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South Beach Love by Caridad Piñeiro is an uplifting romance that foodies will love. Depicting two chefs catering rival quinceañeras, this one contains a strong female lead and mouthwatering descriptions of Cuban food. While I was expecting more competition and tension from this one, I would still recommend it to those looking for a sweet story centring family and friendship.Title: South Beach Love
Author: Caridad Piñeiro
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Two chefs are catering the fifteenth birthday parties of two girls who are definitely not friends. Only one of the celebrations will be chosen to be featured in the local paper. And both chefs have something to prove.
Tony Sanchez, the established executive chef of a New York restaurant, is on a long-overdue visit home to Miami. He’s committed to making the celebration the best it can be—for the sake of his niece, the rest of his family, and his reputation.
Sara Kelly hadn’t known much about quinceañeras before she agreed to cater one for her niece. It’s a chance to both help her family and to promote her brand-new restaurant in Miami. From her Cuban sister-in-law, Sara learns about quince traditions, appreciating the meaning behind them.
When Tony was growing up, Sara was his best friend’s little sister; now, he sees her in a very different light. But his last relationship with another chef ended in disaster…and Sara knows that, once the parties are over, he’ll be gone. Can either of them entertain the idea of a new romance?
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: South Beach Love by Caridad Piñeiro
When renowned chef Tony comes back to Miami to cater his niece’s quinceañera, he doesn’t expect to find his friend’s little sister running a restaurant of her own. When the two meet, they realize there is chemistry between them, but as it turns out, Sara is also catering her niece’s quinceañera, and her niece is Tony’s own niece’s rival. To make matters worse, a journalist turns the ordeal into a competition, only granting one quinceañera exposure in the paper. As Tony and Sara grow closer, they must navigate their new relationship while working against each other.
❀ Strong Main Character
This one contains two main characters, Tony and Sara. I enjoyed Sara’s strength, and through her character, we learn about the many struggles women face in the restaurant industry. Winning the “competition” matters to her because it is difficult to gain exposure as a woman running a new restaurant, and she must work twice as hard to be taken seriously. I also loved how Sara has a big heart and trains women in need to work at her restaurant. I found Tony a little plain, and the romance is very insta-lovey, but I was willing to overlook this for the feminist themes.
❀ Not a Competition Story
I think what disappointed me about this book is that it was not what I was expecting. The synopsis hypes up the “competition,” but I didn’t find there to be much competition at all. Going into this book, I was expecting something with more tension, and maybe the enemies to lovers trope, and I would have liked to see more about the chefs preparing for the quinceañeras. For me, the slow-paced and low-stakes plot fell flat.
❀ Heartwarming Book About Friendship
South Beach Love by Caridad Piñeiro is a heartwarming story about food, friendship, and family. I enjoyed the concept of two rival quinceañeras, and the feminist messages were a nice surprise. While the plot wasn’t what I was expecting, those who enjoy more friendship-focused stories will enjoy this one.