In a delicious mix of love, war, and food, The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella sweeps you into World War II Naples, Italy, and offers a delectable feast for your senses.
British Captain James Gould is posted to Naples to be the "wedding officer." This position entails that he interview all the Italian women who want to get married to Allied officers. It's not an easy job, especially when he realizes that the majority of the potential brides are prostitutes - something that they have had to do to survive.
When James meets the gorgeous Livia, a feisty widow who has a gift for cooking, he suddenly finds himself looking at the world —and food — in a completely different way.
The Wedding Officer has a lot going for it - the details of Occupied Naples are impeccable, and Capella reveals that he used Sophia Loren's memoirs to help him recreate the time period. The food analogies and descriptions will literally make your mouth water and compel you to reach for your book of Italian recipes or visit your favorite Italian restaurant.
The book slows a bit during the last 1/4, but this is a minor glitch. Livia and James are very likeable characters, and it's a joy to read about their burgeoning relationship.
Capella doesn't mince words on how hard it was for the Italians during the occupation - both under the Germans and the Allies. Although the focus of the book isn't on battles and strategies, it does center on the human cost of war in all its variances.