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Angelina's Bachelors: A Novel with Food

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Overview

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 ...

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Angelina's Bachelors: A Novel with Food

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An utterly delightful debut novel from cookbook author and TV cooking-show producer O’Reilly.

When Angelina’s husband suddenly dies of a heart attack, she is devastated. When she loses her job a few days later, she’s in real trouble. To escape her worries, she dives into the thing that has always brought her comfort—cooking. As a young woman, she had planned on culinary school, but her mother’s, and then father’s, terminal illnesses rerouted her dreams. Still, she’s a world-class amateur and treats her close-knit South Philly neighborhood to the results of her recent grief. One fan is Basil Cupertino, neighbor Dottie’s retired brother, who’s recently moved in. Basil—escaping his sister’s almost deadly cooking—makes Angelina a proposition: He will pay her handsomely for breakfast and dinner six days a week. Trying to hold poverty and depression at bay, Angelina agrees. Word spreads through the neighborhood, and soon Basil and Dottie’s handsome nephew Guy (escaping the seminary) joins in, as does young Johnny from across the street, the discerning Mr. Pettibone, the elderly Don Eddie and his driver Big Phil, and Jerry, who’s known Angelina forever. Her bachelors are treated to exquisite fare, and also company—the motley crew make a companionable dinner club in Angelina’s home. One night, feeling tired and faint, Angelina gets bittersweet news: After years of trying, she is four months pregnant. The thought of raising a child alone is terrifying, but the bachelors help out, and soon Angelina’s grief is replaced with the somber joy that her husband will live on. There are some mishaps along the way, including the city trying to shut her down, but Angelina triumphs when her long-lost dream of owning a restaurant becomes a reality. Filled with more than 20 (fairly complicated) recipes for Angelina’s gourmet fare, the food is only half of the novel’s winning ingredient—O’Reilly’s keen ear for the neighborhood swells lends a charming, timeless quality to the tale.

Light comedy and good food make a winning combination." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In this confection, young widow Angelina D’Angelo finds emotional and financial sustenance after her husband’s sudden death by cooking for seven bachelors in her South Philly neighborhood. The characters are Capraesque, from an ex-seminarian questioning his calling to a watch-chain-wearing Mr. Pettibone.…The food’s another story: described most deliciously and leaving you hungry for more. Luckily this debut from O’Reilly (creator of Food Network’s Dinner Impossible) includes his wife Virginia’s appealing recipes.” —People

“The unique storyline and the addition of recipes in every chapter make this book a double treat. O’Reilly is equally skilled at devising colorful descriptions for the food as well as the emotions. In one scene, where the character is having a heart attack, I swore I could feel every physical pull of the chest muscles. This was a brilliant, and delicious, read.” 4 and ½ stars —RT Book Reviews

“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.” —Min Jung, Fresh

“This book is not leaving my house and deserves a place of honor among my cookbooks! The story is interwoven with wonderful recipes that help tell Angelina's story and will have your mouth watering just reading them.” —BookHounds

“Set in the colorful Italian enclave that is South Philadelphia, this account of the joy cooking can bring to both the server and the served, is a delightful and uplifting story, albeit not one to be read on an empty stomach! ... This is a wonderful story featuring an utterly appealing protagonist, surrounded by a charming cast of characters. The warmth of Angelina's neighbors shines through, and the vitality of her South Philadelphia surroundings makes the setting very much a character in its own right.” 4 stars For the Love of Books

“A lovely story and FABULOUS Italian recipes. How could I not like a book where the first chapter is titled, ‘Dreaming in Dark Chocolate.’” —Great Thoughts

"It was a very fun and uplifting read. If I did not know better, I'd swear that I was related to most of the characters in the book!"Mary Ann Esposito, cookbook author and host of Ciao Italia

“…a delightful, well written book full of characters everyone will love.” —Broken Teepee

“This novel is a perfect read for any season anywhere.” 4 starsLive To Read

“This book had me smiling for all 384 pages.” —Words by Webb

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594429616
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 8/9/2011
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian O’Reilly is a writer and producer. He was the creator and executive producer of Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible. Angelina’s Bachelors is his third book and first novel, after Mission: Cook! and Impossible to Easy. His culinary collaborator is his wife and partner, Virginia, a lifelong cook and culinary producer of their production company. In a perfect world, they believe, there’d be pie every day.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Live To Read

    This novel is a perfect read for any season anywhere. The author, Brian O'Reilly, is a creator and executive producer of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible among many other accomplishments. His abilities shine through in this novel-containing recipes and descriptions of the main character baking and cooking.


    The main character, Angelina, will connect with the reader within the first few pages. Newly widowed, Angelina expresses her anger and sadness through her baking and cooking. She strikes good fortune when Bail Cupertino hears of her amazing feats in the kitchen and hires her to cook for him. She meets several men, including two possible love interests (Jerry and Guy), in search of her cooking after the word spreads even further of her skills. Angelina has several shocks during the novel, some mediocre and some very good, that the reader will be happy to experience with her. Angelina is a kind, caring, active character who the reader is sure to enjoy reading about. The secondary characters, with their quirks, are just as fun to get to know. This novel contains recipes with steps of how to make the dishes in every chapter-many that even an unskilled baker/cooker could try his/her hand at. This novel is recommended for adults who enjoy novels with a strong theme (cooking/baking) and fiction.

    I received this book as an ARC, this in no way altered my opinion.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2011

    BookHounds

    When Angelina's husband dies of a massive heart attack at only forty and while sneaking a piece of her "Dream" cake, you would think she would be put off of cooking forever. But to Angelina, her cooking and baking gives meaning to her life. She obsessively creates new recipes and through her loves of food brings her new friends. This story should be really sad, but I found myself totally charmed by the characters that come to inhabit Angelina's dining room as she tries to make ends meet by serving food to several bachelors with questionable eating habits. These men come to encourage her through their friendship and she keeps them in line with her food. It wonderful to read something encouraging and have happiness appear through unlikely places and people.

    This book is not leaving my house and deserves a place of honor among my cookbooks! The story is interwoven with wonderful recipes that help tell Angelina's story and will have your mouth watering just reading them. The recipes go into detail that a lot of cookbooks don't even begin to cover with step by step instructions that are easy to follow. You can tell that the author truly loves food and I really wonder which came first: the recipes or the story. If you are a fan of food and looking for something a bit different for your book group, I think this one should be at the top of your list. It would be really fun to make a few of the recipes for your book club meeting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    Good read

    Good story but the ending was odd.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    This book is great. The story pulled me in. The characters are i

    This book is great. The story pulled me in. The characters are interesing. An plus for this book are the recipes interspersed throughout. Besides being for delicious foods, the recipes are more clearly written than what I find in most cook books I have used. The author and recipe creator captured the flavor of Italian South Philadelphia--pun most definitely intended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Spelndid

    What a wonderful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    BELLISIMO!

    I really enjoyed this book.. The only thing i didn't like was all the recipes in the middle of the story. I would have wished they were at the end of the book. I have all these recipes( our own italian version) and i think I'm going to cook my way to my husband heart and remind him why he initially fell in love with me !

    Tutti a Tavola & buon Pranzo!

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    Overall good read!

    Overall a good read but with alot of emphasis on the food and recipes.
    I was disappointed with the ending.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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