Love on the Back Burner

A Tasty Romantic Comedy

Fiction - Chick Lit
354 Pages
Reviewed on 04/30/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Barbara Oliverio is the daughter of Italian immigrants and grew up in North Central West Virginia with a love of reading and a passion for learning. Following a career path that included being a teacher, journalist, and marketer, she has lived as far away from home as Italy where she practiced her family's native tongue as well as took advantage of living near to other European countries to travel extensively. A rabid Pittsburgh Steeler fan, she lives with her husband, an equally committed New York Giants fan, in suburban Denver where off-football-season dinner conversation is calmer and is usually accompanied by a meal she cooks from one of her mother's treasured recipes. Other interests include New York Times crossword puzzles, good movies, and travel. She volunteers extensively for her parish and writes for its publications. She also teaches part-time for the St. Catherine of Siena Institute.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Stephanie Dagg for Readers' Favorite

This book, according to its subtitle, is a tasty romantic comedy, and it's exactly that. And also brilliant. Lively and likable Alexandria D'Agostino, the youngest child in a close, hectic Italian-American family, is a fabulous cook as well as a hard working marketer. However, her love life leaves a lot to be desired so she tries the old fashioned approach of winning a man's heart through his stomach. If she puts her wonderful cooking into a guy, surely he'll give her his heart in return. She tries cooking her dates' favorite foods. But there's another saying - too many cooks spoil the broth - and Alexandria gets rather too much advice from well meaning friends and family. Will she find ever the recipe for love?

Love on a Back Burner has all the ingredients for the perfect romcom. It's peopled by fascinating characters who spring from the page with their energy. There are interesting settings that are clearly depicted for us. There's lots of fun, dollops of anguish, and a well thought out and executed plot. Being a romcom, we know our heroine will probably eventually find happiness but we still get swept up by the frustrations and setbacks that life throws at her. You have to give it to Alex - her family would drive lesser people insane! She has big decisions to make but remains strong and in control, and never loses her sense of humor. The book ends with a generous and delicious collection of recipes of dishes mentioned in the story. And, so you know, the butterscotch pie is to die for. Just like you won't put this book down till you've finished it, you won't be able to stop eating that pie until it's all gone!

Natasha Jackson

"Love on the Back Burner" introduces us to Alexandria D’Agostino, a successful marketer with a passion for cooking, especially delicious Italian cuisine, learned from years tugging at the apron of her Nonna. As successful as she is, Alex doesn’t have a great track record in her personal life. Using her artful cooking skills to reel the men in she decides—with a little prodding from her friends—to expand her repertoire to find out what HE likes. From there Alex learns to cook everything from Indian Vindaloo to barbecued ribs and everything in between. After failure after failure Alex begins to wonder if she even knows the recipe for love and happily ever after.

The mark of a good storyteller is the ability to make you root for an unlikeable character and Barbara Oliverio does that with aplomb in "Love on the Back Burner". We all know someone like Alex, so desperate to be in love that she makes mistake after mistake in her search. While reading the story you will cringe at her longing to please her would-be suitors with her world class cooking. And you’ll gasp in astonishment as she ignores her obvious attraction to IT hottie, Cam, in the rudest way possible. But despite Alex’s flaws you want her to find the happiness in her personal life that she finds in the kitchen. But like me, you’ll wish she would just slow down and let a guy take her out for dinner once in a while! Though at times it is overly descriptive, Oliverio does a great job of telling Alex’s story. You’ll read it like watching a romantic comedy, yelling at her, urging her to make different choices and sighing with relief when she finally summons up the courage to go after what she wants.

Patricia Day

"Love on the Back Burner" is a lighthearted look at Alex, who is a successful and talented marketing professional, who cannot seem to get her relationships right. In her private life, her philosophy is that everything can be conquered or resolved with a good meal. It is the way that she shows she cares. Her skills in the kitchen are like second nature to her. Sadly, the liaisons in her life have nothing short of been mundane, until John happens along proclaiming his interest in her. In the meantime, at work, her business demeanor changes when an arrogant serviceman by the name of Cam shows up to work on the computer system. She immediately dislikes and distrusts him. Cam persists in marching into her personal as well as business activities wherever she is, always uninvited. Alex begins to think he must be stalking her. He even challenges her culinary skills, which throws her ‘over the top’. Her antics and thought processes are hilarious, as the story unfolds, and you can only appreciate the rollicking interactions by reading about them yourself.

I found myself laughing out loud many times, as I visualized Alex’s responses to everyone in her life. The story blends her work environment and personal as well as social blunders uniquely, as she desperately searches for her true niche. There are some awesome recipes too. Barbara Oliverio shares pasta, sandwich and sides recipes that sound tantalizingly delicious.