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Recipe for Life [Paperback]

Nicky Pellegrino
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

28 April 2011

A recipe for life should be a simple thing: love and happiness, family, friends and a little food. But life is rarely straightforward...

Alice wants to make the most of life - after all, she knows how fragile it can be - and knows she never feels more alive than when she's cooking.

Babetta has spent a lifetime tending the garden of her tiny house on the Italian coast, supplying food to feed a family now grown and gone.

One summer these two women are brought together in a crumbling Mediterranean villa, with the shared language of food. There, under the heat of the Italian sun, or the shade of the pomegranate tree, secrets will be spoken, fears and hopes shared. But life's lessons are not learnt easily.

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Recipe for Life + Summer at the Villa Rosa + When in Rome
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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: 20 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,282 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entrancing and uplifting 17 Jun 2010
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 50 REVIEWER
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A slice of life, Italian style 26 July 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Be who you want to 20 Aug 2011
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Absolutely loved it.
Published 24 days ago by Anita Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it!
Published 1 month ago by Florence Good
5.0 out of 5 stars Two worlds become one
this book carries on from The Villa Girls. Both really good books but this one I liked best. Finished too quickly tho.
Published 4 months ago by Tanya Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastical
Fantastic , loved it , transforms you in italy, you can almost feel the sun on your back , and smell and taste the food
Published 6 months ago by Maria Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Need a good read for your holiday?
an excellent holiday read. It is the first Niky Pellegrino book for me but it won't be the last! I thoroughly enjoyed it,
Published 13 months ago by Ms Jane F Gilmour
5.0 out of 5 stars A holiday read with a bit of bite!
I've read this book twice now and love it. It's more than a light hearted holiday read, both the main characters have their fair share of problems but the location and the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Joyce Hilton
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
It was a good read, made me really wish I could go and live in Italy right now! though this has been my dream for a long time now, but this just reinforced it for me.
Published 13 months ago by uglybug
5.0 out of 5 stars Italian Perfection
Evokes the feeling of Italy, long lunches, hot sun and romance! A satisfying read, and on a par with all Nicky Pellegrino's books
Published 13 months ago by JacquieT
1.0 out of 5 stars I am really disappointed with this book
The story is very predictable, there is nothing which drives it forward, the characters are mediocre. I feel sorry I bought it.
Published 15 months ago by Tatyana Kichukova
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipe for Life
This was a truly wonderful book, it was first read by Nick Pellegrino. One is transported to Italy, and it just draws you into another world.
Published 17 months ago by Jean
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