Tag Archives: melissa senate

Scrumptious Meal

Apparently I am unconsciously attracted to books with recipes in them, because yet another random choice of mine has led me to a book with an Italian cooking theme. The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate is a newbie, and one of a long list of goodies by this author. I can always count on this writer to deliver a cute story with a decent plot, usually set in New England.

This novel was set on Blue Crab Island in Maine. The protagonist is 30-year-old Holly Maguire who inherits her grandmother’s house and business, Camilla’s Cucinotta, when she suddenly passes away. Camilla is not only famous on the island for her home-made pasta, sauces, and cooking classes, but she was also a revered fortune-teller who could tell women who their love interests would be. Holly finds herself over her head when she begins to take over her grandmother’s responsibilities, but decides to keep her memory alive by continuing the cooking classes despite her less than perfect abilities in the kitchen. Armed with her grandmother’s recipes, Holly begins teaching her class of four students: a recently divorced father who wants to impress his daughter by making her favorite dish, a single woman who was signed up for the class to meet men by her overbearing mother, Holly’s old childhood friend who is mending a broken heart, and 12 year-old Mia, Holly’s apprentice whose main goal is to rid her father of a terrible girlfriend. It’s an unlikely group but within the main story line weaves their own tales of wishes, dreams, and happy and sad memories which are all important ingredients in all of Camilla’s recipes.

This was truly a heart-warming story set with a lovely back-drop of coastal Maine. It wasn’t my all time favorite of this author, but definitely worth the read, as I am a long-standing fan. Disclaimer: Don’t read this book if you’re hungry because the detailed descriptions of yummy Italian food will have your mouth watering!



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I had read-and loved- several of Melissa Senate’s novels (See Jane Date, The Solomon Sisters Wise Up, The Breakup Club, Love You To Death) so I had a very good feeling I was going to enjoy her latest, The Secret of Joy.  I liked it so much, I read it in two evenings! The main character, Rebecca has just lost her father to cancer, and on his deathbed he reveals to her that he had an affair many years ago. An affair that produced another daughter.  He goes on to ask Rebecca, an only child who always wanted a sibling, to deliver the 26 letters he wrote to his child.  A letter for every birthday. The setting moves to small town Maine, where  Rebecca tracks down her half-sister, only to find she wants nothing to do with her. The story continues from there, as Rebecca finds out more about her new family, her father, and herself.

It’s an easy read with realistic characters and a emotionally driven plot. I usually tend to like books set in New England, as the surroundings are easier to picture with my imagination while reading. This book mixed drama, romance and humor perfectly. Exactly what I look for when choosing a new read. Three cheers for Melissa Senate again!


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