Monday, October 11, 2021

Review: Love and Latkes by Stacey Agdern

Love and Latkes by Stacey Agdern
Series: Friendships and Festivals, Book 3
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Love and Latkes cover
ISBN: 9781954894617
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Tule Publishing

You can’t make a latke without breaking a few eggs…

Batya Averman is ecstatic when a latke fry-off committee chooses her as its web designer—until she learns the event is in Rivertown, New York, the hometown she fled years ago. But she’s no longer the girl with an embarrassing history and an unrequited crush on Abe Neumann. This delicious competition is Batya’s chance to further her career, and this time she won’t run.

Abe Neumann can’t pass up the opportunity to enter the town’s latke contest. He dreams of throwing caution to the wind and leaving his accounting firm, opening a Jewish deli, and choosing his own happiness. The prize money would bring him closer to making his dream a reality, but when Batya comes back to town, Abe remembers that a deli isn't the only thing he's wished for.

When the fry-off’s celebrity host has to pull out of the competition, Batya is determined to step up to the challenge. This Hanukkah, can Abe fix the past and convince Batya that dreams, like latkes, are better when they're shared?

Love and Latkes is not a book you want to dive into when you’re hungry. A latke fry-off is only the beginning when it comes to discussions of Jewish food and I was so here for it. Yes, this is a romance, and the love story between Batya and Abe made me smile, but it was the themes of connections, history, and community through food that stole my heart.

Batya has avoided Abe ever since a declaration of feelings went wrong back in high school. Now, with celebrity host George Gold bringing a latke fry-off to their hometown, Batya and Abe can’t help but run into each other. Batya is designing the fry-off’s website and hoping for a chance to learn from Gold; she wants to grow her website and build on her dream of sharing Jewish history and culture through the lens of food with the world. Abe is an accountant who has a pop-up kosher barbeque business on the weekends. It’s his dream of opening a kosher deli and winning the fry-off would give him the chance at funds and a mentorship from George Gold.

Thrown together by the competition and their well-meaning friends, Batya and Abe can’t help but be drawn toward each other once more. I enjoyed their flirting through food (how can you resist a man who sends you thoughtful ice cream deliveries?) and it’s yet another way Stacey Agdern connects food and relationships. The Jewish representation in Agdern’s books is always top-notch and Love and Latkes is no exception. I loved the way she talked about the sharing of food, traditions, and culture. And I really loved how she seamlessly incorporated the laws of kashrut into discussions of food and cooking in ways those familiar and not could easily understand.

The second-chance romance between Abe and Batya made me smile and sigh. She’s wary, he’s eager but respectful, and the two of them click as they slowly slide into love as adults. I enjoyed the roles their friends played in bringing them together and helping them out when they needed it. Love between friends is every bit as important as romantic love in this story, which I really appreciated. All in all, I adored Love and Latkes. It’s a sweet, interesting, and engaging story that’s sure to leave you hungry for more of Agdern’s Friendships and Festivals books.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.