Angelina D'Angelo lives in South Philly with her wonderful,
loving husband, Frank. One sleepless night, he wanders in
to the kitchen where he has a sudden, fatal heart attack.
Angelina can't imagine her life going on, but she knows it
must. With her Italian family and neighbors supporting
her, she slowly but surely tries to move forward.
She has always found solace in cooking, and one night, she
suddenly throws out all of the casseroles and soups that
people have brought over during their condolence visits.
She begins cooking everything she has found comfort in -
fresh pasta, chicken, pie - until soon the entire dining
room table has been filled.
Frank's mother and sister (Gia and Tina) come over to find
an exhausted Angelina sleeping on the couch, and they decide
to distribute the food through the neighborhood. And this
is when Angelina's "food club" begins. Slowly but surely,
the bachelor men of the neighborhood begin asking if she
can cook meals for them. Since she is recently out of work,
she agrees, and soon she has a new focus and finds her house
filled with laughter and good conversation as the men gather
to eat twice a day, six days a week.
As a Philadelphian, I greatly enjoyed the local references
in the book. I am extremely familiar with the places
Angelina shopped for her supplies, such as the Italian
market and Reading Terminal Market. I also flagged some of the
recipes in the book to try; I am really glad that the book
has a recipe index since the recipes are woven throughout
the text of the story.
The story was moving, touching, and heart-breaking. The
characters are full of insight and inspiration, each in
their own way. The bachelors all have something to offer,
and even when tension arises in the book, it happens in a
way that shows the immense amount of respect that they have
for Angelina and her family. Angelina herself is a strong,
intelligent, driven character, who is immensely relatable.
I see that the author is working on a second novel, and I
definitely plan on keeping an eye out for it.
Sometimes the shortest distance between two people is the
length of a kitchen table. . . .
Far too young to be a widow, Angelina D’Angelo suddenly
finds herself facing a life without her beloved husband,
Frank. Late one night shortly after the funeral, she makes
her way down to the kitchen and pours all of her grief and
anger into the only outlet she has left—her passion for
cooking. In a frenzy of concentration and swift precision,
she builds layer upon layer of thick, rich lasagna, braids
loaves of yeasty bread, roasts plump herb-rubbed chicken;
she makes so much food that she winds up delivering the
spoils to the neighbors in her tight-knit Italian community
in South Philadelphia.
Retiree Basil Cupertino, who has just moved in with his
kindly sister across the street, is positively smitten with
Angelina’s food. In a stroke of good fortune, Basil offers
Angelina (not only husbandless but unemployed) a job cooking
for him—two meals a day, six days a week, in exchange for a
handsome salary. Soon, word of her irresistible culinary
prowess spreads and she finds herself cooking for seven
bachelors—and in the process discovers the magical power of
food to heal, to bring people together . . . and maybe even
to provide a second chance at love.
Filled to the brim with homemade warmth, Angelina’s
Bachelors is a sweet tale of overcoming grief, redefining
family, and following your heart—through food.