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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Love Goddess' Cooking School

The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5
Holly Maguire's grandmother was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine–a Milanese fortune teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can't make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that's why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla's Cucinotta, she's determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother's legacy.

But Holly's four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla's chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter's heart. Juliet, Holly's childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can't find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend.

As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla's essential ingredients of wishes and memories into every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed–and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.
Everything you need to know about the novel can be surmised from the synopsis. The Love Goddess’s Cooking School makes one reader very, very hungry for some decent Italian cuisine. Thank God that there are recipes readers can follow at the back of the novel or I might have taken a bite of the novel. Yum….

The Love Goddess’ Cooking School was a delicious novel that held different layers like a lasagna with various textures, aromas, and tastes. The novel does not completely focus on cooking and many of the side-characters try to find their niche in life and the reason for existence at all. The potential of a new stepmother drives Mia to the cooking class. She becomes the bright singular light and one of the wisest and fearless out of the bunch. But she herself is so fragile and breakable, just a young tween, that the arrival of her mother throws everything out of balance. Mia physically demonstrates in a person whereas Holly emotionally develops through her cooking.

Holly’s grandmother’s diary, however, leaves some questions remaining. It does bring light to this family tension that passes through generation and takes into account the progression of assimilation and the effects it has on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations. Having taken a course on race and culture, The Love Goddess’ Cooking School follows the exact same pattern and concept. This is just another layer to that piling lasagna that makes this novel delicious.

The novel is part heartbreaking, part love humor, and all gobbled up by me. The ending, however, was just a little tough to chew through.

Cover B-/C+
Source: Gallery Books
Published: 2010 October 26; paperback

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