In this debut novel, Dahlia decides to enter a television cooking-competition show in a last-ditch effort to revamp her life after divorce and financial problems have set her adrift. Meanwhile competitor London is dealing with the stress of being the show's first openly nonbinary contestant. The two hit it off, and they start to feel the heat both in and out of the kitchen.
What’s the secret sauce for writing a perfectly delicious romance novel? I have no idea, but I do know that Love & Other Disasters, Anita Kelly’s culinary whirl of a love story, has got it ... a delicious confection of a story: savory, succulent and also a bit salty in spots, thanks to certain difficult personalities that come into play. The characters, from our protagonists to the other contestants to the crew on the show, feel vibrant and real in their virtues and most especially their flaws. But while the plot is rich and surprising, the central romance is sweet, right from the start ... The only bad thing about this book is that even after you’ve gorged on the whole thing, it’ll leave you wanting more.
Anita Kelly's skillful character work, gentle humor and insightful relationship development are center stage ... Kelly deftly balances the romance and individual character arcs and gives readers enough time with the cooking show to up the tension without allowing it to overshadow the romance ... Love & Other Disasters is by turns funny, sweet and hot, but Anita Kelly's emotional river runs deep—this romance will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.
What an affirming romcom this turned out to be! London and Dahlia proved to be such interesting characters. My favourite romances are those where I’m equally invested in both characters’ separate lives as I am in their romance and Kelly truly delivered ... What I think Kelly did exceptionally well was how they balanced the sweet romance between London and Dahlia with the more hard-hitting topics of gender identity, divorce and bankruptcy. While London has to deal with misgendering, not only from strangers but also from someone in their family (which, by the way, is one of the best-laid subplots I’ve ever read in my life), Dahlia has her own struggles with her past and her being queer that are dealt with with such a tender touch in this novel ... I’m sure readers will have no choice but to devour this novel in one sitting.