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Recipe for Life Paperback – 28 Apr 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752884395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752884394
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A rich and heady story, redolent of fine Italian cooking and Mediterranean sunshine (EVENING TELEGRAPH)

The descriptions of the Italian dishes are mouth-watering ... a great summer read (SOUTH WALES ARGUS)

Book Description

Escape to Italy with this sumptuous story of secrets and friendships under Mediterranean skies.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jane Alexander on 17 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Nicky Pellegrino's books since her first, Delicious. I loved that book but I think I love each subsequent one even more (which is rare and rather lovely). The covers suggest light romance but don't be deceived. Yes, there IS romance but it's never contrived, and certainly never easy. Pellegrino's characters are three-dimensional beings often dealing with difficult emotions and life lessons.

Pellegrino can summon place so well that you are literally transported. Her descriptions of southern Italy are so exquisite, you can nearly feel the sun on your face, the salt spray from the ocean, the heady scent of flowers and -of course - over and above all else - the food.

If Pellegrino weren't a writer (horrible thought), she would undoubtedly be a cook. Not a chef but a wondrous home cook, like the characters in her novels, weaving magic with food.

This novel takes us back to the Villa Rosa (which featured in The Gypsy Tearoom) and revisits the lives of some of the characters, many years on. It's a novel about choice and the message is fundamentally life-affirming. You cannot choose what happens to you but you can choose how to react to it. There is sadness - I won't lie - but the overwhelming message of this book is hopeful and I came away entranced and uplifted.

Highly recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 100 REVIEWER on 17 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Nicky Pellegrino writes charming books which simply ooze the smells, sights and flavours of Italy. This is her second book set in the (fictionalised) town of Triento in Southern Italy and some of the characters from The Gypsy Tearoom make an appearance, but it is not necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one. It's a warm hearted story about the importance of friendship and food. (Warning: this book will make you hungry!)

The heroine of the story is Alice. After a traumatic rape, she drops out of university in England, goes to stay with a friend in London and starts working as a waitress. The book is about her life as she slowly comes to terms with what happened to her and gradually discovers what she wants from life after events have knocked her severely off course. Triento plays a large part in the story as she spends time there and befriends an older woman, Babetta.

Elements of the story are autobiographical. The author Nicky Pellegrino was herself raped as a student and the initial chapters of Alice's story are very similar to her own experience. However it is not a book "about rape" - that's only a small part of the story.

It's a charming, somewhat predictable but very readable book. And I'll say it again: this is NOT the book to read if you've just started a diet, because the descriptions of food are totally mouth-watering.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kiwi Mary on 26 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Nicky's book is a joyful and easy way to pass an afternoon, one spent dreaming of Italian holidays to come and all manners of meals to be enjoyed with friends. A real feast of characters, imagery and unusual plot meanderings. I love how Nicky's metaphors mature along with the characters, particularly Alice and Babette. The former is about food and growth and the latter about nature and constancy -- and of course how the two entertwine. Pick this one up -- you won't forget the experience! (By the by, this book inspired our Book Club to its own yummy Italian feast...)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jo D'Arcy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
Alice is escaping her life, well she is trying. After a horrific night where she is raped, she drops out of university and moves to London and tries to find what it is she wants to do. All the time avoiding being on her own at night where she lives with her friend Leila; going back to Charlie who dumped her before that fateful night and now realises the mistake he made. Alice then blots out the days by working every hour as a chef in an Italian Restaurant where she meets Tonino.

Tonino gives her the opportunity to go to Italy to learn about cooking from his parents who run a little trattoria on the harbour in Triento . Here she discovers not just more love of food but the source of the fresh ingredients, picked straight from the ground, caught fresh from the sea. Different dishes for differing seasons not the monotony of the same dish day in day out as at the restaurant.

To make everything alright and for Alice to feel safe, Leila her friend comes with her to Italy, as her mother has bought Villa Rosa a wonderful house where she wants to paint the sky. This is where Babetta has lived all her life and she tends to the gardens of Villa Rosa

"Villa Rosa was so beautiful...The house was so simple really but it had gardens that tumbled in terraces all the way down to the sea. Its back was to the mountains and it faced a little courtyard with a pomegranate tree in the middle."

Babetta feels life her life is closing up all around her. There seems no purpose anymore in tending the Villa Rosa gardens when it is not occupied or even her own garden. Her husband, Nunzio is slowing closing up and does not talk anymore just sits in his chair on the terrace and looks out to the sky.
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