I was very excited to read this book because I’ve really enjoyed the author’s two previous trilogies and I wanted to see how her attempt at a standalone romance novel would turn out (especially without the suspense elements). I’m so sad to say that it didnt live up to my expectations.
The one thing you’ll consistently see me saying about this author’s books are that they are very fast paced and I always end up finishing them pretty quickly. However, this one turned out to be very slow paced and though I couldn’t figure out the exact reason, I had quite a bit of trouble with the writing style. I just kept wanting to put it down but I persevered and managed to finish it. As the main premise of the book is the two MCs on a culinary tour, we get some beautiful, mouth watering and delectable descriptions of amazing food and wine and it was a delight to read. As I’m pretty unaware of most of the high end food mentioned, I instead enjoyed reading about the different kinds of wines and the yummy and decadent desserts. The locations of the culinary tour covers some wonderful places across America and I almost felt like I was traveling alongwith them. This journey was definitely the best part of the book. The book is also pretty emotional towards the last third, because one of the MCs is sick and refusing treatment, and I ended up shedding a lot of tears. But I still didn’t have an easy time reading it. I had a tough time differentiating between the two POVs which usually doesn’t happen to me, and that’s probably one reason it took me a while to get through.
The romance is instalove because it all happens in ten days, but it was believable and definitely felt brought on by the heightened circumstances. I really liked Clancy, who is a complete foodie and his heartfelt appreciation of all the food he is introduced to was great to read. He is also a very compassionate doctor and I could totally feel how much he wanted to be an oncologist. Miller on the other hand is a famous Michelin Star chef and while I could understand some of his reasoning behind not wanting treatment, it was mostly rubbish. As someone who has an amazing family and a great group of friends, I found it callous that he didn’t want to give anyone even the chance to say goodbye. There was a lot of push and pull between the two of them, mainly because Miller has resigned himself to die and doesn’t wanna get close but Clancy doesn’t let him go. I liked the development of their friendship and love story but the writing style made me feel a bit detached from them. Sloane is Miller’s ex-wife but she plays a significant part in his life and this book and I actually liked getting to know more about their friendship over the years too. Both their families are also wonderful and supportive and it was nice to see all characters being so loving towards each other.
To conclude, this is probably my least favorite of Layla’s books. Without the suspense elements of her other books, this one felt very slow paced and took me a while to get into the groove. The love story is emotional and I liked it, but it’s not something I consider memorable. However, if you like reading about amazing food and wine, you might like this book. I would definitely suggest not going into this book hungry.
PS: Thank you to Carina Press and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.