Anthony Capella is really one of my favourite authors. His books such as “The Various Flavours of Coffee”, “The Food of Love” and “The Empress of Ice Cream” are charming and shamelessly good. But his fourth novel “The Wedding Officer” is probably the best one of them all and it makes you read it up from the very beginning to the very end holus-bolus because it makes you start longing for and dreaming of the Italian sun and the lemon of savour … it brings to Campania Felix.
This is an amazing story of young Neapolitan girl called Livia Pertini and British Wedding Officer – Captain James Gould. Beautiful and vivid Livia lives in the small village of Fisciano at the foot of the Vesuvius. She is also famous for her culinary skills. The young woman falls in love but unfortunately, her husband is killed somewhere in Russia in the World War II. The war also robs almost everything from her … everything she has always loved. She has no other possibility but to leave her birth village and head to Naples where she ought to search for some work without knowing what.
The wartime city is already occupied by the Allies at that time. 1944 brings nothing good to locals – the city is permanently bombarded and almost ruined, black market flourishes, almost every single girl is forced to practise the oldest profession and sell her body for a loaf of bread and a warm blanket which causes the spread of venereal diseases. A common practice is a marriage between a local maiden and a British soldier at this time and Captain James Gould’s hard task is to decrease the number of such marriages to minimum. But he himself is distracted by and fully amazed with Livia and her extremely delicious meals.
The book is an amazing mixture of passion and love under the Italian sun, aromas and culinary temptations, war and natural disasters. Although wartime Naples is full of blood and distractions, Livia and James’ love is born and never disappears.