They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but this couldn’t be further from the truth for Lily when she meets the taciturn, sometimes rude, Cornishman Kenan.
Lily Redman and Kenan Rowse appealed to me instantly, mostly because they couldn’t be more different. Lily is a rising star of the Cooking Network, a bubbly, energetic workaholic, while Kenan is jobless, divorced and haunted by his past mistakes. As we follow them through the story, it turns out they are far more similar than it seems at first glance, and because of this, the chemistry between them was convincing. The way they slowly reveal their true selves to each other and how that forms a strong base for their burgeoning feelings was the highlight of the novel. The differences between them make for a dynamic relationship from the first meeting on, and it only intensifies as several obstacles come in the way of them admitting their feelings and being together.
The novel starts off to a fast pace, but it loses steam in the middle with Lily and Kenan dilly-dallying about what to do about their growing relationship, until it picks up again towards the end. The story becomes more complex and intriguing as more and more side characters appear, but most of these are portrayed too black and white, which is a shame as more complex characters could’ve lead to an even more intense plot. Especially the last conflict would’ve been more intense if Lily’s ex lover Patrick had not been presented so one-dimensionally. The American/Cornish language peculiarities make for a few funny moments, but the conversations between Kenan’s eight-year-old daughter Mandy and the adults often feels stilted and awkward, too childish. The descriptions of cooking and food, however, show the author’s great knowledge and love of the topic as the scenes are mouth-watering.
I recommend Sugar and Spice to everyone who loves a sweet romance, and to every foodie. The tender emotions of the main characters and the descriptions of food will surely enchant you.
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