Book

Chick Lit 101: Savory Summer Dishes

THE VILLAGE BRIDE OF BEVERLY HILLS

After an arranged marriage in India, Priya moves to L.A., home of her ultratraditional in-laws.

Source of Angst She stumbles into a dream job as an entertainment reporter but must keep it secret.

Celeb Cameo Priya lands an interview with an actress with a ''million-dollar smile,'' a history of failed romances, and a new nobody of a husband who worked on the crew of one of her films. Julia Roberts, anyone?

Lowdown Would megastars invite her to casual lunches and send birthday flowers? Um, no. But the culture-clash dilemmas ring heartbreakingly true. B+

DEAR PRINCE CHARMING

Uptight publicist Valerie (implausibly) hires Eric, a gorgeous but reclusive advice columnist, to write for a new magazine...and then learns he's gay.

Source of Angst Eric gets his ruggedly handsome (and straight) best friend Jack to be his public face, forcing Jack and Valerie to pull off the stressful charade.

Celeb Cameo When Jack's newfound celebrity lands him in the tabloids, David Letterman wants him to read a Top Ten list.

Lowdown The mistaken-identity theme -- not to mention the driven-career-woman-who's-softened-by-love plot -- couldn't be more cliched. C-

THE FOOD OF LOVE

Idealistic American college student Laura goes to Rome and falls in lust with sexy cad Tommaso after he woos her with sensual, expertly prepared feasts.

Source of Angst Said meals are actually prepared by Tommaso's best friend Bruno, who's secretly in love with Laura.

Celeb Cameo Italian cooking maestro Marcella Hazan is quoted liberally throughout the book.

Lowdown Though the breezily romantic plot steals shamelessly from Cyrano de Bergerac, the scrumptious descriptions of the carb-heavy repasts are food porn at its best. A-

Originally posted Aug 06, 2004 Published in issue #777 Aug 06, 2004 Order article reprints