According to a Latin American proverb, in order for a woman to discover her power over men, she must learn to be a lady in the living room, a chef in the kitchen, and a courtesan in the bedroom. After perfecting the grace and elegance of each, a woman will ultimately understand her own potential in life, and the command she has over everyone around her, including herself.
When Pilar is left her grandmother's legacy books, she not only discovers what she is missing in her own life but also discovers the secret life her grandmother carried with her to her grave.
Bound in black silk, the three books teach the sacred beauty rituals that South American women have followed for centuries, the rules of social etiquette every young woman must master, and delicious recipes to seduce men -- recipes that can teach the strong-willed Pilar how to be the perfect lady, wife, and lover.
As Pilar reads through the diaries, she slowly begins to discover the importance of tradition and how to incorporate the secrets into her life as an independent, professional woman. And finally, perhaps -- with her grandmother's wise words floating in her mind -- she will find the courage to follow her heart, wherever it may lead.
Weaving together the story of a modern woman with that of a grandmother's time-honored traditions, The Lady, the Chef, and the Courtesan is a compelling novel of history, seduction, love -- and what it truly means to be a woman.
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Marisol has been a fashion model, banker, belly dancer, chef, aerobics and college language instructor, and most recently, a public relations professional. A native of Venezuela, she currently lives in Denver.From Publishers Weekly:
When Chicago journalist Pilar Castillo returns to her native Venezuela for her beloved grandmother Gabriela's funeral, she and her mother are shocked to see a man they do not know at the service. Who is he, and why does no one in the close-knit family recognize him? The answers lie in a packet of Gabriela's diaries, her legacy to Pilar. Divided into sections corresponding to the South American proverb that a woman must be a lady in the living room, a chef in the kitchen and a courtesan in the bedroom, Gabriela's writings encourage her granddaughter to follow her heart and be true to her passions, and tell the story of Gabriela's own failure to do so by ceding to her wealthy father's wishes, forsaking her true love and marrying the man society dictates she must. Pilar herself is wavering between two suitors-the dashing Rafael, her family's choice, and Patrick, her irreverent photographer boyfriend in the States. Pilar's and Gabriela's stories are markedly different in tone and quality. While Gabriela's story is musical and sensually written, painting an enticing picture of Venezuelan society in the '40s and '50s, Pilar's is heavy-handed and clumsy, patiently explaining her culture as if to somewhat dim-witted readers-the priest comes to dinner "in keeping with a common practice in some South American homes"; Pilar has onyx eyes, "a common trait in Venezuelan women"; the differences between America and Venezuela lie "beneath the surface" and one cannot "grasp [them] merely by watching television." The past/present framing of the story is ungainly but, like the mangoes that provide the impetus for Gabriela's supremely erotic final chapter, the sweetness is within.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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