A paean to both food and love this is a romance with a difference

Dine With MeDine With Me by Layla Reyne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is very food focused and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but at times it does overshadow the romance somewhat.

It also has a general air of melancholy for a long time as the reader knows what is going on with Miller while Clancy doesn’t. It meant for most of the book I was wanting to kick Miller up the backside and tell him to stop being so defeatist.

Now, that might seem a bit harsh, given that I truly could understand Miller’s fears of losing what he felt made him him – his sense of taste and his reason for being a chef – but I guess I’m a bit less sympathetic to characters who are willing to throw the towel in having watched my mother fight but still lose her life just three weeks after a liver cancer diagnosis. YMMV.

There’s also a lot of focus given to Miller’s ex-wife (never sexual, only ever his best friend) and while I absolutely adored Sloane, sometimes she took a role I’d have prefered to see Clancy move into – or rather move into a little bit quicker than he did.

But, the fact that there was a prominent female character who wasn’t an utter bitch and who also wasn’t just there to prop up the scenery was such a pleasant change.

I will say, although this takes place over a relatively short period of time, I absolutely 100% believed they could have fallen for each other that fast. They had an instant connection not only through the love of food and good eating, but each seemed to know instinctively when the other needed support.

It’s a departure from the action-adventure I’m used to from Layla and I think she handled the unusual narrative really well. I am a total foodie, so I loved the incredibly descriptive passages of text as Miller takes Clancy on his tour of Last Suppers before he finally reaches the point of realising there is something worth living for outside of being a chef.

The epilogue was wonderful but I would have loved to have seen a bit more of what led up to that on page and not just in passing. Still, full praise to Layla for writing this book and for creating something quite different.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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