“The more you read, the more things you will know.” ― Dr. Seuss
I admit the first thing that caught my attention about Angelina’s Bachelors was the title. I was almost an Angelina myself. Yes, that’s right. Angelina Ferrari. It leaves no question as to my ethnic origins does it? But then, the decision to go with using both my grandmothers’ names instead was made and Angelina was set aside.
I also liked the cover. My mother had an apron almost identical to the one the woman in the picture is wearing. I have a soft spot for aprons, which from what I read, are coming back into style.
Finally, the subtitle: A novel with food. This sold me the book. I love books with recipes. Twenty-three recipes are sprinkled throughout this book. Mostly Italian, they have names like: Stracotta, (Italian Pot Roast), Aubergine Napoleons, Lasagna Provencal, and Marinated Unagi (Eel!) over aborio rice patties. The recipes are the contribution of author, Brian O’Reilly’s wife, Virginia. I haven’t tried any of them yet but I intend to.
Most women’s fiction is written by women. I found the fact that the author was a man interesting, too. Brian O’Reilly is the creator and executive producer of Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible. There are several men in this story – the bachelors of the title – and he does an excellent job representing the male point of view. In the conversation with the author at the end of the book, he says that his wife provided the women’s perspective.
Set in the Italian neighborhood of South Philly around Passyunk Avenue, Angelina’s Bachelors is the story of a woman whose husband gets out of the bed at two am where he is sleeping next to her and sneaks into the kitchen to steal a forbidden chunk out of her amazing cake (Frangelico Chocolate Dream Cake and yes, the recipe is included). He then proceeds to drop dead.
“Sheer chocolaty pleasure. His last breath was a sigh of pure delight.”
The rest of the story is about how his widow, Angelina D’Angelo, survives his cruel and untimely death. The plot has an interesting twist or two and the Philly scenes combine to create a true sense of place.
This is a curl up with a cup of hot chocolate kind of book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
How many of you like recipes in the books you read? Do you think that they take away from the story?