"Dear Diary:.... After a week of my recipes, they come with different expectations than a scotch and a newspaper. They come home kinder. Peering into the mysterious pots on the stove. Sniffing the air and smiling."(Camilla Constantina's diary, ch. 5)
Broken hearted after a failed love affair in California, Holly Maguire is glad to find that her grandmother Camilla has left her a pastry shop and kitchen thousands of miles away in Maine. Holly leaves California, finds friendship in Maine but also competition in work and in love.
Her grandmother, whom she called Nonna, was known as the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island and was famous for her Italian cooking, her cooking classes, and her fortune telling. Nonna had told Holly that the right man for her would love eating sa cordula
, a traditional but unusual Milanese dish. Many people found the dish unappetizing, but the right man would love it!
Holly has to learn to cook and give cooking lessons at her shop, Camilla's Cucinotta, just as her grandmother used to do. When Holly discovers Nonna's private diary, she realizes her struggles to become a successful cook mirrors what her grandmother went through years before.
A light but pleasant read about women, food, friendship and love. Add Italian and Milanese customs, adjusting to a new environment, and a good story. Recipes and a reader's guide are nice extras at the end of the book.
Title: The Love Goddess' Cooking School: A Novel
Author: Melissa Senate
Published October 26, 2010, Simon & Schuster Gallery Books
Objective rating: 4 out of 5
Book provided for a virtual blog tour by Gallery Publicity of Simon & Schuster, Oct. 28.