Picks and Pans Review: Reckless Appetities

UPDATED 11/01/1993 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/01/1993 at 01:00 AM EST

by Jacqueline Deval

Food, love and revenge form the basis for Jacqueline Deval's charming debut novel where tales of the darkness lurking in the human heart mingle with literary anecdotes and period recipes.

Set in London, Paris, New York City and Singapore, the novel's heroine, Pomme—chef, vixen and chronicler of the lifestyles, feasts and amorous adventures of famous writers from Proust to Twain—turns to Colette's work for advice in preparing a meal to seduce reluctant English lover Jeremy.

When Jeremy spurns Pomme's affections, she contemplates revenge, administered—how else—with delectable but lethal food. Should it be arsenic-laced jam à la Flaubert's Madame Bovary or poisoned lemonade from Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo ?...Either way, Jeremy will get his just desserts.

Peppered with recipes that will set you cooking and literary quotes that will have you reading aloud, Reckless Appetites serves up fiction, food and sound advice: "...you can never re-create the past," Pomme tells us, "but you can shape your own future. And you can make a cake." (Ecco, $21)

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