Cover Image: Recipe for Persuasion

Recipe for Persuasion

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Member Reviews

I love Jane Austen. I love Jane Austen retellings. I did not love this one. I was bored so often and had to push myself to finish it. I really really wanted to love it, so I was disappointed when I didn't. It felt sluggish and the parts I found most interesting had to do with other character's backstories and not the main Hero and Heroine's stories. Also this is an extremely loose retelling. I wouldn't have ever compared it to Persuasion at all. 

There were a few comments about politics and it included previous presidents. I didn't care for this at all. Obviously, it is the writer's choice to include those comments but I do not enjoy things like that in my romance novels. I am reading for enjoyment, and to "escape".

Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for this advanced reader's copy. All opinions are my own.
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This was a fun retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion in a way that only Sonali Dev can do. It is a second chance romance but also deals with some serious issues. Also, if you like cooking shows you will enjoy that part of the storyline and also want to get in the kitchen and whip something up.

Recipe for Persuasion is part of a series but it stands on its own.
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Persuasion is my favorite Austen and I was excited to see what Sonali Dev would do with the story! Alas, the time slipped away from me and it’s now been two years. A me problem, not a book problem.
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FINAL DECISION: I loved this book! The first book in the series was okay but not incredible, but this one had such emotional depth and just kept me turning pages. The interwoven stories of daughter and mother worked so well together. The balance between romance and personal growth (aka "women's fiction") was well developed.

THE STORY: Ashna Raje is desperate to save the restaurant she inherited from her father. She decides to join a "cooking with the stars" reality show as one of the featured chefs. She ends up paired with Rico Silva, a recently retired soccer player -- and her first love. When their first meeting goes viral and makes them fan favorites, Ashna has no choice but to work with Rico to save her restaurant. At the same time, Ashna also is facing the return of her mother who abandoned her and Ashna's father and now wants to build a relationship with her.

OPINION: I really loved this book. It is more women's fiction than romance, but the romance was good enough to keep me interested in the book (although I could have done with much more Ashna and Rico!) Ashna's story was complicated and sad and oh so painfully real.

Admittedly, the book relies on one of my least favorite tropes -- people don't speak to one another. And yet, isn't that often the problem that we have. We don't speak truthfully to one another. We deflect and avoid -- and so it is here.  I figured out the ultimate explanation long before the characters did, and yet, I so enjoyed the journey. These characters really reached me.

The premise of the cooking show was fun and worked as such an interesting reflection of Ashna and Rico's relationship. I simply adored Rico and can't wait to read more about him in the next book (as a secondary character).

The book was crowded with characters -- but in a good way. I enjoyed the community of this book and how Ashna learns to see and accept that there are people who are there for her and see her as her essential self.

WORTH MENTIONING: Content warnings for rape and suicide.

CONNECTED BOOKS: RECIPE FOR PERSUASION is the second book in The Rajas series. The romance here is self-contained but there are overlapping characters in the series. This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
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This novel is a retelling of Persuasion. I found this retelling to be very charming, and I liked it better than the Pride and Prejudice retelling. It was nice to revisit the Raje siblings again. I look forward to reading their love stories! Thus, Sonali Dev managed to capture Jane Austen’s spirit by also modernizing it and showcasing India’s culture and customs! I also find it very creative that she is managing to retell all of Jane Austen’s novels! I not only recommend this novel to fellow Austenites, but also to those who want to learn about Indian culture. I recommend this for fans of Bride and Prejudice, Ayesha At Last, and Aisha!
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I have read a few Jane Austen adaptations, inspirations, and retellings. A lot of them are not very good and come across as fan fiction, but others who use Austen's framework lightly and tell their own story are usually successful. Recipe for Persuasion is one of the successful inspirations. Though this is the second book in the Rajes series, it can be read independently. 
In this powerful and nuanced second chance romance, we get the central romance as well as a strong story line featuring a contentious relationship between mother and daughter. Chef Ashna Raje fights to keep her late father's dream and his Palo Alto Indian restaurant afloat while clashing with her mother, who feels Ashna should pursue her own dream inside of clinging to her father's failing dream. In a fit of defiance, Ashna signs on to a reality TV cooking show, hoping the publicity and prize money will fend off her financial woes and reinvigorate the restaurant. This decision places Ashna squarely in the path of Brazilian football sensation Rico Silva, the man whose heart Ashna shattered in high school, who always lurks in the back of her mind, and her new partner on Cooking with the Stars. 
  I normally am not a fan of reality television featuring in books, but it works in this novel because it allows the characters to show their external and internal feelings. The chemistry between Ashna and Rico sizzles, mostly through silent eye communications that speak volumes when the right words can't be found. We are also given insight into Ashna's strained relationship with her mother in touching and at times difficult flashbacks to her parents' complicated past. As a reader I can understand both Ashna's and her mother's points of views and I don't fault them for their feelings, but of course things would have been a lot easier if they were able to communicate with one another. I was invested in both story lines and thought both were equally balanced. I did, however, wish we had a little more insight to Rico's parents and his unique upbringing. Overall, I really enjoyed this smart romance with depth and look forward to picking up the other two books in this series.
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Maybe it's my Jane Austen-loving heart, maybe it's my obsession with reality television. Whatever the case, when I heard about RECIPE FOR PERSUASION, I jumped at the chance to read it. While there were certainly elements I enjoyed, this book was a lot heavier than I was expecting (or hoping to read at the time) and ultimately, I felt the characters' trauma and pasts overshadowed the romance. 

Please note, there's nothing wrong with a heavier or more angsty romance, but please, let us know ahead of time. There was no content warning to accompany this book, so I was really surprised to find that the heroine, Ashna, has abandonment issues, depression and severe anxiety (all stemming from a lifetime of parental neglect). It's... a lot, right off that bat. That combined with a DECADE LONG misunderstanding between her ex (the hero) had me a little frustrated throughout my read. 

⭐⭐⭐
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I'm a sucker for anything Jane Austen-related, so I'm loving all these retellings of her work that are currently being published. I feel like most retellings tend to focus on Pride and Prejudice -- which is fantastic in its own right -- but as a result, her other novels are often overlooked, and in my opinion, Persuasion is a hidden gem. Sonali Dev did a fantastic job with this retelling -- I can't wait to read her take on Sense and Sensibility next!
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This was a great twist on Jane Austen and I always love a good book about food. Celebrity guests are also always great for books like this.
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Austen retellings are my jam! This was a fun romance and I enjoyed all the food and cooking references. I loved the characters and will definitely check out other books by this author!
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I liked the first one better, but I liked the characters in this one a lot. I really loved the mother daughter relationship. The topics in this one moved me and I did tear up. This deals with some pretty heavy issues, and the main character suffers from PTSD - the result of emotional abuse and a traumatic death. The beginning felt a little slow and the end felt a little rushed.
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Who doesn't love a multicultural modern retelling of Jane Austen's "Persuasion"? Ashna and Rico were childhood sweethearts until trauma tinged with miscommunication and misunderstanding drove them apart. Now, reunited as adults, everything comes flooding back. The story deals heavily with Ashna's familial trauma and disfunction. One of the things I loved about it was actually the realistic approach to addressing that trauma, as well as the complexity of the characters. The heroes aren't as shiny as they first appear, and the villains aren't as dark. I especially loved the women of this story, and their multi-faceted lives and characters. None of them are JUST mothers or daughters or chefs or friends or aunts. There's a lot going on in every dynamic relationship. The ending was sweet and satisfying, but I have to admit that the story dragged on too long for me. I love some good turmoil and uncertainty, but I found myself really frustrated with Ashna by the halfway point. And while I'm sure her avoidance is true to the reality of trauma, it makes for a sluggish and frustrating story. I wanted to shout "Get on with it!" many, many times at her repetitive denial and avoidant behavior.
Trigger warnings (spoilers?) for this book: family trauma, marital rape, suicide, neglect, alcoholism
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I am a sucker for Jane Austen adaptations and this doesn’t disappoint. I also like it was told from a different cultural point of view.
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I have to admit that I started off lukewarm on this title, but by the middle I was hooked and rooting for Ashna and Rico (and Ashna and Shobi). Can't wait to read Yash's story next....
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I always enjoy Sonali Dev's books. Recipe for Persuasion was good. 

At first, I was not a huge fan of the book. I was failing to see the parallels to Jane Austen's Persuasion. However, as the book went on I realized it is loosely based on Austen's work. Once I realized that, I just enjoyed the story as a story written by Dev and less as a retelling. 

I found the initial setting very confusing. It got clearer as the book went. I liked the different character, but at times the amount of different characters got to be a bit much. 

Overall, I would say pick this up if the synopsis sounds good to you and less as an Austen retelling. 

I received an eARC from Harper Collins Publishing through NetGalley. All opinions are 100% my own.
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Ashna Raje is desperate to save her late father's legacy, a struggling Thai restaurant. Desperate enough to agree to be a chef on a Dancing with the Stars-esque cooking competition. She'll win the prize money and revive the business. No problem. Until she meets her celebrity partner, that is--Rico Silva, a man from her past and a worldwide football star. He's back in her life with unclear motives, but there's no question that they're more drawn to each other than ever.

Like the previous book in this series, this is only loosely based on Jane Austen's Persuasion, and this is a universe in which Persuasion exists. One character references it hilariously, regarding Silva's motives for suddenly appearing. Ashna and Rico's chemistry is scorching, but can they make it work this time?

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the ARC to review. All opinions are my own.
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FULL REVIEW ON FRESH FICTION
Such deeply-felt emotions are in the careful and adept hands of author Sonali Dev, who has written a beautifully heartfelt novel, loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The Raje family is full of interesting characters, and they are all fiercely loyal to one another. Trisha and DJ, the couple from PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND OTHER FLAVORS and other family members make appearances throughout the novel and are fun to see again. There’s an intriguing side story of Ashna’s mother and many of the decisions she made in her life--namely, deciding to return to India and leave her husband and Ashna in California--which answers some of the questions Ashna has always had about her mother. Every scene, description, and thought is meticulously described in great detail, immersing readers in RECIPE FOR PERSUASION from start to finish. The end does drag on somewhat, but all loose ends are tied up to an ultimately satisfying conclusion. And luckily for all of us, there are more Rajes with stories to be told.
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I liked Ashna and Rico, and I enjoyed the reveal of their secrets, but it just made me sad that they hadn't communicated better earlier (I know it’s a common trope in romances, but I don’t love it). Plus, I found the cooking show setting a little cheesy. I also didn’t see a deep connection with Jane Austen’s Persuasion, as the back cover copy stated there would be.
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A fantastic reimagining of Jane Austen's Persuasion.  Ashna Raje is a chef with a struggling family restaurant, and enters a reality cooking competition to win the much-needed funds for her restaurant.  The only catch - she's been paired up with Rico Silva, who is her (secret) high school love.  Their chemistry is still off-the-charts, but there's a lot of history to unravel if the two are ever going to pull off the win.  A fun, contemporary romance with great callbacks to the original, without ever losing focus on the story being told.
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***Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
Just as good as Dev's Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors! I love the characters.
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