I'm the author of ten novels, including my debut, SEE JANE DATE (called "cheeky" by Newsweek magazine and made into a very cute TV movie), two for teens, and my latest, by Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books: THE LOVE GODDESS' COOKING SCHOOL, which More magazine named as one of 17 food-themed books to eat up!
An Italian cooking class, with special recipes that call for adding wishes and memories to every pot and pan, changes the lives of its new teacher–heartbroken Holly Maguire–and her four students: a twelve-year-old girl; a grieving woman; a serial dater, and a newly separated single father. (Click on Adult Fiction tab for link to bigger pic of cover and more info about the book.)
"In this novel about an unlikely chef, Holly Maguire inherits a cooking school from her late grandmother. Holly welcomes a small, eclectic group of students—from a 12-year-old to a heartbroken divorcee—into her kitchen and they cook their way through her grandmother’s cookbook. The stories of each character intertwine as they chop, simmer and stir their way to happiness." –More magazine
"Senate (See Jane Date) serves up a delicious mix of wishes and memories with more than a dash of spice in her latest novel centered on healing and cooking. The story opens as Holly Maguire returns to her grandmother's home on Blue Crab Island in order to make sense of her life, loves, and gifts. Through rebuilding her grandmother's cooking school, Holly learns about events in the past that defined her family's role in local society and established her grandmother as a gifted fortune-teller. Themes of healing, love, and loss circle effortlessly to create mystery, magic, and authentic romance. Voices from Holly's past add gently complicating layers to the narrative and keep the story moving at a satisfying clip. Senate has a tender and humorous touch with her characters and a straightforward style that finds magic in the quotidian. "As she cut out her squares and stuffed each ravioli with the spinach and cheese, she checked the recipe for the final ingredient. A wish." Senate handles the hefty topics of loss and remembrances with lightness and respect and in so doing, redefines comfort food." –Publishers Weekly
Library Journal said some very wonderful things about THE LOVE GODDESS' COOKING SCHOOL and discusses some amazing novels in relation to it. "Senate imbues her novel of food, family, and memory with tenderness, warmth, and comfort. It's a perfect book to read this Valentine's Day as it celebrates not just the possibility of romantic love, but all the kinds of love that fill a life well lived."
THE LOVE GODDESS' COOKING SCHOOL is an original trade paperback published on October 26th by Simon and Schuster's Gallery Books. You can order your copy from Amazon or any online bookstore right this minute!
Also out now is my latest novel for adults, THE SECRET OF JOY, about 28-year-old New Yorker Rebecca Strand who discovers, via her father's deathbed confession, that she has a 26-year-old half-sister she never knew existed. Off she goes to a small coastal town in Maine to find her. She doesn't exactly receive the warmest welcome–except by the lovable, quirky locals…and a sexy carpenter named Theo.
One of my favorite and most cherished reviews is by the New York Times bestselling author of SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTTT, Beth Hoffman:
"This is a wonderful story that encouraged me to take a deeper look at love, relationships, family, disappointment, and most importantly, forgiveness. With a smooth and enjoyable writing style, Melissa Senate whisked me into the lives of Rebecca and Joy, seemingly opposite half-sisters who didn't know the other existed until the death of their father. Though Rebecca is delighted to discover she has a sister, Joy is anything but. It is while Rebecca tries to kindle a relationship with her reluctant half-sister that she begins the process of self-examination, reflection, and ultimately discovery. The author handled this brilliantly. If you yearn for quality contemporary women's fiction that's loaded with wit, insight into the heart, and unusual charm, then this is your book!"
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