Rating: 4 stars
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Although Emmett’s father is a man of few words, Emmett knows that his father loves him. After Emmett has his heart broken, he plans to tell his father everything that has been going on in his life. Emmett never has the chance as his father passes away before they have that conversation. Emmet’s only family now is his best friend Vinnie and Vinnie’s family who love Emmet as one of their own.
Three years after his father’s death, Emmett is dating Christine. He never came to terms with what he needed to tell his father and is confused as ever regarding his friendship with his ever present neighbor, Keegan. When Vinnie’s mother gives Emmett an aging cookbook, the recipe entitled “For Clarity” is the one that calls to both him and Keegan. What transpires is eye opening for everyone, especially for Christine. As Emmett struggles with his feelings about family and his lack of closure with his father, putting the past behind him could mean moving on to a lifetime of love.
This story is the second entry into the Tales of the Curious Cookbook series and can be read as a standalone as they are all separate stories. Emmett has lived his life with his quiet father and still feels he has a good relationship with the man, but has always wanted more. What Emmett has always wanted was a loud home with a lot of people around. He feels the only way he can get that is to marry a girl and have a family. Except, he’s not attracted to girls. He has limited interest in hanging out with his girlfriend and would prefer to hang out with Keegan, who is fun, quirky, and oh so patient. Emmett is so closed off from his emotions that he can’t see how it is affecting those around him and he doesn’t know how to figure out what he wants, let alone take it. When the cookbook follows Emmett home, the recipe for clarity certainly works its charms and Emmett and Keegan in the kitchen is down right dirty.
I did have a hard time reconciling the relationship between Emmett and his father. Emmett readily admits there were so many stories about his father that will never be told, that he didn’t really know the man, and his father rarely spoke to him except for a few sentences. However, he does remember when his father taught him how to cook some basic items at the age of six. This scenario came about because Emmett, at the age of six, was home alone, hungry, crying, and trying to cook for himself. The description of this scene was hard for me to get past. The cookbook itself was explained a bit more in this story than in the previous book, but it is done with the use of the word, “whatever,” and for the series to be named after the cookbook, the description was handled in a dismissive manner.
The scenes between Emmett and Keegan were the true highlight of the story. Overall, the story is light, sweet, and at times emotional. There is enough steam to satisfy most palettes, and a strong message of making your own family and finding a place to belong.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.