Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate
I fell in love with the cover of Melissa Senate's novel, The Love Goddess' Cooking School. Then, I fell in love with the book. Senate's latest book combines so many of my favorite elements, cooking, romance, and diary entries. It's going on my list of favorite books of 2010.
Holly Maguire fled to her grandmother's house on Blue Crab Island, Maine, with a broken heart. Holly seemed to spend most of her life searching for her next job, or following her latest relationship, since she didn't really know what she wanted to do or where she belonged. But, when her beloved grandmother, Camilla Constantina, died two weeks after Holly returned, she inherited the house and business, Camilla's Cucinotta, a tiny takeout pasta shop and a popular Italian cooking class. She didn't inherit her grandmother's fortune-telling ability, but, if she worked on it hard enough, maybe she could develop her own skills in cooking Italian food. And, maybe she can find the man Camilla predicted would be Holly's "great love."
Holly is determined to save her grandmother's legacy. Pouring over her grandmother's hand-written recipes, she practices until she can face her first class of four students. Twelve-year-old Mia is desperate to learn to cook Italian food, to stop her father, Liam, from marrying "That totally fake pink bubblehead." Holly's childhood friend, Juliet, sought refuge on the island after a terrible loss. There's Simon, a suddenly single father desperate to save his relationship with his young daughter, and Tamara, whose younger sister is getting married, leaving Tamara still searching for love. This small group joins Holly in mixing ingredients with wishes and memories, the final ingredients in each recipe for food, and life.
Holly Maguire finds more than friends and her own future on Blue Crab Island. Her grandmother's diaries provide stories of her past, stories that link the three generations of women in Holly's family, allowing her to discover so much about her mother, and why she hated the island that Holly and Camilla loved.
But, it's food, the recipes and stories of Camilla Constantina that link all of the people in the book, friends, enemies, and lovers. Melissa Senate includes just enough recipes to lead us into temptation. And, once readers fall into temptation, it's easy to fall in love with Holly Maguire and The Love Goddess' Cooking School.