Publication Day ARC Review – A Taste of Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot

This is the fifth title that I have read and reviewed by Mandy Baggot.  I really enjoy her style of writing and the way she includes contemporary references.  Of course, this one was inspired by her adventure on Ready, Steady Cook and you can easily sense that inspiration as the story develops.  If you’d like to read a couple of my previous reviews, here are a couple of links: Staying Out for the Summer and Christmas by the Coast.

I am grateful to Embla books for the digital ARC gifted to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Lydia Broom is living her second-best life. With her dreams of being a chef left in the dust she instead finds solace writing about the dishes she wished she created. When Lydia’s sent to Corfu on an assignment, she’s excited to see what culinary delights the island has to offer, but nothing seems to tickle her fancy – until she tastes the creations of local cook, Thanos Nicolaidis.

After one sizzling afternoon in the kitchen together, Lydia and Thanos both allow themselves to dream of the futures they desperately want. And as they grow closer, sharing secret ingredients and family recipes, Thanos begins to realise he has to show Lydia the parts of him he’s done so well to hide…

Get ready for the hottest Greek meze on the menu as Lydia and Thanos discover that amid the sirtaki dancing and the smashing plates, they might just be cooking up their very own love story.

Review

A Taste of a Greek Summer is a fabulous escape to the Greek island of Corfu.  We are transported to a place where food and family take front seat and life falls into place along the way.

Lydia is a little bit broken, and we discover how deeply she has been affected by betrayal as the story unfolds.  Her former passion for cooking has been forced to take a back seat and she is unable to even consider working with food ever again.  As a lead character, Lydia is perfect and her relationship with her best friend and colleague Caroline is the perfect foil to her cautious nature.  As Lydia craves Michelin inspired food, Caroline craves anything that has been in recent contact with a deep fat fryer.  None of this is helped by her difficult relationship with her parents.

Thanos is the archetypal Greek God.  Described as tall dark and brooding he is definitely a reason to consider Corfu as a holiday destination.  That said, he’s not just eye candy, he is a kind gentle man with a strong sense of family and responsibility.  He may be a gifted chef who can create unrivalled food, he is also a brother and a part of a lovely community. 

Of course, Lydia is only visiting Corfu as part of a magazine assignment so there’s no point in them becoming involved as it will be over before it has begun.  However, what they can do is help each other from a culinary perspective.  Thanos needs to recognise his ability and Lydia needs to rediscover her passion for the culinary arts.  With help from a meddlesome octogenarian and a street dance-loving teenager, there’s an enjoyable summer to be experienced.

Ismena was probably my favourite character.  Whether you’ve visited the Greek islands or the mainland, you have definitely met a woman like her.  Fiercely determined and impossible to defy.  I could imagine her tiny house and her grumpy cat.

This is a fun book, and it has a comedic undercurrent that is a signature style for Mandy Baggot.  With Caroline’s sketchy itinerary and Ismena’s increasingly wilder publicity stunts, there’s a lot going on.  But this light-hearted story has romance at its core and a generous portion of sexual tension.

Learn more about Mandy Baggot here

Follow Mandy on Twitter.

Join Mandy’s book group on Facebook.

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