Daniel thinks that it’s never good news when the phone rings at 3:00 AM and he’s proven correct when he gets the call that his parents have been killed in a car accident. He had been estranged from his parents for years after he came out and had recently started to reconcile with them. He has made a good life for himself as a weather man in the Denver area and lives with Chase, his partner of 15 years, although their relationship has been declining for some time. Three months after the call, Daniel finds himself returning to his childhood home in Wyoming to deal with his parents’ cluttered home. His parents’ friend and neighbor, Landon, offers to help Daniel sort through the mess and Daniel at once thinks the man is scruffy, rugged, and sexy.
Daniel, at first, can’t quite get a handle on Landon who creates sculptures out of scrap metal and has his very own psychic advisor, but his offer of help is a lifeline. When a cookbook arrives at the door with no return address, the recipe for “finding what was lost along the way” may have lasting consequences for Daniel, Landon, and Chase.
This is a heavier, more emotional, and somewhat somber story in the Tales of the Curious Cookbook series. Yet, there is a sensual, and at times magical and mysterious, overtone that takes hold. Daniel has been with Chase for 15 years, but their relationship has become stagnant and complacent, and they are not really good for each other anymore. But, they have built a life together and they share a past. There are plenty of indicators that all is not right with their relationship and when Daniel makes dinner using the cookbook, the recipe, which was given the secondary title of “for cutting through the bullshit,” clicks everything into place that he really just didn’t want to see. This story is as much about the end of one relationship as it is the beginning of another, as Daniel is offered closure to one area of his life. The connection to Landon was not as complete as we don’t learn much about him overall, but it’s not primarily his story.
Sexton attempts to showcase how cooking can be used for inspiration and finding love the second time around. She offers a strong story about endings and beginnings with great imagery that was an enjoyable addition to the series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.