Romance adds spice, but food the star

THE TEMPORARY BRIDE<br><b>Jennifer Klinec</b><br><i>Hachette</i>
THE TEMPORARY BRIDE<br><b>Jennifer Klinec</b><br><i>Hachette</i>
Her passion is food but Jennifer Klinec also writes surprisingly well.

The Temporary Bride is the literary equivalent of a satisfying meal.

Her style is light and easy to digest but not so simple as to be boring.

She indulges in descriptions of meals, ingredients and gastronomic encounters, inviting the reader to share her curiosity for food.

But she doesn't linger, moving the narrative along with purpose.

Born in Canada with an insatiable desire to travel alone to remote parts of the world, Klinec ends up in London climbing the corporate ladder.

She abandons the pursuit of money to indulge her passion and starts cooking classes out of her apartment, while travelling for recipes and inspiration at every opportunity.

That leads her to Iran, where she seeks the tutelage of ''real'' chefs in real homes.

A chance encounter with 20-something Vahid sees her learning traditional Iranian dishes from his mother.

What Klinec doesn't expect to find among the bowls of sheep offal soup is love.

And Vahid - fresh from military service - has always planned to marry a fellow Iranian virgin.

Their relationship develops, despite the six-year age difference and obvious cultural clashes.

Klinec seems to discover the course of her journey with the reader, unsure of how it will end.

Although a love story, it's not cheesy or suffocating.

And ultimately Klinec serves up Iranian cuisine as the main meal, albeit with a side of culture and a dash of romance.

Rosie Manins is chief reporter at Dunedin Television.

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