When she was sixteen, Holly’s grandma (who had a reputation for doing such things) told her fortune: Holly’s true love would like sa cordula, an Italian dish made from lamb intestines. Holly has subsequently served the dish to all her potential matches, but only when she feels it’s not really working. So she should’ve realized that John and his lovely little girl wouldn’t be in her life for long when she decided to serve him the dish. In fact, on the night she served up the sa cordula, he gave her the devastating news that he’d fallen in love with his administrative assistant. With no reason to stay in California (her roommate is moving her boyfriend into the apartment anyway), Holly returns to Maine to spend time with her sick grandma. The visit turns permanent when Holly inherits the restaurant/cooking school from her grandma, the original Love Goddess.
As Holly tries to make her way, she learns much about her grandma (through her diary), her mother (who fled the small town as soon as she could), and herself; this generational element is what made the novel for me. It gets extended when Mia, a teen wanting to learn to cook to get rid of her dad’s girlfriend (that sounds odd, but Mia’s dad thinks Mia needs home-cooked meals from the girlfriend, so Mia determines that if she can cook, the girlfriend won’t need to be around), comes onto the scene. I loved how Holly (and the others in the cooking class) helped Mia through some tough teenaged times. And it turns out Mia isn’t the only one who needs support; each member ends up helping another as they all struggle through life and love. Additionally, there were some nice parallels between Holly’s first group of cooking students and the first group her grandma had (their story is told through the diary entries).
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.