Petruzziello’s debut romantic comedy tells a delicious tale of an American’s adventures abroad as a culinary public relations specialist looking for true love.
Alex Corso’s reputation as a PR whiz lands him a job in the heart of Italy working for Eleanora Persini at Zero Otto Marketing. Soon, he’s rubbing elbows with Europe’s most popular television cooking personalities and sidestepping paparazzi. For Alex, the opportunity is a dream come true—in part because it allows him to meet his secret crush: Amanda Jones, a famous actress-turned-cookbook author. At the same party, he’s assigned to manage the Danish television star and cook Pernille Bjørn, and soon afterward, his life becomes a whirlwind. Over the next several days, he rescues Pernille from an obnoxious male model; makes love to a flirty barista named Patrizia; navigates a friends-with-benefits situation with an estranged ex-girlfriend, Emily; and juggles orders from his no-nonsense boss. Along the way, Alex is wooed and wowed by other women in the whimsical Cin Cin café; in the Largo di Torre Argentin, an outdoor square in Rome; and in his own apartment. Who will capture Alex’s heart? Stories of love and humor in this setting come easily to Petruzziello, who briefly lived in Rome himself in the fall of 2011. He engagingly combines the Italian milieu of last year’s My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith with the self-starter message of Hester Browne’s 2006 novel The Little Lady Agency. That said, it can be a little heavy on the drama at times; for example, Alex and Emily repeatedly have the same “heavy discussion” about the status of their relationship. Still, it’s a fun and easy read overall that shows that even though the recipe for love is complicated, it’s one that’s worth the prep time.
An enjoyable tale of loss, lust, and love with a dollop of gravlax.