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In this warmhearted and charming debut from Tif Marcelo, a food truck chef and her long lost Army love clash when they cross paths in San Francisco.
Camille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else.
That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.
Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?
Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Well, this book was charming, and sweet and so very endearing! I owe Ari big time for introducing me to North To You, a foodie romance debut that swept me off my feet. It’s not always that I encounter a debut novel that immediately makes me fall in love with the author’s writing, and turn me into a life-long fan, but Tif Marcelo’s North To You did exactly that for me.
This is a book that has a lot of heart to it, and it’s all thanks to the lovable characters. These are characters that are built up so solidly throughout the book that you grow to know every aspect of their personalities intimately. And what great personalities they had! I immediately clicked with the heroine, Camille, a passionate food truck owner, because of how resilient she was. She has had many obstacles thrown her way, but she continued to rise up from every difficult situation she has faced. Camille was hardworking, and very devoted to her sister’s success and happiness; the sacrifices she made for her sister warmed my heart! I just wanted for her to find the happiness she deserved. And she find that with Drew, quite possibly one of the best love interests I have ever read. Drew, a military man, was back home in San Francisco to help his family out with the family restaurant renovations. I loved this guy so much. He was a sweetheart, a complete gentleman, and kind beyond words. I easily warmed up to his character, and was giddy that we got his POV as well. There’s nothing to hate about this guy, and even when he did falter, it’s easy to forgive him.
His and Camille’s relationship was a highlight of North To You. It was a second-chance romance, but not in the typical way. These two knew each other as high-school freshmen, and had a lot of chemistry together, but nothing happened because Camille moved away. When they unexpectedly meet again at a festival, their connection sparks alive. I loved their budding romance! Camille is initially hesitant because she’s very resistant to opening up to someone else, and with Drew’s deployment to Iraq looming over, their relationship could have easily gone awry. However, Tif Marcelo weaves their relationship in a way that makes you forget about those elements. There’s a comfort level to their romance that had me smiling. With all the banter, the fun touristy dates they go on, the steamy chemistry, and the emotional conversations they had, there was absolutely no way I could not have gone gaga over this lovable couple. I just loved them so much.
North To You was much more than a fluffy romance though. Family plays a significant role here. We see that through the relationships between Camille and her sister, as well as Drew and his family. I loved how Drew’s family was depicted here. This is a Filipino American family that reminded me a lot of my own. The expectations that Drew’s father had for him, the big family meals, and the loyalty and love between the family members were brilliantly written. I love when families are portrayed with all their complexities. Before I wrap up this review, I’ve got to mention all the food and restaurant references. With Camille’s food truck which featured yummy paninis, and Drew’s dad’s restaurant with all the Filipino food, I was just constantly hungry throughout the book! I also really liked how Tif Marcelo discussed the impact, good and bad, of social media on small businesses. I thought it added another something special to the book.
Alright. I loved this book, so please buy it. I promise you, you won’t regret it. It’s pure food and romance heaven, and doesn’t that sound amazing?