Spread the love

All that Sizzles by Sakshma Puri Dhariwal

My take on the book:

Tanvi Bedi is excited about the wedding she is going to plan and execute soon, a coup of sort between two powerful and rich families. The only trouble being the bride wants Michelin star chef Nik Shankar to design the menu and cook for the wedding festivities, but the Chef is a recluse and does not care about being part of expensive weddings. 

Nik has been fighting all his life to inherit his ancestral house, but his grandfather has a new condition to settle it amicably — Nik must get married before the house can be transferred to him. As Tanvi confronts Nik for his reluctance to take up the wedding, Nik’s business partner and friend Ruq comes up with an idea — Tanvi to act as Nik’s fake fiancé till the ancestral home is transferred to Nik by his grandfather and in return Nik to take up being the chef for the wedding that Tanvi is planning. 

While it sounded like a good deal at the beginning, only after Nik and Tanvi start the charade and visit Nik’s grandfather, are they no longer sure if they are acting or their feelings are real. Will Nik and Tanvi be able to move past their respective past and acknowledge their feelings for each other forms the rest of the story. 

A short, pretty wedding planner with a hot temper and a tall, handsome star chef who stays away from media, are protagonists as contrasting as it can get. The story begins with a bang but gets a bit cliched when both readily agree to act as fake lovers. The middle parts also drag when Nik and Tanvi reach Nik’s grandfather’s ancestral home, only to bring back drama in the story when their respective past surfaces, creating the much-needed conflict. 

This is the third book in the series (after The Wedding Photographer and Man of her Match) with characters from the earlier two books coming back as supporting characters. Tanvi who had a brief appearance in the earlier two books has this book dedicated to her journey. The author’s strength lies in creating characters who have their own quirks but are relatable. The importance given to mental health awareness by making it a major part of the story and not just adding it as a passing topic is commendable.

The discussion around homophobia, and reluctance of families to accept gay and trans personalities is also an important part of the story narration. The author has handled all these sensitive but important topics is a very mature way. The family backgrounds of Tanvi and Nik are also well contrasted, with somea strong supporting characters that make the narration interesting till the end. I also like how the respective professions of the protagonists is weaved into the narration with authentic back stories. The romance between Nik and Tanvi is very spicy and warm. 

A faster pace in the middle sections could have made the story more appealing. Overall, the book makes for an entertaining read while delivering a good message about the importance of mental health and emotional healing. 

My rating: