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4.2 out of 5 stars190
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I have recently finished Summer of Love by Katie Fforde which I loved and so when I got the chance to read her latest book Recipe for Love I jumped at the chance. Katie is back again with her beautiful cosy writing style which instantly draws you into the story. I am sure most of you are familiar with Katie Fforde's work but for any of you who have yet to read one of her books let me explain that Katie's writing style is like a massage in writing form!

What I found different with this book compared to her previous books is that it had more of a modern feel to it and with this it brought different characters. For the first time in Katie's books there was a character I did not like from the word go and that was Cher. This wasn't a problem as her character is not meant to be liked after the situations she put Zoe in but she really did grate on me and I just wanted to shake Zoe and get her to stand up for herself more as I am sure most people would in her situation.

Zoe was a very warm and caring character and would do anything to help other people even if it meant putting herself in risky situations. I also loved the character of Gideon the judge although I did find him very similar to some of Katie Fforde's previous male characters but it's that age old saying if it's not broke don't fix it!

The storyline was something completely different to the authors previous books with the whole cooking competition which is what gives it a more modern feel but not to worry if any of you are like me and love the cosy country setting that Katie usually creates as there is still a good helping of this throughout the book.

So yet again our Queen of cosy chick-lit provides us with another must read. Thank you Katie Fforde let's hope it's not too long for the next book!
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2012
Katie Fforde has distinctively simple, yet beautiful, book covers and Recipe for Love is no exception.

I truly loved the characters in this book, except Cher (I wanted to pull her hair and push her face first into the mud) and Rupert's parents are hilariously awful! I also loved the concept of this - it was like a cross between Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off. If you hate cooking, don't let this put you off - the book doesn't require you to be a cooking-lover. There are certainly some descriptions that will make anybody's stomach rumble!

The story is wonderfully paced and easily devoured. Katie Fforde has created a warm and wonderful book that will keep you turning the pages until suddenly you find yourself at the end with a smile on your face and wanting more. This book is delicious chick lit at its best.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2012
Katie Fforde never disappoints. I've read all of her books and have never been sorry to read one of them. This one, as with all of them, creates entirely possible characters and situations and I devoured it in a day. I find the weaving of people from earlier books into new ones a charming device and as Katie does this, it gives an air of 'cosiness' and familiarity that makes the reader feel at home, instantly. Katie has the gift of making all her people absolutely believable. All are people one could know or have met and again, this adds enormously to the charm of the books, while it adds, also, to the humour and at times, exasperation that they create in the reader while never lessening the affection!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2013
The up to date idea of setting the story around a cooking competition was fun. But the story Recipe for Love didn't go anywhere. Zoe, a very helpful girl (and goody two-shoes) falls for one of the judges of a cookery competition, in which she is a competitor, and then indulges in some hanky-panky with said judge Gideon Irving(Shortly after this the half-ton of towelling and the Cath Kitson pyjamas were on floor....).
Zoe is so helpful that she manages to juggle the demands of a cookery competition with making a wedding cake from scratch, supporting a heavily pregnant friend and doing a fab croquembouche. However, helpful Zoe also helps herself to the attractive Gideon, thus leaving them open to blackmail. Judges and competitors shouldn't be canoodling. "It doesn't get better than this," as Masterchef's John Torrode would say, has new connotations and new lows in this book.. And it doesn't get any better! Recipe for Love goes nowhere! The characters are awful, with no depth at all. Katie Fforde tries to make them more charismatic by throwing every formula at them. Eg Gideon wants to 'educate' people about eating (like Jamie Oliver). The character of Zoe is flimsy and implausible. She is a graduate, yet doesn't seem to have an interest beyond cooking and deli establishing. She seduces Gideon because 'she wants him' and then she throws the competition by adding extra salt to her 'wonderful' dishes rather than coming clean and telling the programme producers what she and the delectable Gideon have been up to. When you create such one-dimensional characters, it is difficult to find the necessary padding to make them creditable or appealing. And this is the overall problem with this book. I simply didn't care what happened to the characters. A disappointing read from an author that I usually enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Katie Fforde clearly enjoys life and has a good time with her story telling; happiness in everyday pleasures glows warmly through her tale.

It's flippantly easy to compare `Recipe for Love' to a Mills and Boon with food or a Jilly Cooper romp through the countryside, all the same, like them, it really is great fun and a merry few hours of relaxing escapism.

Research has been done; I can almost see the author hovering interestedly behind the scenes of `The Great British Bakeoff' (Anna Fortune, her fictional judge really could be Mary Berry).

We are taken straight to the pressured venue of a tv cookery competition. Centring on `Somerby', which is a fabulous old country house, presently being refurbished by its charming owners Rupert and Fenella, who are imminently expectant parents to boot.

Zoe Harper is the contestant we are rooting for, the favourite to follow. The kind of girl who just can't help herself being helpful, a sweet sort who is perhaps just too good for her own good. Resourceful, down to earth and modest, the best kind of friend, as is immediately recognised by the frazzled couple.

Chavvy cheerless Cher, a determined fellow contestant brings a dangerous flash of nastiness to the mix. A pantomime enemy, saboteur extraordinaire, she means to win by fair means or foul. Her wise cracks are sharper than a chef's knife. A variety of other hopefuls make up the group that must of course be reduced one by one.

Farce like misunderstandings ensue as Zoe gets more deeply involved with helping Rupert and Fenella. His ancient aristo parents roll up, also `to help' in their hopeless fashion, a wedding being held at Somerby threatens to become a fiasco until Zoe waves her magic wand, even an impromptu Christening party causes her little trouble. All is grist to her mill until she realises she has fallen hard for Gideon, a glam guy who just happens to be one of the judges... well this is a romantic novel.

This is all enormous fun, involving to the extent that when fizzing glasses of Pimms and champagne are passed around I genuinely felt I was helping myself to one and joining in. My only complaint being that the reading made me jolly hungry, so enticing are the descriptions of delicious dinners, quickly whipped up treats and the ultimate triumph, a glorious (!) Croquembouche adorned with spun caramel glinting with the decoration of gold leaf physalis.

Does she win? Does it matter? "It's all about the journey!"
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2012
I started to worry when i got to about 30% of the way through the book (kindle edition), to find that the main character had already slept with the main guy, and i then thought, where else can this go!? Well, im now on 70%, and it turns out, not much can go on!
I'm truly disappointed with this book! I'm a Katie Fforde fan, and athough i've not liked ALL the books (living dangrously was another annoying one for me), i still had hoped for more! The main character is very, very weak. I know that there are some people that allow themselves to be a push over, but come on!
She's staying at a huge mansion type place, and she has ended up making dinner or tea for the judges, serving them, putting her position as a contestant in jeapordy so she can make a wedding cake for people she doesnt even know, waiting as a servant on the in laws of the house owner, spoken down name it! There is even a bit in the book where after she 's gone above and beyond for these people, she's asked if she can stay at the house during the time she is meant to be finding recipes for the finale of the competition.
The spoilt brat villain , Cher, could not get away with the stuff she is doing. It would be highly suspicious and she would be disqualified. No one is doing anything about anything! In order to be a nice person, it doesn't mean to be walked over in this way!

I'm starting to not want to even continue. It's just been pages and pages of her deciding if she likes Gideon or not....there is no spark between them. He cannot have fallen in love with her within 2days!!

There are so many annoying and obnoxious parts to this book, im thinking this is close to being the worst one i've read (of katie's).

This being said, im giving it 3 stars, because i do like a Katie Fforde book, and i'm also pregnant and it could be im getting angrier than i usually would in regards to a book!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2012
I have enjoyed most of Katie Fforde earlier books: escapism at its best, nice characters, nice plot. The realness of the characters was the most attractive feature of these books. Or maybe I have to correct this: the women are real, the men, well they are cardboard fantasies: the strong, handsome and silent types, a bit boring. But because the women are so real it doesn't matter.

Every new book was received with great enthusiasm: one (maybe two) very happy days.

This changed after 'Going Dutch'. Every new book became more and more formulaic. Summer of Love was really, really, really bad. I didn't even finish it. Every character was cardboard: drained of spirit and surprise. It seemed like the life has seeped out of Miss Ffordes novels. And that is bad. In this book she tries to retrieve something that resembles a plot. Thanks to Master Chef she achieves that. But the other part of storytelling is slightly less bad than in her previous book: the characterisation. The male character, as said previously not Miss Ffordes forte, is weak and bleak. The female main character is slightly less boring, because she can feel things like insecurity, joy, disappointment and resentment. That's something.

But nothing comes naturally. Everything feels forced. Nowhere the character springs of the page and joins you on the sofa to the kitchen, into the loo. You never have that fantastic experience that there is a new friend in your head: laughing with you, energize you in doing all these things that women in chicklit do. I am not a great `do-er' . But women in chicklit do things: they make things. Often they bake, clean up offices, have great parties with greater friends, make their own cloths etc. That makes me laugh. That's why I read these books. Because they are cheery friends. The only thing Miss Fforde does is cutting paper puppets with words. And that is even duller than it sounds.

I would say: Miss Fforde you can write really, really well. We need you here. But everyone needs some time off. Go and do something else: go on holiday, make your own knickers, go hunting in Botswana, make your own party under the duvet. Whatever. But don't think about us. And then ... write about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
This book is reasonably entertaining. The descriptions of the competition are fine and I liked the foodie bit. The love interest, Gideon Irving, the judge who gets involved with the heroine, Zoe, is a cross between Paul Hollywood and John Torode. It's frothy and full of posh people, so it's another side of life for most of us. But the heroine! What a doormat. Her roommate and fellow contestant the hateful Cher is constantly undermining, sabotaging and blackmailing her. Zoe does nothing. In a real competition, this would not be allowed. How spiritless she is. She ends up toiling and slaving for the upper class and awful Fen and Rupe, whose house she is staying in. She hardly knows them but still she works for them as if she is a servant, thus jeopardising her chances in the competition. Not to mention waiting on Rupe's vile parents and being insulted to boot.A spoiler alert, but she ends up working for minimum wage for another of Fen and Rupe's ghastly friends. This is despite the fact that she has a university education.
If you can ignore all that, it is a pleasant enough read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2013
I've read all of Katie Fforde's books and I'm sad to say this is just not up to her usual standard. The plot is thin, the characters are either lacking in depth or totally over the top and unbelievable. The heroine, Zoe, jumps into bed with Gideon the love interest almost straight away so where will it go next? Well, it's got lots of information for budding chef's and there's a little bit of blackmail by one of the other contestants but otherwise most of the book is just padding for the final chapters :- Gideon, has a wife, Zoe runs off, he tracks her down, he's getting divorced (just good friends for years, or so he says, always have to wonder about that convenient line),she forgives him, happily ever after.
I hope this was just a blip for Katie, her books are normally so much better. Yes, you know how they will end, but there is usually a lot more dialogue between the main characters before they realise they are both madly in love with each other. Plus,if I wanted so much information about cooking I would be watching Masterchef!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
This is basically Master Chef for literacy fans. An absolute smasher of a book, with various different characters all thrown into the mix, and Zoe is great, ploughing through every obstacle in her way. Fenella and Rupert are fabulous comforting characters, straight out of a Fiona Walker novel, providing a storyline of a different direction.

Gideon is a bit smarmy really, although not an entirely bad character, and you do begin to understand why Zoe likes him.

The plot twist is an expected one. However, maybe Fforde realises this as it is not given as much focus as you would expect from similar books, and it still gives the plot a nice edge. Although don't expect it to rock your world. Overall a tasty and delicious treat.

Reviewed by Charlotte Foreman on behalf of
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