Twenty-two-year-old James Gould arrives in Occupied Naples in 1943, where his duties include dissuading Allied soldiers from marrying their beautiful Italian girlfriends, and his diet includes little more than spam fritters and warmed-up rations.
The girls of Naples, however, soon arrange for a beautiful young country girl to join his staff as a cook.
Under the twin influences of Italian food and Italian passion, James has only just realised that his heart is more important than his orders, when an eruption of Vesuvius sets in motion a series of epic events that will change their lives for ever.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 05/03/2007
- Category: Second World War fiction
- ISBN: 9780751537543
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by nicx27
I picked this book off my pile to take with me on a holiday to Sorrento and it was the perfect reading companion. Looking, as I did, across to the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius, where this book is set, really brought it to life for me. The characters are wonderful. I loved Livia, the feisty Neopolitan cook, and James, the intially reserved Wedding Officer.The story is wonderful too, based partly on real life events. There really was a Wedding Officer, there to vet the potential Italian brides of British officers, and Vesuvius did erupt in 1944, during the war. I loved the way the author intertwined so many elements to make up the story: Italy, food, romance, cooking, history. It all worked so well together and I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Review by DeltaQueen50
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella is a wonderfully romantic tale set in war-torn Italy. Captain James Gould arrives in Naples in 1943 to become the Wedding Officer, whose main duty is to prevent marriages between British soldiers and their Italian girlfriends. As a stickler for the rules, the young Captain is determined to stamp out the black market and restore order.He eventually meets and hires Livia Pertini, a beautiful widow whose cooking talent sets her far apart from other women. Captain Gould can’t seem to stay away from the kitchen and it’s not just for the lovely Livia’s cooking. He soon realizes he is falling in love with this earthy and sensuous woman. She in turn, has her own issues with the Allies as the occupation has not always gone smoothly for the locals or for her family. Her take on the young British captain with his stiff and polite ways, is at first disdainful, then she mistakenly thinks he is gay. In a delectable picnic scene, she finds out James Gould definitely prefers the fairer sex.This is not a book to be read when hungry. The deliciously described recipes are so detailed you can practically smell them cooking, they are guaranteed to give you a craving for Italian food and perhaps even make you blush, as Livia teases James with sexual innuendos thinly disguised as food preparation or eating. At times a comedy-of-errors, at other times a compelling tale of war, love and food, I was entranced with this book and highly recommend it.