the many arms of the octopus-like brand she has built. An ‘after-shift’ invitation for Nikki to meet her roomie and perhaps have a moment to meet her idol have her completely excited and ready for more.
Paul is a Cordon Bleu graduate and has been Holly’s Executive Chef for the past five years: a job that he does very well, even as Hope’s refusal to consider ‘tweaking’ bland recipes or allowing him a dish on the menu have stifled his love for the job. He knows that there are tensions between Holly and her major investor Henry – the restaurant isn’t busy enough and it is obvious to everyone. When he meets Nikki, having a glass of wine and the cassoulet that he wants to tweak as she waits for her roommate – their conversation only serves to enforce his own doubts about the dish, even as it hurts his feelings. But when Nikki arrives as Holly’s ‘assistant’ the next day – he’s floored.
Nikki is wonderfully open and friendly, with a true sense of warmth that infects everyone around her. Her instinctual approach to cooking, combined with her ability to elevate even simple foods is a revelation – to no one more than Hope who, after locking her in the restaurant after hours on her first day, discovers her cooking a meal – and her plan is born. Holly needs new recipes to bring in diners – Nikki is thrilled to be there with the stars in her eyes, eagerness to please and excitement in being in Holly’s presence. Perhaps she can spin this new assistant along for recipes and rework of her restaurant – before firing her (of course) without revealing who actually made the food.
The romance here between Nikki and Paul is sweet – slow to burn and full of moments of miscommunication: his own frustrations with her ‘helping’ to see he and his parents reunited and her own inability to share her deepest thoughts as her ex was ‘not interested in her pipe dreams’ all lead to more confusion and back and forth than is truly necessary. With insets about food and flavors, moments of giving back and moving forward and a huge bombshell dropped by Holly in a last-ditch ‘hide the secret’ moment: the story brings Paul and Holly together as they should have been all along. Sweet and clever with character development that tugs at your “I want to know more” string – this is a quick read sure to leave you with a smile.
Title: A Dash Of Love
Author: Liz Isaacson
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Food / Recipes
Published by: Hallmark Publishing
Published on: 26 December, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo
In cooking and in love,
sometimes you have to improvise...
When Nikki lands an assistant job at her idol’s restaurant, she’s sure her next big break is around the corner. After a rocky start, she befriends Paul, the handsome executive chef. Although he graduated from culinary school, and Nikki’s a self-taught cook, the two begin bonding in the kitchen.
But Nikki’s new boss, Holly Hanson, turns out to be anything but admirable. She'll stoop to anything to save her restaurant, and Nikki and Paul both pay the price.
Can they win against the scheming of a celebrity chef? Maybe, with some creative thinking...and a dash of love.
This ebook contains a free original recipe for Nikki’s Beef Chili with Cinnamon.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: