For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.
But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.
Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?
Title: A Pho Love Story
Author: Loan Le
Published on February 9th, 2021 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 402 pages
Genre / Themes: Contemporary | Realistic Fiction | Romance
Rating: 3.25 cups of tea
As many other reviewers will tell you, do NOT read this book on an empty stomach (no … I definitely didn’t order pho while reading this novel …). The description of the food is too detailed and scrumptious sounding!
Besides the incredible food though, I definitely have mixed feelings about this novel. The own voices narrative beautifully and authentically described the Vietnamese culture, which helped bring the families and their past struggles to life. Gradually learning more about the rivalry between the two families was both enticing and heartbreaking, showing me the privileges I’ve been given in life.
The love story was okay. I had a hard time really getting a grasp on the main characters’ personalities. They didn’t seem to have unique voices, even with the dual POV writing style. They just seemed so flat, which I really hate to say. I also found the book longer than necessary … many parts felt overly descriptive and many scenes seemed unnecessary to the story. Also, the forbidden romance felt really anticlimactic … how did EVERYONE ELSE KNOW THEY WERE IN A RELATIONSHIP BUT THEIR PARENTS?! They weren’t very sneaky about it, so no idea.
I did enjoy this novel, especially the family dynamics and the constant love of food. Even with my issues above, I’d still recommend this novel to all those foodies out there!