In the interest of full disclosure, I need to mention that Sera is one of my oldest writing friends, but our preexisting relationship has no effect on this review. My opinion is my own.
It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together
Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?
This book is a trip, from start to finish. Val is a protagonist with a single goal: preserve the character of her East Ward neighborhood, which includes her family’s Puerto Rican restaurant. So when she finds out the Philip is a Wagner—as in Wagner Development—she drops him.
Meeting Val is an eye-opening experience for Philip, who didn’t truly consider the effects of his father’s company until she pointed them out to him. But he’s willing to learn and put in the effort to make amends— because he truly wants to change, and not just to impress Val.
There’s a bit of a slow burn afoot here: after being hurt in the past, Val is reluctant to jump into something new… even moreso after she finds out who Philip is: she needs to feel comfortable with him, and isn’t going to fall into bed with a handsome face. But when that moment finally happens, wow just wow—fireworks!
The descriptions of food has me drooling, and between Val cooking and a date at a posh French restaurant, I spent most of the book hungry. This book is truly an homage to the culinary arts.
I would absolutely recommend A Delicious Dilemma. I read an earlier draft of this book a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it, but this finished product blew me away. Val and Philip come from very different backgrounds, but they are similar in so many ways. They’re both hard workers and determined to succeed in their respective careers, and I love how they bonded over their shared passion for the Star Wars universe. I can’t wait to read Sera’s next book.