Title: Devil’s Food at Dusk
Authors: M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: If sweet romance and a fast moving story is what you are after, you will not go wrong picking up a copy of Devil’s Food At Dusk.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Joe Fitzgerald hates New Orleans, but he’s stuck there until he convinces one stubborn local family to sell Lumière, the crumbling French Quarter restaurant they’ve owned for generations. The place is a wreck, and it’s hemorrhaging money. Joe figures he’s their best chance for survival.
Remy Babineaux despises Pineapple Joe’s and everything the chain stands for. He refuses to let Lumière become some tacky corporate tourist trap. Theme drinks and plastic beads in his restaurant? Yeah, right. Over his dead, rotting corpse. The last thing Remy wants is a meeting with the restaurant chain’s representative, but his father agreed to at least listen to the proposal. There’s nothing Remy can do about it.
Remy figures an anonymous hookup is exactly what he needs to decompress. When he ends up across the table from his fling the next morning, real sparks fly. Joe refuses to give up his prime location; Remy refuses to give up his legacy. It’s war, and they’re both determined to win at any cost. Neither of them counted on falling in love.
Review: Above is a fairly complete synopsis of this delightful novel. I can add little to it without giving away spoilers, but allow me to tread carefully and attempt to throw in a bit more.
Joe and Remy are both fiercely competitive and willing to give anything it takes to get what they want. For Joe, the acquisition of property rarely causes him any guilt. Avoiding the “human aspect” of what his company does—move in and gobble up failing businesses—is just a minor glitch in an otherwise profitable, cutthroat job for him. He is “the closer” and he always gets his deal.
Remy has one passion in life—Lumiere. Since his father’s retiring, he and his brother Andre have poured all they have into saving the family business, which, unfortunately, is crumbling around them. It is Remy’s passion—the one thing aside from his family that he loves with every fiber of his being. When it is threatened, Remy digs in and angrily refuses to even consider the offer Joe puts on the table. However, his brother Sal, the accountant for the family, and his own father, Tom, are not so like-minded. Before long, Sal is negotiating with Joe behind Remy’s back, while Remy is trying to convince Joe to choose a different locale for his company. It is a train wreck bound to happen, and to further complicate the matter, two sworn enemies are unknowingly beginning to fall in love.
Why did I simply adore this novel, Devil’s Food At Dusk? Well, it could be that two of my favorite authors, M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin, penned this sweet and sensuous romance. It could be the outstanding characterization, the in-depth creation of those same characters, and the way in which both Joe and Remy grew and learned more about themselves during this story. Then, again there is also the secondary cast of players that are so lively and beautifully written that I truly could not find one throwaway in the bunch. This was a novel about family, and the one that these authors built was fascinating and tightly knit.
However, I think the key reason I found this novel to be exceptionally well done was the way in which this neatly woven plot was interspersed with gorgeous flowing passages describing the French Quarter and the world that was Lumiere. Never boring or overwhelming, these descriptive moments only added to the ambiance of this novel. You were suddenly transported to New Orleans and the magic it possesses. From the heat of the kitchen to the cacophony of sounds from the open market, the lyrical prose placed you plum in the heart of the story. Couple that with the slow building relationship between Joe and Remy, and you have a beautiful novel from beginning to end.
If sweet romance and a fast moving story is what you are after, you will not go wrong picking up a copy of Devil’s Food At Dusk. It is a delightful way to escape into fantasy for a few hours.
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