Recipe For Persuasion

By Sonali Dev

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev is the second in a series about The Rajes, a royal family from India that immigrated to the US.  Dev’s books are an updated version of Jane Austen.  This one is as the title hints, loosely based on Austen’s book Persuasion

Ashna is a chef at an Indian restaurant in Palo Alto which was owned by her late father.  The problem is that Ashna can’t make any dishes other than her father’s recipes.  Without a menu update, the restaurant is struggling and on the brink of shut down.  Ashna is given the opportunity to participate in a cooking challenge against other talented chefs.  Each chef is partnered with a celebrity and Ashna is partnered with the very handsome Federico Silva, a recently retired Footballer from the English Premier league.  Sparks fly immediately but not just because Rico is good-looking.  But Ashna and Rico have a past and unfinished business.  Ashna is stuck in the past, blaming herself for her father’s death and keeping her estranged mother at bay for abandoning Ashna as a teen.  To have a chance at winning, Ashna must dig deep into herself and make decisions as to how she wants to move forward.

While the story is predicable as is the ending, I enjoy reading about the Raje family.  Ashna is not nearly as strong as her two cousins but by the end, she takes some ground in the right direction.  In this book, Dev touches upon some very real and painful subjects so this is not all light-hearted.  But these family dynamics, (apart from being from royalty), make us believe the Raje’s troubles are not so dissimilar from our own.  Finally, Dev also weaves cooking into this and the prior novel, and I just want to run out and eat at an Indian restaurant when I have finished reading. 

Dev’s books are enjoyable reads that take our minds off our own worries and let us sink into another imperfect world.