Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc
My Copy: Sent
Mix a chef and her contractor, stir in a mystery, and cook up a romance. Jemima George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality television’s latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem plans to sell the cafe and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt’s legacy.
Throwing herself into remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town’s delicious contractor, Jem revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself. Jack Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the cafe could be sold. He doesn’t need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro’s beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he’s all in. He wouldn’t mind being savory to Jem’s sweet. Jack’s brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of environmental mayhem, add Jem’s claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil-a recipe for romance.
Cooking up Love is an entertaining romance with suspense and danger intertwined to make a great reading adventure. The author introduces us to interesting characters and a plotline that takes us on various twists and turns until the end.
Jemima George is in Granite Point, Massachusetts attending her Aunt Caroline’s funeral and visiting the café she inherited from her. She is ready to go back to New York and see her boyfriend and resume her life working as a chef to Margo Tremont, a reality TV star.
It is unfortunate that before she even gets out of town, she finds out her boyfriend Phil has been cheating on her and all of the sudden the town of Granite Point is looking better and better. She talks to Jack Kerrigan, the contract that Caro was using to update the Café and he is willing to continue the project. Jem used to work each summer with her aunt, helping her in the café, when her brother was killed in an accident, her parents would not let her visit her aunt, blaming the death on Caro.
Jack moved back to town after his divorce and enjoys the small town atmosphere, his siblings and parents still live in the area and they have close family ties. He had a disastrous marriage and prefers living the quiet life.
When Jem starts to pack up Caro’s apartment she finds some interesting papers and photos, along with a letter from her aunt. She realizes that her brother’s death might not have been an accident after all. The environmental project they were working on did not seem legal and Jem may have inherited the danger.
This is a wonderful story filled with romance, betrayal, and danger. I enjoyed the story from start to finish and could not wait to see what happened. The story had many mysteries and I was stumped until the end.
I enjoyed Jack and his family, what a wonderful tight knit group. Sam, Jack’s brother is a kick and I would love to see a story that features him. I also like Pippa, Jack’s sister, her story is tragic and sad but she seems interesting and I liked her from the start. There is drama of course, Jack’s ex comes back into town and stirs up trouble which compounds the fact that Jem is very insecure after Phil lists one flaw after another as to why he cheated, what a jerk.
I really like Jem, she just wants to belong somewhere and while her parents never recovered from her brother’s death and basically cut her off, she watches Jack and his family and thinks of home. I like the two together, Jack has strong feelings right away and wants to move the relationship forward, yet she is caught off guard by the way Phil treated her and she needs to move slower. The secondary characters are interesting and add to the story, Avery, the young man who has to grow up fast but seems so responsible, Resa, her best friend who comes to help when the café opens and of course the engaging folks from town.
The story has a great pace and the suspense and mystery are interesting and add depth to the romance. The only problem or issue I had was I was still unsure of how her aunt died and was not sure why all the secrecy in the beginning. I do not know if this is the start of a series but there are several characters that I would enjoy reading more about. This is a great story that has all the right ingredients, romance a bit of suspense and some danger, a recommended read.
I give Cooking Up Love by Gemma Brocato 4 stars!