Title: Delicious (2008)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Love has a flavor all its own..
Famous in Paris, infamous in London, Verity Durant is as well-known for her mouthwatering cuisine as for her scandalous love life. But that's the least of the surprises awaiting her new employer when he arrives at the estate of Fairleigh Park following the unexpected death of his brother.
The lawyer Stuart Somerset worked himself up from the slums of Manchester to become one of the rising political stars of England's Parliament. To him, Verity Durant is just a name and food is just food, until her first dish touches his lips. Only one other time had he felt such pure arousal - a dangerous night of passion with a stranger, a young woman who disappeared at dawn. Ten years is a long time to wait for the main course, but when Verity Durant arrives at his table, there's only one thing that will satisfy Stuart's appetite for more. But is his hunger for lust, revenge - or that rarest of delicacies, love? For Verity's past has a secret that could devour them both even as they reach for the most delicious fruit of all..
Thoughts on the Book
THE INSPIRATION. Delicious is a complex version of Cinderella. This follows the story of Lady Vera Drake and Stuart Somerset. Vera is the daughter of the 9th Duke of Arlington. Due to a tragedy that took the lives of her parents, she grew up in the care of her mother's sister. Little did she knew that when she had gotten herself pregnant by a stable hand in their state, she was bound to face the toughest challenge of her life.
VERITY DURANT. She was the infamous Lady Vera Drake,. Everyone believed that she was already dead even her immediate family except for her aunt. It started when she misunderstood what her aunt told her about her baby. Being impregnated at the age of 17 by a mere stable hand, this issue will cause a major scandal and humiliation to their family so her aunt let her believe that she will be banished to a little house in one of their estates but she didn't know that this was supposed to teach her only a lesson. In an impulse, she eloped with her lover and along the way they met hardships and later on led to the death of her lover. When her aunt can't trace her trail, she forged her death. Vera changed her name to Verity Durant. She gave away her child and worked her way up until she met a famous chef and she became his apprentice. This marked the beginning of her career. Then she met Bert Somerset and fell in love. However, Bert didn't want a mere cook for a wife so she told him her real identity only to be denied by her aunt when Bert went to their house to confirm it. She felt betrayed by Bert and her aunt so she went on a mission to find Bert's half brother and have an affair with him just to throw insult on his face. She never want to fall for him but she did. For years, she kept her identity. She still worked for Bert but their affair stopped. Her son still didn't know that she was his mother. The society loved the dishes she cooked for them. She makes them feel the happiness and the sorrow she felt. The dishes bring salacious thoughts into their minds. When they eat her dishes, the world becomes still and her dishes becomes the highlight of the occasion. The guests become speechless after they devoured every meal served for them. Verity is one of the bravest heroine ever. She came from a royal family but she endured being a poor. She worked hard for her son even if that means more calluses and burns on her hands. She never asked for her aunt's help. And when her aunt accepted her again, I guess that was the happiest moment of her life.
STUART RALSTON SOMERSET. He is the half brother of Bert Somerset. Unlike Bert, he is an intellectual beast. He is competitive and always aim for the top. By being an achiever, he gained his dad's approval but he lose his friendship with his brother, Bert. His realization came too late because it happened after he died. There was one moment in his life that he cherished the most, and that was when he met Cinderella. After the night they've shared, the woman always haunted him in his dreams. She became an obsession and for years his private detectives tried to locate the woman but to no avail, the clues always end to cul de sac. After a decade of obsession, he realized that he decided to move on. He then proposed to his friend. Then the news of Bert Somerset's death was delivered to him making the sole owner of the Farleigh Park. Little did he know that the fairy tale which he thought had already ended in a not-a-happily-ever-after will have its continuation in the mansion. I like him because he never judge Verity when he first met her. He loved her with all his heart. He understood her. He even loved her calluses and even offered her a marriage. I like him because he is willing to sacrifice his ambition just to be with Vera.
WILLIAM MARSDEN. Does his name ring a bell? If you have read Not Quite a Husband, then you know him. He's the older brother of Leo Marsden. I believe Sherry Thomas got the idea of Leo's character while writing this book. William, like Stuart, is also driven by his ambition. He wanted to learn things through Stuart that's why he applied as his secretary. He was severely in love with Stuart's fiancee. When Miss Bessler discovered that the one who sent flowers when she was sick was his doing, she admitted her feelings for him. The wedding they planned for her and Stuart became their own wedding.
I really am in love with Sherry Thomas' works. I can hardly believe that English was only her second language. I love her choice of words. I love her characters and how she connects her characters in her other books. She creates complex and flawed characters but still manages to make her readers love them. She writes poignant and realistic stories that are carefully woven and will make the readers crave for more and will make them question their morality.
Delicious is a wonderful story which seems so realistic that it will make you believe in fairy tales again.
I devoured every page and took my time to feel the dialogues exchanged by the characters. There were times when I lingered over a page just to read it over again just because. This is definitely worth your penny and time. Kudos Sherry Thomas! Your book has inspired a lot of people including me. I hope you will continue to write so I may have the honor to introduce your books to my kids when the times comes.
Quotes from the Book
"It's always easier to pretend not to care."
Duchess: We haven’t much more time left. You know the situation as well as I do. The Irish are restless. They will not abide English rule for much longer. This is our last chance to settle the question in peace and honor rather than in strife and bloodshed. Will you put one woman above the good of a nation?
Martin: Can the private happiness of one man truly be so deleterious to the well-being of many?
Duchess: Yes, it can.
Martin: You are right. It can.
Duchess: I’m pleased that you see my point so well.
Martin: Thank you, Madame, for pointing out where I’ve been blind.
Duchess: You will send Madame Durant away, then?
Martin: No indeed, Madame. I will marry her.
Duchess: What did you say, Mr. Somerset?
Martin: I said I will marry her, Madame. Hiding her will allow speculations to proliferate. I will bring her into the open. I believe I might even be able to persuade Miss Bessler to be seen together with her. That should calm rumors about Miss Bessler’s revulsion.
Duchess: Mr. Somerset, you have lost your mind.
Martin: No, Madame. I assure you, I am in firm possession of all my faculties. You yourself said I cannot afford the loss of prestige brought on by an engagement that ends in ill feelings and an affair with someone of Madame Durant’s particular…distinction. Every rumormonger loves an affair, but there is little to excite the imagination in a marriage. And while Miss Bessler cannot keep company with my mistress, I’m sure she will have no objection to a shopping expedition or two with Mrs. Somerset.
Duchess: A shopping expedition or two…
Martin: With a special license we can be married within the week.
Duchess: Mr. Gladstone will never stand for it.
Martin: Do we speak of the same Mr. Gladstone, Madame, the one who in his spare time personally arranges for the rescue and rehabilitation of prostitutes? I should think he’d consider it splendidly done of me to make a vapid hausfrau of one of Britain’s most infamous retainers.
Duchess: I will cede you that point. Perhaps Mr. Gladstone, in his advanced age and eccentricity, would not mind your choice of a spouse. But you may be certain that he would be the only one. The rest of the Liberal establishment would be aghast. And it would be the end of your political career. You will not receive the Home Secretary’s portfolio. You will not even retain your position as Chief Whip. And if you’ve ever entertained thoughts of 10 Downing Street, well, you need never entertain them again.
Martin: I understand everything. And I accept it as a price I’m willing to pay.
Duchess: You do not understand. She, and consequently yourself, will be shunned everywhere. Doors will close in your face. Opportunities will flee before you. Your life, as you know it, will be finished.
Martin: No, Madame, my life will have finally begun. I do not need the blessing of the Liberal establishment to practice law. I do not need the approval of Society to keep Fairleigh Park. And I will gladly be shunned on her behalf.
Duchess: You are mad, Mr. Somerset.
Martin: I have loved her from the moment I first saw her, Madame. She has left me and I have left her. And now that we are at last together, nothing, save death, will part us again. Not you. Not the Liberal establishment. Not the opinion of every last man, woman, and child in England.
Labels: Book Review, Sherry Thomas