A late 19th-century tale involving identity and the expectations of social class, Delicious is the story of Verity Durant, possibly an aristocrat, who through misfortune must earn her living. Verity becomes an executive chef, and the notorious, and many assume French mistress of her employer, Bertram Somerset. When Bertie dies, his illegitimate brother Stuart inherits his estranged brother’s estate, including his ungovernable chef, toward whom the politically ambitious Stuart feels an unwonted attraction. Madame Durant’s food and her person recall for Stuart a passionate episode with a stranger that has haunted him for years.
A secondary romance is as charmingly rendered as that of the main characters, and the author thoroughly understands the universal appeal of both descriptions of fine cuisine and romantic scenes. Well executed and entertaining, if long for the story it has to tell, Delicious is only slightly marred by an overuse of metaphor.