UK Release Date: 31 May 2016
US Release Date: 1 July 2017
Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Jax is about to cancel her wedding to Jonty. On the day. By text. A scrumptious celebration of survival for anyone who’s longed for love or felt unworthy of it, Hungry for Love will show you the importance of self-respect and that love can be found where you least expect it.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Goodreads Rating: 3.83 Stars
I received an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley, and I had requested this book because I’m definitely a fan of foodie fiction. I have read a couple of books in this genre in the last couple of years and I generally think they are fun and entertaining. This novel was similar in many ways to the other foodie fiction I have read but I really liked the idea of someone rediscovering themselves after cancelling a wedding.
This review does contain spoilers so only read on if you have already read Hungry for Love or don’t mind learning about the major plot points!
This is definitely something I hope I don’t have to do in the future, but Jax’s story went pretty much how I had expected. She cancels her wedding the morning of, and that messes up a lot of people’s plans. But rightfully so, because if Jax had gone through with the wedding, she would have been committing herself to marrying a douche-bag dude who thinks cheating on his fiancee is okay. That was the most disturbing thing to me, Jonty didn’t see that he did something wrong, he just though Jax should forgive him and get back together once he realized the other girl had her own issues.
Jax is sent on a work trip to take a cookery course which takes her outside of the UK and into the arms of two men that are instantly attracted to her. I found these relationships a bit corny, although still fun to read. Jax’s foodie sex was entertaining, but then the novel turns to more serious issues with Caryl’s eating disorder and attempted suicide.
The main focus of this novel is not Jax’s journey through several rapid-fire rebound relationships (both casual and more committed), but her relationship with her family. Jax’s mother, Majella, is a celebrity chef who’s catchphrase is “If you can read, you can cook.” We all have our opinions on whether or not this is true, I’m sure, but Jax and her sister have grown up surrounded by this idea and Majella’s forcing the belief upon them. Jax has manifested her rebellion in refusing to cook for herself. Her sister, Caryl has gone in a different direction, her mind contorted the “comfort” of food into something to be reviled, she becomes bulimic. We see a lot on both stories, though the novel focuses on Jax’s journey. When Jax learns of her sister’s depression and suicide attempt, it snaps the whole family into the realization that they have been living a dysfunctional life. They all have their faults and Caryl’s health scare drives them all to fix things, even just a little bit.
I enjoyed the character development of all three female leads, but I think Majella had the best favorite overall character arc. We get to see Majella turn from the antagonist of Jax and Caryl’s lives to a softer, more understanding mother. She is still a bit grating when she criticizes her daughters, but by the end she has a softer heart and wants to help fix things.
Having no experience in what Jax is going through, I saw her rebound sex partners as a terrible decision but I understand the common tropes in rom-com situations where the girl has to go through several men before finally realizing the right guy was in front of her all along. I liked that Jax ends up with Dan and that Caryl seems to be doing okay. It was a satisfying ending to a decently satisfying novel.
I’d say this would be a fun summer read but it’s not something I’d pick up any other time of year.