Official Review: Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure

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Cecilia_L
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Official Review: Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure

Post by Cecilia_L » 28 Oct 2018, 10:24

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure" by Andrew Cotto.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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"Jacoby felt as peaceful and inspired as he had in months. Maybe ever. The best two meals of his life had been over the first two days in Italy. The country itself was more beautiful than pictures could capture. The people spoke a lovely language and wore elegant clothes. It was all good. And he wanted in." So begins Jacoby Pine's love affair with Italy portrayed in Andrew Cotto's third novel, Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure.

When former musician turned PR consultant Jacoby loses his job and confidence in New York, he agrees to accompany his finance, Claire to spend a year abroad in Italy where she is on an extended assignment, as a travel writer. Though she has eaten at some of the world's finest restaurants, it is Jacoby who has what his finance refers to as "a golden palate," a gift he attributes to cooking and dining with his lonely father who died the previous summer. When he discovers an old photograph of a woman in an elegant dress dated 1939, Floria-Zanobini, in a box of his mother's belongings, Jacoby is intrigued. He wonders if it is fate, and his secret agenda becomes finding his connection to the woman in the photograph. After researching the location of the villa, Jacoby purposely rents a renovated barn for their stay in the nearby hills south of Florence, despite Claire's misgivings. As he endeavors to uncover the secret behind the photograph and heal his strained relationship with Claire, Jacoby falls in love with everything about Italy. From its breathtaking scenery, abundance of delicious cuisine, and the interesting locals he befriends, Jacoby feels a sense of belonging and becomes determined to stay.

Cotto's writing style is eloquently descriptive, and I savored this book as one would a fine meal. I was particularly moved by his poignant description linking Jacoby's strongest childhood memory of his mother with the lingering aroma of baking cookies from the Nabisco factory behind their home when he was just a toddler. He traces this memory to making the connection between smell and taste but also expresses the sadness the scent triggers.

Typically a homebody, I'm not usually prone to wanderlust, but I was so captivated by Jacoby's experiences as he embraced Italy's scenery, cuisine, culture, and people that I found myself longing to visit the country. Without revealing any plot spoilers, I thought the circumstances involving how Jacoby lost his job were quite realistic, as was the way the loss impacted his sense of identity.

Cotto's character development was also spot-on. The protagonist, Jacoby is transparent regarding his flaws and often deflects his insecurities with humor, making him likable and relatable to readers. He is surrounded by a diverse cast of well-rounded supporting characters including three strong females; Claire, her cousin Dolores, and Helen are no shrinking violets. I also admired the author's ability to convey social issues through the relationships between characters including sexism, ageism, and homophobia. Jacoby sensitively deals with each as they are presented without the subject feeling forced or preachy. For example, he befriends Bill, who shares some of the obstacles he has faced as an older gay man.

I'm pleased to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It was professionally edited, as I didn't not any errors, nor can I highlight any areas for improvement. It was a pleasure to read from start to finish. I recommend the book to fans of romantic, travel-inspired adventures such as Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love. Please note, it is intended for mature readers, as it includes some R-rated profanity and sexual innuendos.

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Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure
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Post by Debjani Ghosh » 29 Oct 2018, 00:41

The title of the book as well the beautifully illustrated book cover - both drew me to the book. After reading your review, I am eager to grab a copy of this book. A well-written review as always!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Oct 2018, 04:23

Debjani Ghosh wrote:
29 Oct 2018, 00:41
The title of the book as well the beautifully illustrated book cover - both drew me to the book. After reading your review, I am eager to grab a copy of this book. A well-written review as always!
Thank you. Hope you enjoy the book!

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Post by cpru68 » 29 Oct 2018, 09:00

Like you, I don't travel much, but when I read a book like what you describe here, it makes me want to update my passport and get on a plane! It sounds like the author did a great job putting this one together. I could not tell what this was about from the cover so your review cleared that right up! I find when a book brings up issues that I have strong feelings on, it is nice to see as you said here that it isn't 'preachy'. I am not going to agree with everything presented in a book at times, so it's nice to see it done in a 'soft' way and more real. Great job on this one.
Everything happens for a reason...

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Oct 2018, 09:04

cpru68 wrote:
29 Oct 2018, 09:00
Like you, I don't travel much, but when I read a book like what you describe here, it makes me want to update my passport and get on a plane! It sounds like the author did a great job putting this one together. I could not tell what this was about from the cover so your review cleared that right up! I find when a book brings up issues that I have strong feelings on, it is nice to see as you said here that it isn't 'preachy'. I am not going to agree with everything presented in a book at times, so it's nice to see it done in a 'soft' way and more real. Great job on this one.
Thanks for your kind words.

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Post by jevvel » 29 Oct 2018, 09:12

Wow! I greatly admire its peace of art, it applies the Attitude of an Italian who are known for a really good lovers..

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Oct 2018, 09:25

jevvel wrote:
29 Oct 2018, 09:12
Wow! I greatly admire its peace of art, it applies the Attitude of an Italian who are known for a really good lovers..
Thanks for commenting.

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Post by HollandBlue » 29 Oct 2018, 09:47

Aaah! A trip to Italy in a book, could anything be better?! The story seems to be well-rounded with romance and a hint of mystery. I'll be adding this one to my TBR shelf. Thanks for your review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 29 Oct 2018, 10:18

I'm uncertain about this one. I am intrigued by Italy, so the setting is drawing me in. I do wonder what Jacob's connection to the woman in the photograph is. However, I'm just not sure if that would be enough to keep me interested. I'll consider this one a bit more. Thanks.
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Post by writer808 » 29 Oct 2018, 10:40

The plot of the book seems unique.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Oct 2018, 11:28

BookReader+6 wrote:
29 Oct 2018, 09:47
Aaah! A trip to Italy in a book, could anything be better?! The story seems to be well-rounded with romance and a hint of mystery. I'll be adding this one to my TBR shelf. Thanks for your review!
Thank you. I appreciate your comment. :tiphat:

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Oct 2018, 11:30

kandscreeley wrote:
29 Oct 2018, 10:18
I'm uncertain about this one. I am intrigued by Italy, so the setting is drawing me in. I do wonder what Jacob's connection to the woman in the photograph is. However, I'm just not sure if that would be enough to keep me interested. I'll consider this one a bit more. Thanks.
This story is definitely more about the journey and enjoying every moment in Italy. Thanks for stopping by.

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Post by gen_g » 29 Oct 2018, 21:57

I love travelling when I can, and Rome is one of the places which I thoroughly enjoyed. The descriptions and writing style seems to be great too, so I am definitely intrigued by this book. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 30 Oct 2018, 00:00

gen_g wrote:
29 Oct 2018, 21:57
I love travelling when I can, and Rome is one of the places which I thoroughly enjoyed. The descriptions and writing style seems to be great too, so I am definitely intrigued by this book. Thanks for the review!
Reading the book definitely gave me a stronger desire to visit. I appreciate your comment.

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Post by fredrick otieno » 31 Oct 2018, 12:36

Must have been a great good, well thought and properly executed. I would love to read too.

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