by Susan Volland

August 2004
ISBN: 0-451-21240-1
Reviewer Graphic Button New American Library
Trade Paperback

Everyone in the family counts on Jo Cerbone’s levelheaded business sense. Running the original Little Louie’s and Twelfth Street restaurants keeps the Cerbone family hopping, and a recent legal dilemma has them all in a tizzy. Jo is always there with her calm thoughtful ideas, and helps keep the family from going off the deep end. Even her love life is placid. She has a long-standing “sexual friendship” with Bob, so that they can get together whenever he is not dating one of the aerobics instructors at his gym, and she doesn’t have to worry about actually dating anyone.

When the legal problems take a suspiciously sinister turn, Jo and her family realize that someone may actually be planning to ruin their businesses and their reputations. To make matters more confusing, Jo has met Joshua Tran, and her hormones have gone into overdrive. While he is only an organic farmer now, he is the son of diplomats and has a cosmopolitan outlook. When he is not working, he drives a racy sports car, and makes Jo’s blood hum.

Love and Meatballs is an engaging slice of family life. The Cerbones are typically Italian, boisterous and opinionated, but a rock-solid front against anyone who threatens their livelihood. Jo learned at an early age to be as tough as her brothers, but there is a core of feminine power that she is not afraid to use. This book has laugh-out-loud moments and some scenes where you want to slap your forehead in dismay. It is all part of Jo’s journey to find out what she really wants. As a bonus to the great story, there are a handful of mouthwatering recipes that will send you straight to the kitchen.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Paula.

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