“Do you know, Madame, what happens to a man who spends decades in the dark, then steps suddenly into full sunlight?”

“No, sir.”

She heard him expel a breath. She smelled the smoke, a warm pungency that swirled about them both.

“He is blinded by the light,” said Stuart Somerset. “And I don’t want to be blinded…”

Redonk Nutshell: Doomed lovers reunite after a ten year separation

Sherry Thomas manages to capture the complexity within her characters in a way that forces you to really slow down and pay attention.  This book is no different – it’s a dozy of a tale, the story of a man and a woman who, after one night together, go their separate ways, unable to forget the connection they shared.  Ten years later, they’re reunited when Stuart inherits his recently departed brother’s estate. The cook, Madame Verant, is actually Verity Durant, the same woman he fell for ten years earlier.  But Stuart has no clue.  Verity does, though she keeps it to herself, knowing the own secrets she carry will only risk Stuart’s position of power in Parliament.  Stuart is a self-made man, and becoming involved with a cook, let alone one with a scandalous reputation, would be career suicide.

The first part of this story revolves around food. Verity is a master of her craft, having sought out solace in the art of cooking after making less than wise decisions in her youth. Verity seduces with her meals, taking pride in the level of skill that has come to be expected of her.  When Stuart takes over, she at first thinks to leave.  Yet she can’t bring herself to.  Stuart is drawn to her, though he doesn’t make the connection between Madame and the woman he met ten years ago.  Oh, and the real kicker? Stuart has just recently announced his engagement to a highly respected woman in the ton.

Tricky, tricky, it is.  It’s a complicated story, one that, at times, I struggled to follow.  There’s a bit of jumping back and forth between present day and past events.  I also had a hard time believing that Stuart didn’t put two and two together between Madame Verant being the woman he pined for for ten years.  I didn’t get that at all.  But I digress.

Will these two finally get over their fears and be together, or will society’s expectations keep them apart?  I’m not going to tell you, though I will say that the ending is Epically Romantic.

Delicious by Sherry THomas

Rating: C

Romance: 4/5       Raunch: 3.5/5

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