Book Review: The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino

Emma Codd

Currently based in the delightful town of Motueka, Emma is pursuing her passion for the written word and yoga teaching. Her motley background and eclectic interests provide Emma with much to write about many things, which she mostly does online. She is also busy unleashing her inner fiction writer.

Before you start reading The Food of Love Cookery School, you need to know two things: this book will make you want to (immediately) book a holiday to Sicily, and it will leave you permanently day-dreaming about food. The latest novel by New Zealand based author Nicky Pellegrino has the perfect balance of all the right ingredients, and is a definite must-read for all chick-lit fans.

Four women, from very different backgrounds, find themselves sharing a house in the little Sicilian town of Favio. Hosted by the handsome and charming Luca Amore, they are spending a week at the That’s Amour cooking school, learning about the food and culture that this Italian town is famous for. Poppy is newly divorced and seeking adventure; Valerie is not sure how to move on from the loss of the love of her life; Tricia is looking for an escape from the stress of her routine; and Moll, a food blogger, is completely besotted with food. As they discover the joys of chocolate, wine, olive oil, and Italian men, the life of each woman is forever changed.  

Admittedly, I am a fan of armchair traveling. I am also a fan of chocolate, cooking, and small-town Italian culture. The food of Love Cookery School, therefore, offered me everything I could want in a book, and then some. Pellegrino has a beautiful turn of phrase, and has immaculately captured the full experiences of her characters. She brings the food and setting completely to life so that readers can taste the food on their tongues, and feel the Mediterranean breeze on their skin. (Also brought to life was the envy I felt for her characters experiences, and a very definite need to pack my bags for Italy.)

The Food of Love Cookery School is written from the points of view of all five of the main characters. Pellegrino has pulled this off with complete fluidity, and this technique enables readers to successfully get to know each of them intimately. Her familiar and personal style drew me in from the first page, and for the rest of them, I felt like another member of the holiday party.

This was the first novel of Pellegrino’s I have read and I was thrilled to discover that this is her seventh, meaning I have a lot more of her writing yet to enjoy. The Food of Love Cookery School is entirely responsible for keeping me up at night when I should have been sleeping, but I am grateful it did. This is a delicious, guilt-free reading indulgence that I highly recommend.


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