The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate
Published by Gallery, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
All her life, Holly has been somewhat adrift. She tries to have a fulfilling life, including meaningful romantic relationships, but she herself seems unsure of what exactly she wants, and things never quite work out. After her latest failed relationship, Holly returns to her grandmother’s house on Blue Crab Island, off the coast of Maine. Holly’s grandmother is a special women who runs her own Cucinotta, teaches Italian cooking classes, and has been known to tell people’s fortunes – including telling Holly that the love of her life will be a man who loves sa cordula, a dish of lamb intestines with peas. When Holly’s grandmother passes away, Holly inherits everything but her gift of second sight, and must get her cooking skills – and her life – together if she wants to honor her grandmother’s legacy by keeping her store and classes going.
With “The Love Goddess’ Cooking School,” Senate has given us a sweet and well-written book about discovering one’s self and one’s talents. Holly is a likable and well-developed character. I did at times have trouble reconciling her great leaps forward in cooking ability, but I think that Senate supported that well with Holly’s unceasing practice, and the fact that she did grow up around her grandmother’s kitchen in the first place. The romantic angle was somewhat predictable – I knew from the second the love interest first walked into the store that he would indeed be the love interest – but that is not necessarily a bad thing in a fun and uplifting read like “The Love Goddess’ Cooking School.”
Interestingly, of all of the supporting characters, the love interest was perhaps the least well developed, but this did serve to make the book more about Holly and her self-discovery than about the great love foretold by her grandmother, which was somewhat refreshing. The members of Holly’s cooking class were very well sketched, with problems and realities of their own that added to the overall plot without seeming as if they were forced to do so.
Overall a very enjoyable book, and one I would recommend snuggling in with on a cold winter’s day.
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