Recipe For Love
by Courtni Wright, contemporary (2001)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-190-1

If you haven't guessed by now, one of the main characters in Recipe For Love works in the food biz. Heroine Emma Jones is a very busy caterer who has done well for herself after her bitter divorce with a cheatin' scumbag. When she has Jordan Everett, superstar doctor (see below), as a client, she falls head over heels. He too has been burned before in a broken marriage, but he doesn't mind starting over with her. But can Emma forget her old demons?

That's the plot for Recipe For Love. In 252 pages. But don't worry, this story is a very busy one. Emma is always rushing around from one social function to the other, from the upper class houses of Washington to a dinner party at the White House. When she and Jordan are in the limelight, so are what seems like a zillion other characters. Who has time to talk in quiet bonding moments? There are parties to arrange! Social work to do! Girlfriends to chit chat with! Oh, poor Emma - she has no time to do her manicure for so long. I look at my never-before-manicured nails, at my apartment, and think of Emma who lives in a house that has been featured in social rags three times and her plushy bank account and I understand. The poor thing, can't find time to do her manicure. What is the world coming to when a woman can't get a minicure, eh?

Make no mistake - I like this story. It's a very readable one. But thing is, I also get rather weary following the so many things going on here. Emma is always rushing, rushing, rushing, Jordan is always campaigning, campaigning, campaigning... do these people ever sleep? I could use some quiet private moments of these two that aren't lovemaking scenes, something to tell me that yes, these two really connect and not just because people keep throwing them together. While there's no luck there, I'm still pleased that Emma and Jordan at least have a convincing friendship going on.

But I am amused at the really gratuitous use of superlatives in this story. Jordan isn't just a brilliant doctor. He has to be the top, premiere, White-House-elected spokesperson and chairperson in a national campaign against drugs. He is friends with Hollywood and Washington A lists. He is rich. He is talented. He is... whoa. Emma? She is gorgeous, she is rich, her business is so successful you have to have a Swiss account to make it past her secretary. Don't worry that she gripes that she's only the Number Three Most Successful Caterer in Washington, because you know she will soon rip those two caterers' throats open as she happily climbs to the top spot. Her house is fab. Her legs are fab. She has no cellulite. She is, well, whoa too. Funny thing is, these super-duper elements don't do anything to further the story other than to make me laugh. These two people are so perfect and amazing in an exaggerated way that the author asking me to empathize with their problems (like the manicure thing) only makes it more hilarious. Yes, I'm a resentful middle-class oppressed plebian, but really, the manicure thing? Bwahahaha. Now that's a tragedy, heh heh heh.

And can I say how much I hate the female catfight thing the author just has to put in late in the story? Yes, Jordan's ex comes into the scene, and what a caricature of a ho, skank, slut ex-wife she is. Does Ms Wright ever pause to ponder if poor ex-wife Gina's characterization will reflect poorly on Jordan's tastes in women? (Then again, with Emma's house and fabulous bank account, who wouldn't want Emma? Heck, give me the bank account and I'll try my best to be a lesbian if I have to - yes, I am sad, so sue me.) Anyway, still, with all the exaggerated lifestyles of the rich and famous and all, coupled with decent chemistry between Jordan and Emma, make this one a nice, fun, and campy read.

Oh, and before I forget, while Emma keeps calling her friend Bonnie a good friend, I say if I have a sociopathic, bent-on-getting-me-a-man psychomatchmaker friend like Bonnie who goes too far most of the time to meddle in my love life, I'll call Bonnie to call 1800-GET-A-LIFE.

Rating: 75

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