Review By Veronica

Recipe for a Charmed Life is a delicious story that will captivate you right from the first chapter.

Favourite Quote:

“You Stevens women are extraordinary,” he said softly. “Don’t let anyone tell you differently.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

American chef Georgia May Jackson has one goal—to run her own restaurant in Paris. After a grueling decade working in Parisian kitchens, she is on the cusp of success. But in one disastrous night, Georgia loses her sous-chef position, her French boyfriend, and her sense of taste! Renowned for her refined palate and daring use of bold flavors to create remarkable dishes, Georgia is devastated to discover her culinary gift has simply…vanished.

When she receives a surprising invitation from her estranged mother, Georgia flees to a small island near Seattle hoping the visit will help her regain her spark in the kitchen. As she tentatively reconnects with her mom, a free-spirited hippie eager to make up for her past mistakes, Georgia realizes there is something about the enigmatic island she just cannot piece together. Good luck charms start appearing in the oddest places. Her neighbor is a puzzlingly antagonistic (and annoyingly handsome) oyster farmer. And her mom keeps hinting at a mysterious family legacy.

With the clock ticking and time running out to win her dream job in Paris, Georgia begins to unravel some astonishing secrets that make her wonder if the true recipe for a charmed life might look—and taste—very different than she ever imagined.

This is one of those books that flirts with that romance line. I would personally classify this book as more fiction than romance. It’s still a fabulous book, but if you are looking for something oozing with romantic moments, this book might not be for you. 

First, I must say that the food talk is so delicious and intoxicating. Georgia’s passion for food and cooking just leaps from the pages. Her character comes to life when she is cooking. There is a lot of charm in this book. You have the charm that comes from the foodie elements within the story; then, there is this charm that comes from the different locations in which this book takes place. We get to spend some time in Paris, which I don’t have to tell you is a wonderful place to escape to. There is just something about the City of Lights that just captures your heart. Most of the story takes place in San Juan, a little island near Seattle. This island came to life through Rachel’s lush and vivid descriptions. She really knows how to transport her into the setting of her book. Rachel found the right balance between detail and heart. 

The story is wonderful. It’s entertaining and engaging. The ebb and flow of the pacing is perfect. I loved the emotional twists and turns that Rachel included. This book really is about two things: family and rekindling your passion. Georgia is well on her way to fulfilling her dream of being a head chef at a top restaurant in Paris. The problem is that the happiness and joy Georgia once got from cooking for people has disappeared along with her sense of taste. On the night that was supposed to decide her fate in the cooking world, shit kind of hits the fan. Georgia finds her boyfriend having sex with another woman in the walk-in freezer, and her reaction to the matter causes quite a scandal. On a side note, I might have a slow clap after reading what Georgia did to her sleazy boyfriend. I am not going to tell you what she did; you will have to read the book to find out. While all this drama is happening, Georgia receives an email from Star, her mother, who left her when she was five years old. Star wants Georgia to come and visit her home located on San Juan Island. Georgia decides to go see her mom. She hopes that the time away from Paris will help her restore her sense of taste and her passion for cooking. She also wants to know why her mom disappeared from her life all those years ago. 

I loved Georgia’s journey and growth in this book. She is reconnecting with two important parts of her life: her mother and her cooking. As the book progresses, we see how interconnected these two elements are. There is this mystery around Star and the Stevens women in her family. They all seem to possess this element of magic that takes on different forms. For Georgia, her magical abilities centred around her cooking. She can bring wonder and joy to those who eat her food. I loved uncovering the secrets because I never knew where they would take me. The whole magical element added that extra special charm to the story. It makes it stand out in such a good way. There is a lot of family drama in this book. There are a lot of secrets, and past hurts that Georgia and Stars have to work through. Their relationship in this book will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. But you are going to love it. 

This book has a bit of romance between Georgia and Cole (the local Oyster farmer). Their growing relationship adds a bit of romantic, delicious fluff to the story. There are some enemies to lovers and forced proximity vibes to their relationship. It’s a clean romance, so the most that happens between these two is that they kiss. I enjoyed their relationship. There is a lot of tension between these two that is just so enjoyable, and I like their chemistry. It just worked for me. 

Recipe for a Charmed Life is a great book for those bookworms looking to escape the chilly weather for a few hours. 

Thank you, Berkley Publishing Group, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.