Source: Goodreads First Reads Giveaway
Published: Orion 2013
This debut novel from Philip Kazan is stunning and one which should be savoured very slowly. Appetite is set in Florence 1466, in the middle of the Italian Renaissance and tells the story of Nino Latini from age fourteen when he has just lost his mother. Nino has an exceptional gift at being able to taste things to the extreme; he can tell whereabouts something was grown just by its taste. At the start of the book Nino is spending most of his time with his childhood sweetheart Tessina Albizzi until fate separates them. Nino then begins to work as a chef in his uncle’s tavern and from here his cooking skills grow until he finds himself cooking for the Medici‘s under the watchful eye from Maestro Zohan di Ferrara. From here Nino’s confidence grows and so do his ambitions both to win back Tessina and to create the most perfect feast. Nino must trust fate to lead him on his journey.
I loved this book, the descriptive language which Kazan uses creates the most beautiful images which make Florence and all the food comes alive. You feel as if you are experiencing the rich and lavish dishes which are being created for yourself. Kazan’s descriptions are so good that when he is describing the rather more unpleasant side of Renaissance Florence I did want to heave at one point.
Nino was not the most appealing character to me, as he does come across as very arrogant, self-important and sometimes just plain silly. I did however like the way in which you felt his character develop from an idealistic young man who was a full of himself to a more sensible grown up man who began to consider the feelings of those around him.
I think this is a wonderful debut novel which has given me a wonderful glimpse into the lives of those living in Renaissance Italy and the importance that was placed on food at that time. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction at this time or someone who enjoys a story with a romantic element.
I am so grateful to have won this as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, it is a truly wonderful book and I hope to see more from Philip Kazan in the future.
I rate this book 5/5