The Playboy of Rome by Jennifer Faye

The Playboy of Rome by Jennifer Faye
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Hawthorn

Taming the Italian playboy…

Lizzie Addler’s dream of working in Italy is about to come true—that is if she can convince passionate Italian chef Dante DeFiore to keep his side of their bargain. Dante might be hotter than the Italian sun, but he’s as cool as ice toward Lizzie…

Dante hasn’t the time to pander to Lizzie’s dreams of culinary fame—he has a restaurant to run! But as Lizzie proves herself to be a spectacular addition to his kitchen—and to his life—Dante wonders…can he keep her forever?

The Playboy of Rome has an appealing premise: a hot Italian chef, a young, aspiring cook and the fiery tension between them, all filmed for a reality show.

The novel starts off very promising. There were great scenes with the chef, Dante, especially the scenes at his family home. His interaction with his grandfather, father and brother were intense and very revealing of his character. But unfortunately, they were also far more emotional than his scenes with Lizzie. I simply couldn’t feel any chemistry between the two of them despite the fact that I liked them as individual characters.

Perhaps this was due to the slow progression of the story – we get to see some action in the kitchen only in the second half of the novel, while in the first half they more or less only talk. I felt that the instant attraction between Dante and Lizzie was a bit overdone, a slower start would’ve been more believable. However, the deep feelings that they both feel towards the end made their break-up even more painful and angsty.

Lizzie’s character and her strength were heart-warming. She was a foster child and the neglect she’d experienced in her early childhood explained many of her characteristics, but towards the end this storyline became a bit too repetitive. However, I liked her gentleness towards Dante’s grandfather and father; it showed clearly what family meant to her.

Despite the protagonists being chefs, The Playboy of Rome focuses more on their romance and not on the cooking. However, their love story under the hot Italian sky is delicious nonetheless.

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