Wartime romance 'The Wedding Officer' is Anthony Capella's second book. Set during the 1940s, it is not as immersed in Italian food as his debut, 'The Food of Love', but it certainly manages to incorporate plenty of mouth-watering descriptions of sugo, ragù di guardiaporte, fettuccine al limone and burrata, balls of buffalo mozzarella wrapped in asphodel leaves.
'The Wedding Officer' opens amongst days of pre-war plenty on the slopes of Vesuvius, with Italian cook Livia Pertini being wooed by a handsome soldier. Skip forward to Naples in February 1944 and the arrival of James Gould, a young British army captain, sent to vet the potential fiancées of English soldiers. A rigid stickler for rules and regulations, at first he causes so much trouble that the fiancées, prostitutes and black market restaurateurs decide to do something about it. Their very Italian solution - if his stomach is happy, then he'll be more forgiving - involves persuading Livia to accept a job as James' cook, thus setting the scene for the seduction of an uptight Englishman by the glories of Italian food.
Although there's plenty of sunshine and passion in 'The Wedding Officer', Capella also writes of the terrors of war and its affects. This book is a shade darker than 'The Food of Love' but not enough to discourage any summer holiday reading. Fun and frothy, but ultimately forgettable.