I also think I’m not very into the trope of cooking shows as backdrop to romance. Or cooking as a backdrop to romance, especially when both players are in the cooking industry/show. Because yes, you can cook as an expression of care or love for someone, but when both people can cook well I feel like the last thing you want to do is cook together! I love planning trips for people but if we’re both trip planners it’s exhausting to do together!
In any case, Dahlia is
hair a recently divorced woman who is competing on a cooking show. London is an about-to-come-out-as-non-binary contestant on the same show. They start out icy and then are fire, as a main arc, but there’s lots of bobbles along the way. Both of them are dealing with some significant baggage, and it affects their ability to be with each other in a non-complicated way. They’re also competing on a show against one another! Can’t be easy. And it isn’t. The path of love does not run smooth, my friends. I felt like their ups and downs were a bit swing-y, which was probably necessary given how many other plot points had to be addressed along the way.
But for what this was for me–I don’t know very many (any?) people who prefer to go strictly by non-binary pronouns in my day to day life whom I would then refer to by their pronouns in the third person. As in, I’m not close enough to be talking about them in my day to day, even if I know them to be nonbinary or genderfluid etc. So while I am on board with pronouns, I don’t have practice using them on a regular basis.
Enter fiction, right? The power of fiction to expand our horizons and increase our empathy…and, for me, to read an entire book in a genre I love (ha) and train my brain to compose sentences about a non-binary person with a non-binary pronoun of choice. Every time I misgendered London while thinking about this book, I could mentally revise the thought. Without ever having to misgender a human being in real life.
And that, to me, is worth getting through a book whose romance plot I was a bit so-so on 😀