Book Scene: Meddling grandfathers give rom-com a lift | Explore Yakima

“A Proposal They Can’t Refuse” has a wonderful selection of themes I adore in a book: food, family, culture (in this case Hispanic), and two main characters impossible not to love. Oh, and some Irish whiskey!

Kamilah Vega is a fiery Puerto Rican chef determined to make her family’s restaurant, El Coquí, succeed. She is hopeful that entering the Fall Foodie Tour will help put the restaurant on the map for good. Convincing her family, however, is a struggle, as they are not too keen on the changes that would be necessary for a win. Even worse, they don’t trust her to succeed.

The restaurant shares a building with a distillery.

Liam Kane and his grandfather have turned their family Irish distillery into a successful business and are hoping to win a national competition with their secret new whiskey blend. But just as they are about to get things going, his grandfather hits him with some horrible news: He has cancer, he is not looking for treatment, and he has his heart set on marrying off Liam before his time is up.

He also just so happens to be best friends with Kamilah’s grandfather, and when these two meddling grandfathers get together there is always some disaster ahead. I am sure you can guess what these two get up to. Kamilha’s grandfather promises to help her with the Fall Foodie Tour, and Liam’s grandfather promises to look into treatment IF the two give a relationship between them a go. If they refuse, their grandfathers will sell the building that houses both their business. With their future on the line, the two agree. Or at least they pretend to agree. Surely faking a relationship for a while is not that hard. …

Kamilah’s passionate attitude and Liam’s great mind for business turn out to be the perfect pairing. But these childhood friends have a lot of baggage, and getting through that while pretending not to actually have feelings for each other is difficult.

My favorite characters were no doubt the mischievous and meddling grandparents. It all seems a bit odd at first, but when you find out about Liams’s and Kamilah’s past it slowly starts to make sense.

The book has some great Puerto Rican and Irish folklore references, and the constant food and whiskey descriptions will leave you hungry and thirsty.

Natalie Caña has been recognized by Hip Latina as one of 10 Latinx romance authors to keep on your radar, and the book itself can be found in a few anticipated reads for 2022, including Oprah Daily.

• “A Proposal They Can’t Refuse: A Rom-Com Novel (Vega Family Love Stories, 1)” by Natalie Caña was published by Mira Books on June 7. It retails for $15.99.

• Anne Zastrow works for Inklings Bookshop. She and other Inklings staffers review books in Sunday’s Explore section every week.

Leave a Comment