Review: A Taste of Pleasure by Chloe Blake

Reviewed by Sara

Danica (Dani) Nilsson loses her boyfriend and her job as a chef in one day. With her reputation in tatters, she leaves to visit her aging supermodel mother in Italy where she runs into her one night stand from over a year ago. Antoni (Toni) Lorenzetti, Dani’s fling, is also the nephew of her mentor, Chef Marcello. Both Dani and Toni are present when a tragedy occurs in Marcello’s kitchen and Dani steps up to save the whole evening service.

Toni wants Dani in his bed, but he’s not sure about having her in his kitchen. Begrudgingly, he asks Dani to help at his secluded farm to table restaurant in the countryside outside of Milan. Throw in a conniving ex-wife, a distraught teenage daughter, a meddling mother and the idyllic Italian scenery and the recipe for a tumultuous romance is set.

A Taste of Pleasure is, overall, an okay book. Chloe Blake does a wonderful job describing the beauty of Italy and the many amazing Italian dishes served throughout the book. Toni is a great multidimensional character that comes across as equally suave and at the end of his rope, as he’s pulled in many directions trying to do what’s best for his family and professional holdings. Sophie, Toni’s daughters, is also written well and is a character unto herself and not just a plot moppet put in to provide mayhem. My main problem with the book is Dani.

Dani is fat; she’s a size 16 and we learn this about her on the second page of the book. Dani’s is compared to her mother, an aging supermodel (think of Iman, at one point she even reminds Dani that she “slept with David Bowie”), Toni’s ex wife, a current model, and the size four restaurant hostess that her boyfriend, Andre, leaves her for. Dani is the other girl. You know. The girl who isn’t like the girls Toni has had before. Mostly, though, she’s just fat and her character arc revolves around how hard it is to find a dress, how hard it is to be around food and super skinny women, how people assume they know how healthy you are based on your weight and how hard it is to know whether a man truly likes you or if you’re just a convenient, one night walk on the wobbly-side.

I felt like I didn’t learn a whole lot about Dani aside from the fact that she’s fat and what little the author did disclose didn’t exactly endear me to Dani. Dani sleeps with Toni while she’s still with Andre; she makes rash decisions throughout the book that put a number of people in financial and professional jeopardy and she has a huge chip on her shoulder regarding her mother that is more related to her personal self-loathing than to her mother’s actual behavior.

As a fat (size 20) reader, I am sick to death of fat characters who spend the majority of the book bemoaning their size, pitted against skinny ex-wives and used to show men what “real women” are like. Being fat isn’t a character attribute, it’s a physical attribute. Why is it treated like a plot point?

A Taste of Pleasure was ok, but Dani’s character left a bad taste in my mouth.

Rating: C-

*ARC received from publisher for honest review.

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Taste of Pleasure
by Chloe Blake
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Kimani Romance

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