Naive and already war-weary, James Gouding takes up a position in Naples in 1943. What he doesn't anticipate is that this involves a limited menu of fried Spam fritters and interrogating the would-be Italian fiancees of members of the armed forces. James's chance at true heroism arrives when a German tank is sighted and he is caught in its path. However, it is the imperious and dogmatic Livia who opens the hatch and yells at him to stop being such an idiot. Livia gladly becomes cook, translator, and general factotum to James. The two begin to fall in love, but the eruption of Vesuvius triggers a chain of explosive events that will force the two to flee behind enemy lines and will alter their lives immeasurably.
©2006 Anthony Capella; (P)2006 Time Warner AudioBooks
"The Wedding Officer resembles a cross between Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Chocolat, while remaining a charming and powerful fiction in its own right." Michael Arditti
"A wartime adventure and a heartbeat hastening romance [which] is punctuated by mouthwatering descriptions of Italian meals... Richard E. Grant narrates with magnificent panache, convincingly Italian as the crisply insulting Livia Pettini and wonderfully stiff in his upper lip as James Gould, the high-minded disciplinarian gradually seduced by food and beauty into appreciating Livia and her background." Christina Hardyment, The Times
Having enjoyed Anthony Capella's book The Food of Love I looked forward to listening to his latest, The Wedding Officer. It certainly came up to high expectations and was superbly read by Richard E Grant who brought the story alive. Set in Italy during the Second World War it taught me much about what happened in Italy at that time, something I knew little about. The descriptions of the food and the cooking make you want to go straight to market and buy the ingredients, prepare and start cooking them and then enjoy the fruits of your labour with gusto. This audio book is very difficult to switch off and I can't wait for Anthony Capella's next book.
I've read all Anthony Capella's novels, and this one is my favourite. I've read it on a number of occasions and enjoy the descriptions of delicious food, the wartime intrigue, Vesuvius and of course the romance.
Sadly, some of the joy of the written novel its lost here in what is an abridged version, which I only noticed after having got confused as to where some of my favourite passages had got to.
Richard E Grant does an excellent job narrating, with a good range of believable Italian, American and forties posh English accents.
I did find the music inbetween chapters a bit annoying, but apart from that and the disappointing shortening of a memorable novel, it's a great production.
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