Review: Short Soup by Coleen Kwan

Format read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 116 pages
Publisher: Escape Publishing (Harlequin Australia)
Date Released: December 1, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

A story about best friends, childhood dreams, and the healing power of Chinese food…

Toni Lau and Dion Chan were connected from birth — first via their parents’ jointly-owned restaurant, then via their bone-deep friendship. But children grow up, and Toni leaves their sleepy hometown looking for more than it can offer.

Now Toni is back, raw with the knowledge that not all childhood dreams come true. Dion is on the brink of realising that both his own ambitions and his childhood friend have the power to derail all of his hard work. But loving Toni — and winning her love in return — has always been on his wish list. Can Dion really put her on the back burner while frying up his chef dreams? Or is it possible that together they can come up with a recipe for happiness?

My Review:

I want to say that Short Soup by Coleen Kwan is like a perfect bowl of hot and sour soup, but although there’s plenty of heat, there’s no sour in this delightful friends-into-lovers story. Maybe I should just call it an excellent use of an old family recipe.

Toni returns home to Piper Bay, Australia after several years in London. Her marriage is over and she’s looking for jobs in nearby Sydney. That marriage to her college sweetheart was simply a disaster. Nick turned out to be anything but sweet. Now she’s back, older, wiser and qualified as a CPA.

Her best friend Dion has been back in Piper Bay for several years. He’s the chef at Happy Palace, the Chinese restaurant their parents own. Dion spent a few years away, traveling to hone his skills as a chef. Now he’s ready to take over from the parents, and they’ve earned a happy retirement.

But Toni’s return changes a lot of things. When Toni left, she only saw Dion as her friend. After several years’ absence, she finally sees him as a man. Not just any man, but a particularly attractive and sexy one at that.

Dion sees Toni as the one woman who has always held his heart in her hands, and has never known it. Also the one woman with the power to make him screw up his chance at finally dragging the family restaurant into the 21st century, before changing tastes pull it down the drain.

If Dion can convince Toni to take a chance on changing their relationship from friends into something more, it would be the best thing that ever happened to either of them. But if their parents pressure them into moving things too fast too soon, there’s no chance at all.

Is it worth risking their friendship to find out how much more they can be?

Escape Rating A-: I picked up Short Soup because I was stuck in the doldrums with another book I was reviewing, and I wanted something light and fun. Short Soup turned out to be the perfect recipe!

Toni and Dion’s relationship does change pretty quickly, but it doesn’t feel like insta-love. They have known each other all their lives, and Dion has always loved Toni. Only Toni’s heart needs to shift a bit.

The fun part of the story is the parents! I’ve been reading so many stories lately with completely dysfunctional parental units, that it was just terrific to read about some people who had good, albeit slightly overprotective, parents. Both Toni and Dion’s parents are terrific. They love their kids, they love each other, and they do want what’s best, which includes turning over the business to the next generation. They try not to interfere too much.

If you like contemporary romance, and especially if you enjoy friends-into-lovers romance, get yourself some Short Soup. This recipe is a winner!

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