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A Tale of the Curious Cookbook
Emmett Gant was planning to tell his father something really important one Sunday morning—but his father passed away first. Now, nearly three years later, Emmett can’t seem to clear up who he should be with—the girl with the apple cheeks and the awesome family, or his snarky neighbor, Keegan, who never sees his family but who makes Emmett really happy just by coming over to chat.
Emmett needs clarity.
Fortunately for Emmett, his best friend’s mom has a cookbook that promises to give Emmett insight and good food, and Emmett is intrigued. After the cookbook follows him home, Emmett and Keegan decide to make the recipe “For Clarity,” and what ensues is both very clear—and a little surprising, especially to Emmett’s girlfriend. Emmett is going to have to think hard about his past and the really important thing he forgot to tell his father if he wants to get the recipe for love just right.
I fell in love with the cover of these series. Plus, I am familiar with all of the authors involved, although interestingly, I have NOT read their stories in quite a while. Yes, I have not read Amy Lane in over a year – I know she is a fan favorite in the genre but her stories are no longer what I am looking for. Not a sign of her quality writing of course, it’s just that, well, taste changes. Right? Anyway, so yes, this is my first Amy Lane since 2013.
This novella can easily be read as stand-alone (the first entry of Tale of the Curious Cookbook is written by R.J. Scott: For a Rainy Afternoon) because the only similarity in them is the cookbook. I thought the origin of the cookbook and how it can be ‘owned’ by different people is better explained in this one (compared to R.J. Scott’s). Recipes for the Heart: Mystical Meals and Dangerous Desserts, by Granny B is copied and passed on to family members, friends, relatives … and each recipe for different kind of situations: For Rainy Days, For Courting …
… and in Emmett’s case, he would need Food For Thoughts… for clarity.
Emmett needs it; he has wanted to have a big loud family for such a long time, ever since his mother left him, and his father, though loved him, was not very much of a talker. It had been quiet at Emmett’s house. Sure, Emmett has a good friend whose family welcome him with open arms, invite him to big shindigs and all. But Emmett wants his own, even if he must deny his own sexuality and dated a girl for it –she has awesome family that Emmett can be part of. Then there is Keegan, his snarky neighbor. Who may not have the big family Emmett wants, but whom Emmett feels so right to be with whenever they are doing things together.
This novella is opened with quite a sad scene. I immediately had tears in my eyes (damn you Amy Lane!). But no worries, in overall it is angst-lite story. I liked being involved in Emmett’s journey as he finally learned that he already had a family of his own. Maybe it started small, just two people, but family could be expanded with friends and other people who are important. It was wonderful when Emmett realized that.
Keegan was loud and colorful enough to brighten Emmett’s life. I loved the way he pushed his way in. I loved the contrast of Keegan and Emmett’s description of his own father, so for Emmett, he knows that there will be no more silent moments with Keegan in his life.
This could be a 4-stars read if not for one PERSONAL issue. I’m not really comfortable with the girlfriend situation. I am not a huge fan of one person being hurt in order for the main couple to be together. Duly noted that the girlfriend is not portrayed as a villain (it is one of my pet peeves in MM romance. I am a woman, I refuse to feel happy whenever my gender being written with bad lights, except if, you know, it’s part of a thriller/fantasy context maybe, because villain chick in that way could be cool) … but I still would like it better if such plot doesn’t exist altogether. As always, it’s a personal thing and may not be an issue for most readers. It’s still a good read, likable characters, sexy moments, and a CAT :).