by Betina Krahn

May 2004
ISBN: 0-425-19645-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

Romance and food, what else does one need? What an excellent idea then to combine the two. A feast for all senses that is what Betina Krahnís The Marriage Test delivers.

Julia of Childress wants to be loved, marry and have children. Goals not easily achieved, as she is the closely guarded cook for the Convent of the Brides of Virtue. Her home since she was orphaned at a young age. Chance has it though, that two knights have the pleasure experiencing her fine culinary talents and carry word to their lord.

Griffin de Grandaise is afflicted with senses too sharp to indulge in just any cooking. A personal chef like Julia would allow him to once more find pleasure in food. In anticipation of sampling her meals, Griffin goes as far as to promise the abbess to return Julia after only one year, so that she then can take her vows. However, Julia has other plans and sets out to awaken Griffinís closed off emotions and to seduce his senses with a choice of delicious meals. After all, the way to a manís heart is through his stomach.

And the way to a readerís heart is definitely through a finely woven story. And as Julia succeeds with Griffin so does Betina Krahn succeeds with her readers. When Julia becomes a pawn in the feud between Griffin and his neighbor, when it is a womanís cunning that succeeds in giving her what she wants and when all ends well, because her man is unafraid to let himself seduced, then it becomes obvious that the characters are like the many dishes offered, varied in flavor, tantalizing, provoking, tempting and finely balanced to bring forth every little nuance.

Julia teaches Griffin to brave the onslaught to his senses and Betina Krahn describes so vividly the tastes and smells that come with the deliciously prepared meals and the ones sampling and in charge of them, that The Marriage Test can only be described as one tasty treat.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Kris Alice.

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