From the bestselling author of See Jane Date and The Secret of Joy comes a charming, warm-hearted story about a woman’s search for happiness after inheriting her grandmother’s cooking school.
When Holly Maguire inherits “Camilla’s Cucinotta,” her late grandmother’s home-based Italian cooking school in Blue Crab Island, Maine, twelve of the sixteen students for the upcoming fall class drop out. After all, Holly isn’t a seventy-five-year-old Milanese love goddess, whose secret sauces had aphrodisiac properties and whose kitchen table fortune-telling often came true. Holly, a broken-hearted thirty-year-old who’s never found her niche, can barely cook at all. But she’s determined to keep her beloved grandmother’s legacy alive. Armed with Camilla’s hand-scrawled recipe book, Holly welcomes her students: apprentice Mia, a twelve-year-old desperate to learn to cook Italian to stop her divorced father from marrying his ditzy girlfriend; Juliet, Holly’s childhood friend grieving for her newborn—and the marriage she left behind on the mainland; Simon, struggling to be an every-other-weekend dad to his young son after his wife left him; and Tamara, a single thirty-something yearning for love.
Mixing fervent wishes and bittersweet memories with simmering sauces and delectable Italian dishes, Holly and the students of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School create their own recipes for happiness and become masters of their own fortunes.
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About the Author
Melissa Senate is the author of eight novels, including the bestselling See Jane Date, which was made into an ABC Family TV movie and has sold over 200,000 copies worldwide. She's published short pieces in Everything I've Always Wanted to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, It's a Wonderful Lie, Flirting with Pride and Prejudice, and American Girls About Town. A former romance and young adult editor from New York, she now lives on the southern coast of Maine with her son.
Read an Excerpt
According to Holly Maguire’s late grandmother, revered on Blue Crab Island, Maine, for her fortune-telling as much as her cooking, the great love of Holly’s life would be one of the few people on earth to like sa cordula, an Italian delicacy. It was made of lamb intestines and stewed with onions, tomatoes, and peas in a savory butter sauce that did little to hide the fact that it looked exactly like what it was.
“So I’ll know if someone is ‘the one’ if he likes stewed lamb guts?” Holly had asked repeatedly over the years. “That’s it? That’s my entire fortune?” She’d kept hoping her grandmother would say, Just kidding! Of course that’s not it, bella. Your true fortune is this: you will be very happy.
Holly would be satisfied with that.
Not that Camilla Constantina would ever say just kidding. Or kid, for that matter.
“That is it,” was her grandmother’s response, every time, her gleaming black eyes giving nothing away. “The stones have spoken.”
A month ago, her hand trembling, her heart hoping, Holly had set a plate of sa cordula in front of John Reardon, the man she loved. As she’d been living in California, thousands of miles away from her grandmother in an attic apartment with no oven, she’d paid the Italian butcher’s eighty-six-year-old great-aunt to prepare the dish. Holly and John had been a couple for almost two years. She was practically a stepmother to his four-year-old daughter Lizzie. And more than anything, Holly wanted to become part of their family.
Why had her grandmother saddled her with this fortune? Who could possibly like sa cordula? Holly had tasted it three times before, and it was so . . . slimily awful that even Holly’s grandfather, who, per legend, ate even more reviled “delicacies,” had hated it. But the love of Camilla’s life wasn’t supposed to like it. Her Great Love was to have blond hair and blue eyes, and when in 1957 twenty-two-year-old single Camilla had turned down another eligible, dark-eyed, dark-haired man in her small village near Milan, everyone worried she was crazy like her spinster aunt Marcella, who muttered in a back room. But some months later, the dashing Armando Constantina, with his butter-colored hair and Adriatic blue eyes, had come to town and swept her off her feet all the way to America, and Camilla’s reputation as a fortune-teller had been restored.
Holly’s father, Bud Maguire, had taken one bite of sa cordula during Thanksgiving dinner in 1982 and forever refused to taste anything his mother-in-law cooked unless he recognized it and knew what it was. Bud liked plain old spaghetti doused with jarred Ragu and a piece of garlic bread, which was just fine with Holly’s mother, Luciana Maguire, who went by Lucy and had no interest in her heritage or cooking. Or fortune-telling. Especially because Camilla Constantina’s supposed source of knowledge was a trio of small, smooth stones she’d chosen from the banks of the Po River as a three-year-old. “I’d sooner believe in a crystal ball from the clearance aisle in Walmart,” Holly’s mother had often said with her usual disdain.
It had taken Camilla Constantina until Holly was sixteen to tell her granddaughter her fortune. As an adolescent, Holly had asked her grandmother over and over to sit her down with the stones and tell Holly what she was desperate to know—would Mike Overstill ever ask her out? Would she do okay on the American history test worth 85 percent of her final grade? Would her mother ever stop being such a killjoy? Camilla would just take both her hands and tell her all would be well. But finally, on Holly’s sixteenth birthday, when Mike Overstill had not shown up at six thirty to escort her to the junior prom (he had called twenty minutes later to say, “Sorry, um, I forgot I asked someone else”), her grandmother, who was visiting, reached for her white satin pouch (out of eyesight of Holly’s mother, of course) and said si, it was time. Camilla took the three smooth stones from the pouch and closed her hands around them. As Holly held her breath in anticipation, her grandmother held Holly’s hand with her free one and closed her eyes for a good half minute.
And the long-awaited revelation was that the great love of Holly’s life would like lamb intestines tossed with peas. In butter sauce.
This, from a woman who’d rightly foretold the fates of hundreds of year-rounders and summer tourists on Blue Crab Island and the nearby mainland towns, who’d drive over the bridge to pay twenty-five dollars to sit in the breakfast nook of Camilla Constantina’s famed kitchen and have their fortunes told.
Holly had said she was sure there was something else. Perhaps her grandmother could close her eyes a bit longer? Or just do it all over again? Camilla would only say that sometimes the fortune could not be understood readily, that it held hidden meaning. To the day Camilla Constantina had died, just two weeks ago, the fortune had not changed. Nor had the meaning become clear. Holly had been taking it literally from the first time she’d fallen in love. At nineteen. Then again at twenty-four. And yet again two years ago, at twenty-eight, when she fell in love with John Reardon.
Because she couldn’t, wouldn’t serve lamb intestines to a guy she was crazy about, she’d wait until she knew she was losing him, knew from the way he stopped holding her gaze, started being impatient, started being unavailable. And unkind.
And so to console herself that this man was not her Great Love, she would serve him the sa cordula as an appetizer—a small portion so as not to tip the scales in her favor (who would like a big portion of sheep guts?). And each time, bittersweet success. The love she was losing was not her Great Love. He was just a guy who didn’t like sa cordula—and didn’t love her. It made it easier when he broke up with her.
This time, though, this love, was different. Despite John’s pulling away. Despite his impatience. Despite the way he stopped calling her at midnight to tell her he loved her and wish her sweet dreams. She loved John Reardon. She wanted to marry John Reardon, this man she’d fallen for on a solo vacation to San Francisco, where she’d gone to get over a lesser love. This man she’d stayed for, uprooting herself from Boston, hoping to finally find her . . . destiny, what she was meant to do with her life. And she thought she’d found it in this mini family of two. She wanted to spend the rest of her life baking cookies with Lizzie every other weekend during the child’s visitation with her father; she wanted to shampoo those golden curls, push her on swings, and watch her grow. Everyone, namely her mother, had told her she was crazy for dating a newly divorced man with a kid. But Holly adored Lizzie, loved almost-stepmotherhood. And she loved John enough to wait. Though the past few months, he’d stopped referring to “some day” altogether.
And the past few weeks, he was more distant than ever. They always got together on Wednesday nights, so there Holly was, changing Lizzie into her favorite Curious George pajamas after her bath while John avoided Holly. He was on his cell phone (first with his brother, then with his boss), texting a client, emailing a file, looking for Lizze’s favorite Hello Kitty cup. He was everywhere but next to Holly.
She sat on the brown leather sofa in the living room, Lizzie cross-legged next to her as Holly combed her long, damp, honey-colored curls and sang the ABC song. Lizzie knew all her letters except for LMNOP, which she combined into “ellopy.” Usually when Holly gave Lizzie her bath before dinner and brushed out her beautiful hair and sang silly nursery rhymes that made Lizzie giggle or they got to the “ellopy,” John would stand there with that expression, the one that always assured Holly he loved her, that he was deeply touched at how close she and his daughter were. That one day, some day, maybe soon, he would ask her to marry him. And that this wish she walked around with, slept with every night and woke up with every morning would come true.
This wasn’t a fairy tale, though, and Holly knew in her heart that John wasn’t going to propose. Not in the near future and probably not ever. She knew this with 95 percent certainty, even though she wasn’t psychic like her grandmother.
But how was she supposed to give up on John? Give up on what she wanted so badly? To marry this man, be this child’s stepmother, and start a new life here in this little pale blue house on a San Francisco hill? Yes, things were strained between her and John, though she wasn’t sure why. But that didn’t mean things could not be unstrained. A long-term relationship went through lulls. This was a lull, perhaps.
There was only one way to know.
And so, when Lizzie was occupied with her coloring book and a new pack of Crayolas, Holly went heavy-hearted into the kitchen to make the dinner she’d promised Lizzie, cheeseburgers in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head (the only food she cooked really well) and to heat up the Great Love test. With the cheeseburgers in front of them all, a side of linguini for Lizzie in butter sauce with peas (which looked a bit like the sa cordula) and two small plates of sa cordula before her and John, Holly sat down beside this pair she loved so much—and waited.
If John liked the sa cordula, she could relax, accept what he said, that he was just “tired, distracted by work.” Etcetera, etcetera. He was her Great Love. If he didn’t like it, then what? No, she wouldn’t let herself go there. Her breath caught somewhere in her body as John placed his napkin on his lap and picked up his fork, eyeing the sa cordula. In one moment, everything between them would change because of hope or lack thereof, and yet John looked exactly the same as he always did, sitting there at the dinner table in front of the bay window, so handsome, his thick sandy-blond hair hand-swept back from his face, the slight crinkles at the edges of his hazel eyes, the chiseled jawline with its slight darkening of five o’clock shadow.
Holly sucked in a quiet breath and took the quickest bite, keeping her expression neutral—despite the gritty, slimy texture of the sa cordula. The intestines of a lamb did not taste “just like chicken.” Did not taste like anything but what it looked like. Savory butter sauce or not. And as if the peas could help.
John forked a bite and stared at it for a moment. “What is this again?” he asked.
“An old-world Italian dish my nonna sometimes makes,” Holly said, trying not to stare at his fork.
Lizzie twirled her fork in her linguini the way Holly had taught her. “I wish I had a nonna.”
“You do, pumpkin,” Holly said, treasuring the idea of Camilla Constantina showing Lizzie how to roll out pasta with a tiny rolling pin. “You have two. Your mom’s mother and your dad’s mother.”
“But if you and Daddy get married, then I’ll have a nonna Holly too.”
Out of the mouths of babes. Holly smiled. John stiffened. Lizzie twirled her linguini.
And then, as if in slow motion, John slid the fork of lamb intestines, topped with one pea, into his mouth. He paled a bit, his entire face contorting. He spit it out into his napkin. “I’m sorry, Holly, but this is the most disgusting thing I ever ate. No offense to your grandmother.”
Or me, she thought, her heart breaking.
Maybe her grandmother was wrong.
But forty minutes later, after Holly had helped Lizzie brush her teeth, pulled the comforter up over her chest, read half of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and then kissed the sleeping girl’s green-apple-scented head, John had come right out and said it. That he was sorry, it-wasn’t-her-it-was-him, that despite not meaning to, he’d fallen in love with his administrative assistant, and she had a young son, so they really understood each other. And no, he didn’t think it was a good idea if Holly continued to see Lizzie, even once a month for a trip to the playground or for ice cream. “She’s four, Holl. She’ll forget about you in a couple of weeks. Let’s not complicate anything, okay?”
Holly wanted to complicate things. She wanted to complicate this whole breakup. And so she pleaded her case, reminded him of their two years together, of Lizzie’s attachment to her, of the plans they’d made for the future. Which, Holly had had to concede, had dwindled to maybe going to the San Francisco Zoo the weekend after next. And when he just stood there, not saying anything and taking a sideways glance at the clock, she realized he was waiting for her to leave so he could call his new girlfriend and tell her he’d finally done it, he’d dumped Holly.
As if in slow motion, Holly went into the bathroom, afraid to look at him, afraid to look at anything, lest she start screaming like a lunatic. She closed the door and slid down against the back of it, covering her face with her hands as she cried. She sucked in a deep breath, then forced herself up to splash water on her face. She looked in the mirror over the sink, at the dark brown eyes, the dark brown hair, and the fair skin, so like her grandmother’s, and told herself, He’s not your great love. He’s not meant to be. It was little consolation.
And what if he had liked the sa cordula? Then what? How could she fight for a great love with someone who’d said he didn’t love her as easily as he’d said the sa cordula was disgusting?
After a gentle yet impatient, “Holly, you can’t stay in there all night,” she came out of the bathroom. He handed her a shopping bag of her possessions he’d clearly packed earlier that day in anticipation of dumping her—a few articles of clothing and her toothbrush, and again said he was sorry, that he never wanted to hurt her. And then she stood in the doorway of Lizzie’s room, watching the girl’s slight body rise and fall with each sleeping breath.
“Good-bye, sweet girl,” she whispered. “I’ll bet if I’d given you a taste of the sa cordula, you would have asked for another.”
© 2010 melissa senate
Reading Group Guide
This reading group guide for The Love Goddess' Cooking School has an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Melissa Senate. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Thirty-year-old Holly Maguire returns to a small island off the coast of Maine when she inherits her grandmother’s cooking school. In the proud tradition of her Italian grandmother, known for her fortune-telling abilities as well as her amazing cuisine, Holly begins teaching a cooking class. The class changes the lives of its students: a grieving mother, a newly separated father, a chronically single thirtysomething woman, and a twelve-year-old girl from a broken home. Can this neophyte chef keep the business afloat and possibly find love in the process?
TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Holly arrives on Blue Crab Island after a devastating breakup. Two weeks later, her beloved grandmother passes away in her sleep. Now Holly is charged with keeping hergrandmother’s cucinotta going, despite her marginal knowledge of the business. Was there ever a time in your life when you were as down on your luck as poor Holly? How did you make it through and what did you learn from the experience?
2. Holly returns to Blue Crab Island because of the special bond she shares with her grandmother and the safety and comfort the island represents. Where is that special place of comfort for you?
3. Why do you think Luciana did not share Holly’s enthusiasm and love for the island? How does reading Camilla’s diary give Holly a clearer picture of her mother’s early life? How does their relationship change over the course of the story?
4. Each of Holly’s four students is struggling with a personal hardship: Juliet, with the loss of her child; Simon, with his recent divorce; Tamara, with her family’s concern over her being single; and Mia, trying to rid her dad of his awful girlfriend. How does the cooking class help each of them? How can cooking be therapeutic? Do you think great cuisine can be considered an art form?
5. Romance was never easy for Holly: “She’d let her relationships take center stage of her heart, mind, and soul. Maybe because she’d never found her niche” (page 31). How did her attitude toward romance change after her breakup with John Reardon and her arrival in Maine?
6. She may not have the “knowing” like Camilla, but how does Holly reach out and help her students with their problems?
7. Camilla Constantina is known for her fortune-telling abilities, at least “for being right 70 percent of the time.” Would you ever want to possess a gift like this? Have you ever had your fortune told?
8. Were you surprised at the disappearance of the infamous white binder full of recipes? Do you agree with the way Holly handled the situation? How did it make her grow as a chef in her own right?
9. Liam’s ex-wife Veronica shows up unexpectedly and throws a wrench into his burgeoning romance with Holly. Do you think Liam handled the situation tactfully? What about Holly?
10. What did you think of Mia’s risky plan to make the sa cordula for her father, to disprove Camilla’s prophecy?
11. Lenora Windemere branded Camilla Constantina a witch, which made life in the small island community very difficult for a woman on her own. How does Holly face similar treatment when she first arrives?
12. Holly might not have been the original “Love Goddess” her grandmother was, but she played matchmaker for two of her students, however inadvertently, and also managed to find love herself. Were you satisfied with the ending?
13. Melissa Senate’s writing, especially the descriptions of the food and its preparation, is so vivid. Did it inspire you to attempt a risotto or to enroll in a cooking class?
ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB
1. Make your book club night a potluck Italian dinner, with each member making and bringing her own Italian favorites. Sa cordula, anyone?
2. Exchange recipes with your book group, slightly tailored the Camilla Constantina way. Make sure each recipe includes one key ingredient such as “one fervent wish” or “one sad memory,” and each member can discuss what she chose and why.
3. Check out the author’s website at www.melissasenate.com for her informative blog and interviews with other authors.
A CONVERSATION WITH MELISSA SENATE
Where did the inspiration for The Love Goddess’ Cooking School come from?
I’d been thinking a lot about my own grandmother, who died a few years ago, and how much she meant to me, how much comfort she was to me during my childhood. It’s very likely impossible for anyone to think of her grandmother without thinking of food. Now, my grandmother was not Italian, not 70 percent psychic, not a cook, not anything like Camilla Constantina, but to me, as a young girl, she was magical, the queen of Queens Boulevard in New York City, where I spent weekend after weekend in her kind company. I suppose The Love Goddess’ Cooking School came out of my wanting to honor her memory, my enchantment with all things Italian—and a determination to learn to cook Italian food—and the wonderful way that cooking brings people together. My son, who’s eight, loves to cook with me, and I’ve noticed that he’ll tell me his secrets as he’s scrambling eggs or stirring brownie batter. As long as I don’t ask.
You live on the coast of Maine. Is Blue Crab Island a real place or just based on one of the many beautiful islands off the coast? How important is the setting of a story for you?
Blue Crab Island is fictitious and based on two nearby-tome islands—one, the island off my town (Yarmouth), which is reached via a beautiful bridge but is strictly residential, and the other, the amazing Peaks Island, accessible only by ferry but its own little world with schools and shopping and inns. Island life is so magical. And setting is everything to me—I moved to Maine from New York City in the summer of 2004, and as I set my novels here, I discover how much the state has become a part of me.
Poor Holly loses her boyfriend, her job, and then her beloved grandmother. Have you ever been at a similar crossroads in your life? How did you deal with the inevitable change that comes from these milestone moments?
I’ve been through some of life’s whoppers, and I think what has gotten me through are three things: (1) I’m an optimist (which helps a lot); (2) I’m very motivated by possibility. It’s one of my favorite words; (3) my motto is: Just do it. If you put those three things together, you can get through some trying times (including change, which has always been very hard on me).
You were an editor at a publishing house before becoming a full-time writer. Is it easier or more difficult being on the other side of the desk?
I loved being an editor (though I must say I hated contract negotiations), but it’s tough stuff—you have to keep so many balls up in the air, put out fires, be creative on demand, be all business, be, be, be. You’re the author’s advocate, the publishing house’s advocate. It’s a very demanding job, but it’s the best job in the world if you love books, love the business, love the process. Being an author isn’t easy— from the words that won’t come to the waits to the crushing disappointments, but it’s so incredibly fulfilling. I make up stories, tell them in my own voice, work out my big and small life questions through characters and themes. Writing is a joy. I liked working for a corporation, liked every boss
I’ve ever had (strange, but true), loved having coworkers and lunch buddies and office holiday parties, but I love nothing more than being my boss at a job so personally rewarding and making my own hours, especially since I’m a single mother.
Did you always want to write a novel where cooking was a major theme? What is it about cooking and good food that seems to be so cathartic? Is food central to your life?
I’m thinking about food right now. About spaghetti carbonara, which I wish I didn’t love quite so much. I find cooking so satisfying—following the steps, improvising, allowing yourself to experiment, to make a recipe a bit of your
own. And then you get to eat! It’s so much fun to cook with others—especially with my son, who loves to help in the kitchen. It’s impossible not to talk while you’re cooking with someone. The whole process is about sharing—and then you
get to share the results of your labor of love. I always knew I wanted to write about cooking, but I wasn’t sure in what way, until I started thinking about what would happen if a group of slightly lost strangers took a cooking class . . . how they’d form friendships, open up, how their lives would change because of the class, because of one another. I also wanted to learn to cook classic Italian . . . and did through Holly and her students. My chicken alla Milanese has gotten pretty darn good.
You have a knack for making the reader extremely hungry with mouthwatering descriptions of the Italian cuisine. Are you a cook yourself? What are the meals you go to for comfort?
Oh, thank you so much for that! It took me longer than it did Holly to make decent versions of the recipes I included in the book. I wish I were a great cook. I try so hard. But it’s not my talent. My favorite cuisines are Italian, Indian, and
Mexican, but my comfort meals are very classic American: meat loaf and mashed potatoes. A BLT. A good hamburger with ketchup and tomato and lettuce. Chicken soup. The perfect grilled cheese. And a caramel apple.
How long does it take you to complete a novel, from start to finish? How much research do you do for each book?
From start to finish, around nine months. I need to do a lot of writing in my head before I can start; I have to have the core of the story in my heart to understand what I’m doing. That can take me a while. But once I have it, the pages come quickly. I like to write a very clean first draft, revising as I go, so that when I get to the end, I basically have a third draft that needs only a solid edit and then a few rounds of polishing. The Love Goddess’ Cooking School required a
lot of research—about Italian cooking, which I’m fascinated by, about Camilla Constantina’s era (for her diary entries). I read so many autobiographies and memoirs—from Marcella Hazan’s to Julia Child’s to Anthony Bourdain’s. Food
and cooking were my life for the writing of this book, and I loved every minute of it. Even the very bad attempts at risotto and tiramisu.
You’ve written young adult novels as well as women’s fiction. Which proves to be more of a challenge?
Young Adult is way more challenging for me. To write a modern teenage main character with authenticity and not use one dated word, like “bogus.” Emotional issues facing teens may be timeless, but capturing the voice is very difficult. It’s funny that in two reviews of my last YA, one by a teenager said: “There was no cursing—so not realistic.” The other, by a librarian, said: “There was no cursing, so refreshing!”
Holly is such a relatable and real character. Do you ever base your characters on people you know or are they pure fiction?
Thank you! I never base my characters, main or secondary or the most minor, on anyone in real life. I’m not even quite sure where the characters come from, how they form in my mind, how they evolve. Camilla was likely started by my memory of a tiny, beautiful, elderly cook in a restaurant in Milan, Italy, but she was a very hazy image; I had to imprint Camilla on her. Mia, though, came steamrolling in
my head, fully formed from the get-go. I think all my characters deal with issues or emotions that are brewing for me, so the characters always feel so real to me. It’s very hard to say good-bye to the characters and their world when the end is really The End.
Your novel See Jane Date was made into a TV movie with Charisma Carpenter. If The Love Goddess’ Cooking School were to be made into a film, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Oooh, such a fun question. My dream cast: for Holly, Kate Winslet. For Liam, Robert Downey Jr. For Mia, Dakota Fanning. For Simon: Ryan Gosling. For Juliet: Vera Farmiga. For Tamara, Emily Blunt. (Colin Firth or Mark Ruffalo can substitute for Robert Downey Jr. if he’s too busy with Iron Man 3.)
When you begin a novel, do you have a clear picture of where you want to end up, or do you just see where the characters take you?
I need that clear picture. I always write to a last line, emotionally speaking. I write very detailed synopses— major emotional points, major plot points, and the major connectors— and then I use that synopsis to structure the novel by breaking the major points into chapters. Things shift, of course, but not the foundation. I need it strong and sound and supportive before I can write a word. When I first started writing The Love Goddess’ Cooking School, Simon was a young (childless) married couple (there was a Susannah, too). But as I wrote and his voice emerged, he let me know he was a lonely scientist trying to navigate single fatherhood. Camilla’s diary entries didn’t exist in the synopsis at all, but as I wrote, I realized Holly needed her grandmother’s parallel story in Camilla’s own voice to help her understand her mother. I never follow the synopsis to a T; the story needs to live and breathe and evolve on its own.
Your website is a treasure trove of information on authors and writing. How did you come to interview other authors about the process of writing? Who are some of your favorite authors?
I’ve long belonged to a great group of female authors who blog about one another’s new releases (in a wonderful show of support), and I’ll just ask authors whose work I admire if they’d like to participate in a Q&A for my blog. I love showcasing authors and reading about their writing processes and favorite books. As for my own favorite authors, I have so many. I’m crazy about Elinor Lipman, Anne Tyler, Richard Russo, and Jennifer Crusie (to name just a few), and right now I’m reading everything Elizabeth Berg has ever written. I love memoirs, too. I’ll also generally buy any book that has half a woman on the cover. I love women’s fiction.
What would you like readers to take away from The Love Goddess’ Cooking School?
That fate and fortunes are a funny thing; that no matter what may seem predestined for you, you are the captain of your own little ship.
What are you working on next?
As of this writing, I’m putting the finishing touches on the first few chapters of a new novel about family, love, and the magic of movies.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This novel begins with a painful loss but is really about friendship, forgiveness, finding connections and yes, even love. It was an easy read, pulling on the heartstrings without being maudlin or overly sentimental. I particularly liked the way the recipes were woven into the actual narrative instead of used as introductions or set apart in some way. The Love Goddess' Cooking School made my weekend fly by, and really, what more can you ask of a novel on a hot July weekend?
Didn't want this book to end
I loved the story but got tired of the flash backs especially when I knew how the story would go. I also do not like books that give the recipes throughout but it was written during a time when this was the "it" thing with publishers. But, oncw you accept these, you move along with a really nice story. A good read for a rainy weekend.
I devoured this book in about two days, it was a cute story and I liked the way she carried out the cooking scenes. The story didn't get bogged down in the relationship dramas, thankfully, which helped make it a quick and delicious read.