Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the author.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads) A story about best friends, childhood dreams, and the healing power of Chinese food…Toni Lau and Dion Chan were connected from birth — first via their parents’ jointly-owned restaurant, then via their bone-deep friendship. But children grow up, and Toni leaves their sleepy hometown looking for more than it can offer.Now Toni is back, raw with the knowledge that not all childhood dreams come true. Dion is on the brink of realising that both his own ambitions and his childhood friend have the power to derail all of his hard work. But loving Toni — and winning her love in return — has always been on his wish list. Can Dion really put her on the back burner while frying up his chef dreams? Or is it possible that together they can come up with a recipe for happiness?
What worked for me (and what didn’t): I liked this little book. The style was engaging and fun and, at just over 100 pages, it was an easy evening’s read. Toni and Dion are both Australians of Asian descent and the mix of Australian culture and Chinese culture was a bonus in the book.
I really enjoyed that no attempt was made to “Americanise” the text – I don’t think US readers would have a problem with understanding it and it made me feel more at home. It was after all, an Australian romance, set in Australia. It should sound Australian don’t you think?
Dion has been in love with Toni for years but Toni has never seen him in a romantic light. After coming home post-divorce and seeing Dion for the first time in 5 years, she’s most pleasantly surprised at the hot body he’s grown into (I picture him a bit like a slightly older version of Mike Chang from Glee). Yum.
Toni’s turn around was very quick. In the circumstances, perhaps a bit too quick. But, I did like that Dion acknowledged it and I LOVED that during the main part of the story (pre-epilogue) Dion and Toni merely had to decide to be together. They didn’t have to solve all of their relationship challenges – just decide to face them – together. I LOVED that Dion saw Toni’s career goals as important and encouraged her to continue on that path – even if that meant some challenges for their relationship. His willingness to compromise and sacrifice in order for her to be happy in her career for me, boded well for their future together.
For me, what let the book down a little was the epilogue. While I was glad to see that some time had passed and they were still together and happy, there were a few things there which made me uncomfortable. Both had made some significant decisions apparently without the input of the other and, given their relationship status, this surprised (and disappointed) me. In fact, I wasn’t actually sure at the end what decision the couple agreed upon. I won’t go into more, as I feel it would be too spoiler-y, but , for me, the epilogue had some inconsistencies compared the dynamic of the relationship I saw in the earlier part of the book.
This is the first book I’ve read from Ms. Kwan. Despite my misgivings about the epilogue, I liked it a lot and I certainly look forward to more from her in the future.