Review of “Recipe for Persuasion” (The Rajes #2) by Sonali Dev

Dev, Sonali. Recipe for Persuasion. New York: William Morrow, 2020.

ISBN-13: 978-0062839077 | $15.99 USD | 464 pages | Contemporary Romance 

Blurb

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. 

In the series

#1 Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Review 

2.5 stars 

While the first book would have been a solid loose P&P retelling were it not for a mishandling with the Yash subplot, I found Recipe for Persuasion bland by comparison. There is the basic setup Persuasion there, with the reunited lovers once parted due to class differences, but it loses all the punch of the original in Dev’s reimagining. 

Neither of the leads is particularly likable or memorable. In fact, not being a fan of vengeance plots, I found Rico’s ploy to worm his way into the Rajes’ cooking show after having a chip on his shoulder years later after being dumped by Ashna in high school immature, and he didn’t become endearing over time either. And while Ashna doesn’t have anything wrong with her, she’s not particularly memorable either. I had no idea what they saw in each other. 

And while Ashna’s mother is self concerned and neglectful, it was her arc that ultimately carried me through the book, especially as the circumstances of her abusive marriage to Ashna’s father were revealed, and handled with far greater delicacy than the issues of the previous book. I would have been much happier if the story had shifted to focus more on her and her relationship with Ashna, as well as her finding love again. 

From a brief glance at the reviews, this one is definitely polarizing, with some loving it, and some sharing my sentiments. I think if it interests you, I’d recommend reading it for yourself to form your own opinion. 

Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after.

Sonali’s novels have been on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and Kirkus’s Best Books of the year lists. She has won the American Library Association’s award for best romance, the RT Reviewer Choice Award for best contemporary  romance, multiple RT Seals of Excellence, is a RITA® finalist, and has been listed for the Dublin Literary award. Shelf Awareness calls her “Not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today.”She lives in Chicagoland with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.Find more at sonalidev.com.

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