The Love Goddess' Cooking School

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Camilla’s Cucinotta: Italian Cooking Classes. Fresh take-home pastas & sauces dailyBenvenuti! (Welcome!)

Holly Maguire’s grandmother Camilla 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, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla’s essential ingredients of wishes and memories in 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.

Melissa Senate

Melissa Senate
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  • Gallery Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439186749 | 
  • October 2010
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Read an Excerpt


According to Holly Maguire’s late grandmother, revered on Blue Crab Island, Maine, for her fortune-telling as much as her cooking, the great love of Holly’s life would be one of the few people on earth to like sa cordula, an Italian delicacy. It was made of lamb intestines and stewed with onions, tomatoes, and peas in a savory butter sauce that did little to hide the fact that it looked exactly like what it was.

“So I’ll know if someone is ‘the one’ if he likes stewed lamb guts?” Holly had asked repeatedly over the years. “That’s it? That’s my entire... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Love Goddess' Cooking School has an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Melissa Senate. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Thirty-year-old Holly Maguire returns to a small island off the coast of Maine when she inherits her grandmother’s cooking school. In the proud tradition of her Italian grandmother, known for her fortune-telling abilities as well as her amazing cuisine, Holly begins teaching a cooking class. The class changes the lives of its students: a grieving mother, a newly separated father, a chronically single thirtysomething woman, and a twelve-year-old girl from a broken home. Can this neophyte chef keep the business afloat and possibly find love in the process?


1. Holly arrives on Blue Crab Island after a devastating breakup. Two weeks later, her beloved grandmother passes away in her sleep. Now Holly is charged with keeping hergrandmother’s cucinotta going, despite her marginal knowledge of the business. Was there ever a time in your life when you were as down on your luck as poor Holly? How did you make it through and what did you learn from the experie see more

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