Sunday, October 2, 2011

'Angelina's Bachelors'

Naming a genre for a particular type of book can be a tricky business.  There is Mystery/Thriller, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Apocalyptic fiction.  The list is endless.  But the name of a rather new genre doesn't sit well with me:  Chick Lit.  When I see those words, I wonder why men's fiction isn't given a 'clever' genre.  I could come up with a few; for instance, 'Men in Their Caves', or 'Testosterone Trauma'.  

When I was given a copy of 'Angelina's Bachelors', I knew that because a woman's name was in the title, the genre would be a given.  That's an obvious clue.

But the book is much more than that.

It's the story of Angelina D'Angelo, a woman living in a tight-knit South Philadelphia neighborhood, and she is gifted with the greatest of culinary skills.  She has been happily married for five years to Frank, the love of her life.  But when tragedy strikes, Angelina is left bereft, emotionally and financially.  Although she is surrounded by a loving family, they cannot provide exactly what she needs:  A job.  One night, overcome by grief, Angelina spends an entire night cooking, and cook she does!  She makes so much food that she gives it to her neighborhood friends.  A gentleman new to the neighborhood offers her a proposition:  For a generous salary, she will cook for him twice a day, six days a week.

Soon, the group grows to seven, and Angelina finds herself surrounded by support and encouragement, which results in a new direction in her life.

The story is written by Brian O'Reilly, the creator of Dinner: Impossible, with assistance from his wife, culinary writer Virginia O'Reilly.  Although 'Angelina's Bachelors' is a quick read, I was filled with warmth for the well-written characters, and was delightfully surprised a couple of times.  

This is a perfect Autumn read.  Snuggle on the couch with cup of hot tea in hand.  And don't forget to try the recipes.  

If you make too much, I live in Oregon.

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