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Angelina's Bachelors: A Novel with Food Paperback – August 9, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145162056X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451620566
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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

About the Author

Brian O’Reilly is a writer and producer.  He was the creator and executive producer of Food Network’s Dinner: ImpossibleAngelina’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.

More About the Author

Writer and producer Brian O'Reilly 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." To see what's happening in the fictional world of ANGELINA's BACHELORS...visit

Customer Reviews

What a lovely story I greatly enjoyed the cooking and the recipes.
Dianne M.
I could have used a little less detail on recipes and a bit more in the way of character development.
V. Payne
The interaction between characters was well developed and believable.
B. Holshouser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Therese on August 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Read at your own risk, because this book WILL make you want to plant a garden, make a lasagne, befriend old men, and, most of all, EAT. Angelina is a young widow (no spoiler, he dies in the first chapter) who begins cooking for neighborhood gentlemen as a way to keep her household afloat. But Angelina is no ordinary cook--she's a gourmet chef with her own fresh kitchen garden and enough imagination to keep the hardest-to-please eater impressed. The gentlemen are endearing, each in his own way, and the descriptions of food are swoon-worthy.

I second the sentiment of the first reviewer, who reviewed and said "In a word: delicious."
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Paul on August 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a love story that starts with food and ends with food, and packed in between is a sandwich layered with great characters, funny situations, accidents of fate and make-yourself recipes that you can not only imagine, but make too.

As you read O'Reilly's delightfully unfolding tale, a sort of music starts in your head, like a movie score, but somehow even better. And as his well-crafted characters take their individual turns on his Philadelphia stage, the music shifts according to their distinctive personalities. By the time you finish this novel a full blown symphony is blasting away in your head and heart, that when you reach the final page, you'll stand up and cheer.

I sure did.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Leland Gregory on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a writer, I don't usually have time to read other people's works; but I came across "Angelina's Bachelors" and haven't been able to put it down yet. I love the unique approach to story telling mixed with recipes that the O'Reilly's have melded together so wonderfully. The story is very compelling and Brian's attention to detail is riveting and his word play is memorable (in fact, I might steal some of his lines). I haven't tried any of the recipes yet because I haven't put the book down long enough to get out my mixing bowl. I'm in love with the character of Angelina and her story moves along quickly with dozens of twists and turns - and recipes. It seems like Angelina wrote both the book and the instructions herself and it makes the book most endearing. For a debut novel I think Brian has hit this one spot on. I hope he continues with a series of books featuring this strong, Italian woman from Philadelphia. Great read and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good story and good food.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel.W on January 31, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Such a sweet story! I love to cook so I thought this book looked like a good try. The love that goes into cooking for other people is portrayed so well in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and flew through it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TSTBren on January 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
This review is for the Audiobook Version of Angelina's Bachelors: A Novel with Food narrated by Xe Sands. Along with being an excellent overall listen for many of the previously stated reasons I'd have to say that anyone with even a passing interest in cooking or the Food Network would love listening to this book for the sheer genius of the recipes / food / meal descriptions, they will have your mouth watering.

From the moment I started listening to Angelina's Bachelors: A Novel with Food, I was totally engrossed. Narrator Xe Sands brings this Italian neighborhood in South Philadelphia completely to life with her skilled narration of this moving and delicious storyline.

Frank and Angelina are blissfully happy in their marriage and with their life when Frank suddenly dies from a heart attack, leaving Angelina a young widow, adrift in a life without him. Vocally, we experience every emotion Angelina experiences - warmth and love, a wrenching grief, sadness mixed with determination that turns to hope, and then delight as she builds a very different but once again happy life for herself. This takes place over time with the help of family, friends and Food.

Angelina uses her amazing cooking abilities as therapy and then as a way to make ends meet, while filling a spot in several men's lives. Angelina's Bachelors moves at a fast pace with something new around every corner as the cast of characters builds and grows together with each artfully created and mouth watering meal.

Ms. Sands gives each character throughout Angelina's Bachelors a beautifully defined voice, which is impressive considering the fact that there are multiple main characters, each with a vivid personality that shows through when they speak. I particularly enjoyed hearing the Italian accents prevalent throughout the story.

A wonderfully written book brought vibrantly alive with Xe Sands' excellent narration.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carla Ford VINE VOICE on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
This was just a wonderful warm and fuzzy, filled with great sounding recipes, friends and family you wish you could have, and a story of a woman who survived the loss of her husband and picked herself up and went on. When Angelina suddenly becomes a widow at a young age, she is unprepared for how alone she feels. Unable to sleep alone, one night she just gets up and starts cooking, wanting to occupy herself doing something that she enjoys doing. Before she realizes what she is doing, she has cooked so much food that is will be impossible for her to eat all of it. When her mother-in-law finds her the next morning, surrounded by all of this food, the two of them get busy figuring out who to give it to, and that is the beginning of Angelina's new career. Before she knows it, she has put her talent for cooking to good use, and has created a new business, feeding seven bachelors from her neighborhood their daily meals. It doesn't take long for these seven men to become like family to her. I will have to pass along the included recipes to some of my more accomplished cooking friends, although they sound like amazing dishes, they are much more gourmet than I would ever tackle!
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