Tuesday, September 28, 2010

La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture by Lily Prior

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (September 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060953691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060953690

Since childhood, Rosa Fiore - daughter of a sultry Sicilian matriarch and her hapless husband - found solace in her family’s kitchen. La Cucina—the heart of the family’s lush estate--was a place where generations of Fiore women prepared wonderful meals, and where family life was played out around the age-old table. 

When Rosa was a teenager, her own cooking became the stuff of legend in her small community. Rosa’s infatuation with culinary arts could only rival her passion for a young man, Bartollomeo, who, unfortunately, belonged to someone else. After their love affair ends in tragedy, Rosa retreats first into her kitchen, and then into solitude, as a librarian in Palermo. There she stays for decades, growing fleshy on her succulent dishes, resigned to a loveless life.

Then, one day, she meets the mysterious chef, known only as I’Inglese, whose research on the heritage of Sicilian cuisine leads him to Rosa’s library and into her heart. They share one summer of love, during which l’Inglese awakens Rosa’s sexuality, and together they reach new heights of passion. When l’Inglese suddenly vanishes, Rosa returns home to the farm to grieve for her lost love. 

In the comfort of her family home, amongst her growing family, she discovers the truth about her loved ones and finds her life transformed once more by her beloved Cucina.

Prior unites the textures, tastes and smells of food and sex to create a wonderfully sexy story.  It celebrates family, food, passion, and romance.  Her descriptions of Rosa's culinary creations almost made you to believe you could smell and taste them.  Her characters were endearingly eccentric and real.  Be prepared to read some funny and erotic passages.  The combination of food and sex is a delightful pairing.

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