Okay okay okay, it’s real fantasy stuff – girl has great job, gets fired, gets offered another way more spectacular job within minutes, moves to spectacular location, falls in love, lives happily ever after.

But wait, there are attempts to give it more grit – a mother who dumped her as a child, a horrible car accident, face-offs with alcoholic but brilliant chefs, ghosts, and jilted ex-lovers. And a cute dog. Not forgetting that the whole is interspersed with recipes, in a similar fashion to stories that are way better {have you read Like Water for Chocolate ?}.  Hmmmm.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t put it down. For me, this story is about food, rich and seductive, flavours and smells, chocolate and chilli and cinnamon. Especially chilli. The words are heady and delicious and it was so easy to get lost in their sensuousness. O’Neal has a fabulous way of expressing situations and emotions, and especially all that is great about beautiful food. The writing is sumptuous like a ripe, juicy tomato, and has just as much verve. Too bad there is not some good hearty sourdough to serve it on.

I would recommend it if you’re after pure escapism.