Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thoughts: Delicious


by Sherry Thomas
Book 1 of The Marsdens

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.0 Stars

Forbidden Pleasures are always sweetest....

Famous in Paris, infamous in London, Verity Durant is as well-known for her mouthwatering cuisine as for her scandalous love life.  But that's the least of the surprises awaiting her new employer when he arrives at the estate of Fairleigh Park following the unexpected death of his brother.

To rising political star Stuart Somerset, Verity Durant is just a name and food is just food, until her first dish touches his lips.  Only one other time had he felt such pure arousal -- a dangerous night of passion with a stranger, who disappeared at dawn.  Ten years is a long time to wait for the main course, but when Verity Durant arrives at his table, there is only one thing that will satisfy Stuart's appetite for more.  But his hunger for lust, revenge -- or, that rarest of delicacies, love?  For Verity's past has a secret that could devour them both even as they reach for the most delicious fruit of all....

Delicious is a hard book to review.  Mostly, I really found myself enjoying a good portion of it... but then I found myself frustrated, because a lot of the story felt very confusing, which may or may not have been due to the constant references to past events in the book's back story timeline.  Of course, the moment I started getting confused, the timeline would straighten itself out, then I would shrug and move on.

After all, this is a fairly light historical romance that involved a very steamy build-up involving food, mysteriousness, and stolen moments.  I recall that I had likened the relationship between the couple in The Luckiest Lady in London as a drawn out dance of seduction (not in those exact words, of course), very much like foreplay even though no one even touches for half the book.  The atmosphere of that entire first half of The Luckiest Lady in London was very much thick with sexual tension that had my own coils ready to spring.

Well, Delicious was probably meant to be the same... but with food and lots of overwrought emotions.

I would have to say that the plot point in the this book I enjoyed the least (and even feel conflicted about) would have to be the actual romance itself.  And... well, it's hard to explain.  I didn't dislike the romance.  I loved how the author uses food and Verity's own inherent sensuality to create the sexual tension between her and Stuart.  But I felt like it might have been a bit overdone in some ways... Stuart immediately falls in lust with his mysterious cook because of her cooking--that I can kind of comprehend (actually, no, not really, but I'm trying to).  But to fall in love with her so quickly afterwards, never having even truly met her, and knowing only that she's an awesome cook and a sensual creature is a little more difficult to accept.  We could argue that maybe he senses the Cinderella he met ten years prior to the book's story line in her... but even THAT particular reminiscent romance was nothing short of insta-love.

Frankly, I actually found the strange, almost antagonistic romance between Lizzy and Mr. Marsden a bit more fun to follow, though it wasn't quite elaborated on as much as our main couple's love story.  There might have even been a modicum of insta-love on Mr. Marsden's side, but I was never able to confirm that, and so saw only the bickering and the slow build-up of friendship and respect between the two.  I wish we could have seen more of the Lizzy and Mr. Marsden love story, to be honest.

The only other plot point I'd say was weak would be the scattering of Cinderella references.  I'm not entirely sure they really work if you're looking for a retelling in Delicious, but they would have been a nice addition if they didn't get harped upon too much.

Otherwise, I actually really enjoyed Delicious.  As per Sherry Thomas, the characters were wonderful!  Verity is strong and independent.  And in spite of his standard-ness, Stuart has his charms.  The side characters were interesting in their own way, though I must admit that I was very annoyed with the Dowager Duchess of Arlington because NOTHING she says or does makes any sense to me.

Sherry Thomas is an excellent writer, and typically an excellent story teller.  Delicious is conflicting to me, mainly because it was written up to par with Thomas's work... but I'm not entirely sure the story itself was told in the best manner.  As stated above, there were many moments when I found myself confused about what was going on, and then there were moments where I wasn't sure I could suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy the book.

But, once again, the characters are great even if the story is a little unbalanced.  And Sherry Thomas proves to me once again that I can love her books even if I don't entirely love the story.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

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