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Recipe for Persuasion

by eileenw


Cover art for Recipe for PersuasionRecipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev (paperback, ebook, audiobook download) starts off seeming like a lighthearted romance novel, and becomes so much more.

Chef Ashna Raje joins a “cooking with celebrities” reality show to try and save her late father's struggling restaurant, and ends up paired with an international soccer star . . . who’s also her ex.

The novel ticks all the boxes of a great romance novel (it’s loosely based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion, so no surprise there), but about a third of the way into the novel we begin to get passages from the point of view of Ashna’s estranged mother, and start to slowly unravel the generations of pain and secrets the family brought with them as they emigrated from India.

Ultimately, it’s not just a novel of romance and the flavors of Indian food, but one of mothers and daughters, and self-determination vs. family legacy. 

Recipe for Persuasion (2020) continues the story of the Raje family that Sonali Dev started in Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (2019), and continues in Incense and Sensibility (2021), but each book stands alone and can be read out of order. While there are a few direct references to Persuasion in this novel, you don’t need to have read Austen to enjoy the novel.

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