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The Wedding Officer: A Novel (Bantam Discovery) Mass Market Paperback – May 20, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Discovery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Discovery (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553591452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553591453
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

London-based culinarian Capella (Food of Love) returns with the WWII-era story of Livia Pertini, a beautiful young widow who leaves her family's destitute country osteria to try to find work in Naples. There, English Capt, James Gould has been assigned the task of discouraging British soldiers from marrying Italian women, many of whom have turned to prostitution in order to survive. At first Gould is a stickler for the rules, closing down restaurants and denying couples permission to marry. But when Angelo, the maitre d' at restaurant Zi'Teresa, tricks him into hiring Livia as the officers' cook, things loosen up considerably. Capella celebrates war-torn pleasures of the flesh with a winning in-the-moment lightness.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Livia Pertini's misfortunes cascade on one another like lava flowing down the flanks of Vesuvius, but she defiantly guards her dignity and self-respect even as other girls in war-torn Naples resort to selling themselves to survive. Even losing a beauty competition to her cow leaves her unshaken. When she finally does fall for a persistent, handsome soldier, he is shipped off only to die on the Russian front. As the Allies retake Italy, Livia exercises the one skill that sets her apart: her talent in the kitchen, especially her knack for making outstanding burrata: fresh, rich, leaf-enrobed mozzarella. But life and love rebound for Livia with the arrival of Captain James Gould, assigned to prevent hasty marriages between occupying Allied troops and Neapolitan prostitutes. Livia becomes the captain's cook, and her cuisine inexorably opens the door to his heart. Capella's vividly sensuous command of the arts of both food and romance will attract readers. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I heartily recommend this book.
C. Reynolds
There is a wonderful love story, but also a lot of humor, and what I like the best- was that you learn so much about conditions in WWII, volcanoes, and Italian food.
Naomi Manygoats
This is detailed very well in the novel with all the emotions coming through clearly.
P. Newhart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Romance can take place anytime, anywhere --- even in the midst of war. The sights, sounds and flavors of the Italian coast, rich with traditions and recipes passed through family members, entice British Captain James Gould to fall in love with Italy and the very beautiful and talented Livia Pertini. A mere 22 years old, Captain Gould is sent to Naples, Italy, to discourage British soldiers from taking war brides from among the many young Italian women who must prostitute themselves for bits of food in order to survive amidst deplorable conditions. The Allied occupation of Italy is portrayed with candor. Black marketeering, venereal disease, prostitution and corruption are rampant, and the new wedding officer is in charge of restoring order.

The Amalfi coast we know today as the Italian Riviera is in shambles, bombed by the Germans, British and Americans as they fight the war. In the midst of the rubble, Captain Gould is taken aback by the view, and the reader is treated to the stunning imagery of "the vast orange sun setting over the bay of Naples...Along the seafront, palm trees nodded in the evening breeze. And on the other side of the bay, the vast bulk of Mount Vesuvius loomed..." Despite the harsh realities of a war-torn country, the reader is transported to a time and place in history that enriches our understanding of the power of culture, food and love.

To begin your summer reading with THE WEDDING OFFICER and a cool limoncello is a must. Whether basking in the warm Mediterranean sun on the Amalfi coast, poolside at a resort hotel or beneath a striped umbrella on any beach, feed your appetite for wine, food and love with this book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on August 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A young English officer, James Gould, is posted to Naples during WW2 to act as a "wedding officer", someone whose duty it is is to try to prevent English soldiers from marrying Italian women. The local girls are close to starvation, owing to the previous occupation of German troops and the confiscation of the food stores and farm animals of the locals, so are often forced, by necessity, to tade sexual favours for the extra food available to the soldiers. These girls are then branded as prostitutes and are rejected as brides by the army authorities when the majority of them are only trying to keep themselves and their families alive. When James hires Livia, a local young widow, as a cook to cater for the CIC, later known as the CIA, officers, billeted in the town, she transforms their tastes with tasty, regional food such as they've never experienced before, and a romance begins between them. The story is liberally interspersed with descriptions of simple but exquisite food, served with the minimum of fuss, such as they were in Mr.Capella's previous book "The Food of Love", and are a mouth watering accompaniment to a tale of life during a war in an only partially liberated country, and to a tender love story. I enjoyed every minute of its reading!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Black on April 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an entrancing novel that captures you at the beginning and doesn't let you go till the very last page. Beautifully written, there are many journeys of discovery interwoven throughout the book from the seductions of food to seduction of the flesh, from innocence to a terrible understaning of war and then the healing that comes with true love and true friendship. If this doesn't make you passionate for pasta and desperate to visit Italy - nothing will! I'm purchasing another copy to give to my best friend for her birthday and my husband is now enjoying his turn at reading ours.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In 1944, the British army occupies Naples. However, the brass back in London is not concerned with a counterattack by Mussolini's fascists or the German Nazis as the enemy is reeling from the allied thrusts. Instead the biggest concern is fraternization between the young British soldiers and the Italian beauties whose men are at war or dead. Assigned as the critical person in city-occupier relations is twenty-two years old Captain James Gould who came to Naples to serve as THE WEDDING OFFICER preventing relationships especially marital ones between the soldiers and the city belles.

James does a great job although many of the young resent his eagerness to obey orders. However, he has a problem when he meets the officer chef widow Livia Pertini. Besides loving her cooking as he has not tasted anything close to the heavenly dishes she makes; he wants her with a passion that rivals her fervor for life. Struggling to control his desire for Livia as orders are orders, James falls in love. However he realizes the hypocrisy as he is THE WEDDING OFFICER expected to prevent such goings on as he desires while also investigating marriages and claimed fatherhood between Italians and Brits. This is a terrific vivid WW II tale starring a likable protagonist trying to accomplish his assigned mission while his heart tells him to disobey the order. The story line provides a deep look at Naples as the British army that occupies the city; that enables the audience to infer what the war has done to the local populace and somewhat less the foreign army. Besides the irony of sending single twentyish male for this job, the delicious repasts and the impact of the eruption of Vesuvius, Anthony Capella provides a wonderful romance, but it is the historical tidbits interwoven into the plot that makes 1944 flow so alive.
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