This is the first book in a brand new series releasing on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by Stephanie Cole. It’s the Tuscany Cooking School Mysteries series, and I had wanted to like it a lot more than I actually did. The author has a very nice writing style that isn’t hard to read, until you get to lots of Italian phrases, some of which aren’t translated and you have to sort of figure it out from the context. That took away from some of the enjoyment for me and didn’t make for the smooth reading that I’m used to in most cozies.
I do love the idea of a Tuscany cooking school though and how Nell was going to transform the old abbey into a nice place for American students to come learn Italian cooking. I’m hoping the next book might be a little better once this book’s been out long enough for constructive reviews to come in. I really mean for my review to be helpful and constructive.
I had never heard of an Italian car called an Ape, so of course, I had to Google it and I found several fun uses for it. I chose the blue one from a Wiki, like in the story. They’re kind of cute!
I’d like to thank @Berkley Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to review an early digital copy of this book. My opinions are my own.
My Goodreads review:
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
With the setting this book was in and the very unique idea of a chef going around developing different cooking schools for various areas, I was excited to read and love it, but I have to be honest and say that I was disappointed. The use of too much Italian really put me off for one thing. I’ve read books before where a language is simply sprinkled in for a nice, local feel, but this was a bit of an overkill. There seemed like a lot going on at once, and I felt confused quite a bit. I couldn’t quite warm up to any of the characters like I normally do within the first few pages of cozies that I rate much higher. Even Nell’s dad–and usually I love silly dad characters–fell short. I felt like I never quite understood just who these sisters were that came in to get the house more ready for filming…nuns or actual sisters to Rosa, who I think might have been a nun. A little more background on some characters would have been nice. I hope I’m not the only one who missed the boat on the sisters!
I enjoyed the occasional humor like the car ride in the little Ape. Pete and Nell made a nice sleuthing team, but at some points, again being honest, I stopped being interested in who offed the guy, because I hadn’t really liked him to begin with, but I did want to see how Nell caught the person. That was a plus point, at least someone nice wasn’t killed. I hadn’t guessed the killer, so that was good. I may or may not give the second book a read. Again, I love the premise and Tuscany setting.
I voluntarily read and reviewed this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.