I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out what, if anything, I wanted to tell you this week. Then, as if I were blessed by the book goddess, a copy of the third novel in Louisa Edwards's Recipe for Love trilogy showed up in my mail. I'm not going to spend buckets of time trying to recount the plots of the three books and tell you about three very different central relationships. Instead, I want to focus on one couple whose romantic storyline weaves through all three novels, Frankie and Jess.
This relationship, between two men who would appear to be complete opposites, is one of the sweetest, most heartbreaking, and most realistic relationships I have read in a long time. I've always been a big fan of strong supporting characters in books, especially in romance novels where you know there's a good possibility of a great supporting character being the hero or heroine of his or her own novel somewhere down the line. Frankie and Jess, though, were exceptional and, sadly, I knew the possibility of them starring in their own novel was so close to zero as to make no difference. Bravo, then, to Ms. Edwards for telling their full story over the course of the three novels in this series.
Jess and Frankie have instant chemistry from the moment they clap eyes on one another. But the reader knows from the very beginning that this relationship, if it ever happens, is not going to be easy for either of them. Jess is young and a bit naïve and falling in love for the first time. Frankie is older and life has kicked him around a bit and he really, seriously does not want to let Jess into his heart. In Can't Stand the Heat, Jess and Frankie dance around each other a bit before hooking up and trying to keep their relationship private. In On the Steamy Side, Frankie breaks up with Jess and breaks his (and my) heart. In Just One Taste, everyone and their dog (well, maybe not the dog) seems to be giving Frankie romantic advice, whether he wants it or not. Eventually, there's confession and reconciliation in a scene that literally had me in tears. And, because they're only supporting characters, the reader isn't quite sure if this is really a Happily Ever After. It's a Happy (or at least Content) For Now.
Even without the Frankie and Jess storyline, I would have enjoyed reading these books. But this tender, emotionally honest relationship added that little something that changed these books from being ones I really liked and could recommend into personal favorites that I want to re-read.