The Louisa Edwards Recipe:
Take 4 Heroes whose passion defines them
Combine with 4 uniquely intelligent heroines who have a keen sense of self
Add approximately 20 interesting secondary characters
A dash of M/M romance
Add 1 exciting city
Continually blend heaping cupfuls of humor and wit
Add about a 1 cup of emotional angst
Evenly pour 3 cups of competitive edge
Whisk in 10 tablespoons of creative energy
Frequently add 10 cups of exceptional dialogue
Evenly sprinkle 3 cups of relevant pop culture references
Gently fold in 8 cups of wickedly fun romance
Arrange your reading chair so you have enough light and are in a comfortable position. You will need several hours of uninterrupted time. Open the book, commence reading, and in about five minutes you’ll be transported and immersed in romance, food, laughter and fun.
In each of Louisa Edwards’s four culinary romances, her contemporary voice and style are tied together by a pulsating city and the language of food and love.
What is most striking about these books are the heroes: All four are chefs, and reading about these men, who work with passion and commitment because they want to be great at what they do, is sexy. I can’t think of anything sexier than a man who has a passion for his work. Oh wait, I can. When the passion these heroes feel for the food they cook is directed towards the women they love...well then yes, that’s even sexier.
In Can’t Stand the Heat, Chef Adam Temple is outraged when he finds out that food critic Miranda Wake is going to write a book exposing him as a possible fraud. The one thing he believes in, above all else, is his cooking. When he gets her alone he confronts her:
What the hell do you think you’re playing at?” he demanded. “Every time I turn around, there you are, fucking with me.”
Miranda flinched at his tone, but her eyes were steady on his. “I’ve told you before I’m doing my job. It’s nothing personal, it’s work.”
Adam sneered. “Yeah, and that’s what you don’t seem to get. My work is fucking personal. It’s who I am, everything I am, and if you mess with it, you mess with me.”
I think Adam speaks for all of Ms. Edwards’s heroes. Miranda is a self-centered and emotional heroine, and it’s the love of a good man that turns her around. Usually it’s the heroine who brings the hero around and is the stable constant in the push/pull of a brand new relationship. But in this case, it’s Adam’s ability to harness their passion and stand strong in the center of a hurricane of emotions that gives Miranda something to hold on to.
In On the Steamy Side, it’s the hero, Devon Sparks, who is all about the whirlwind of emotions and conflicts. Actually, he reminded me of Sebastian Dain in Lord of Scoundrels. OK, it’s a bit of a stretch, but bear with me: He too is a man who is emotionally discarded by his family and creates an abrasive personality and diva-like antics to protect him from the world. In the kitchen he’s a tyrant, but that’s only to cover up his fear of failure.
Like Sebastian, it takes the love of the heroine and a son he barely knows to teach him how to love and to cook with abandon. The love he has for them gentles his passion and give it a focus that isn’t hampered by doubt and anger.
Wes, from Just One Taste, is the hero who is trying to live down his past with energy, bravado and hard work. He’s matched with a heroine, who has not one, but two PhDs. The opposites attract scenario works with Wes; he’s an aspiring chef who is all about the feel, taste, smell and texture of food, and she’s a scientist who is all about observing the chemical reactions of food. How they view food is how they view life. After meeting Rosemary, Wes realizes he doesn’t have to run from his passions; he can embrace them.
Max, the hero from Too Hot to Touch (which was released today, August 2), is a charming adventurer. He lives in the moment, but his Zen approach to life isn’t about antics or diva-like behavior. His passion isn’t revealed through histrionics, but rather by trying to experience anything and everything he can. He’s traveled the world apprenticing with some of the great chefs and his thirst for knowledge about food and cooking knows no bounds.
Realizing that what he’s been searching for far and wide is right in front of him makes Max a man who not only craves passion in his life, but can recognize the things that inspire it.
Adam, Devon, Wes and Max are all are passionate, creative and just a bit egotistical. What makes them interesting is that they also come with doubts, fears and worries. What makes them tick is their passion. It’s a heady thing when a man has a zest for the work he loves, but it’s even more exhilarating when he turns that commitment and drive towards the woman he loves.
Marisa is a television producer by day and at night she loves to read. She reviews for the Heart 2 Heart blog.