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The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

Friday, December 9, 2011
After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.

Goodreads Summary

Looking for a great Christmas gift?   This book is guaranteed to keep its reader up late at night, unable to put the book down.  Ginny, the main character, is portrayed as quiet and rather stuck in her ways.  She lost both of her parents and has an overprotective sister.  When she discovers that by baking someones recipe, she can bring back his/her ghost, she begins to experiment.  However, she receives warnings, pleas, and quiet reassurances in response.  Ginny must decide how much she wants to learn about the past and her family before she learns much too much.  Along the way, she meets a man who slowly becomes her friend, slowly helps her adjust to being around someone.  There is a soft undertone of romantic possibility in the book; that undertone combined with the air of mystery concerning the past and the ghosts and the possibilities of cooking recipes makes this book impossible to put down.

Ginny's character was easy to like.  Although she could certainly freeze people out, she was a quiet character, she has a certain way about her that appears vulnerable.  Even if she does not seem to warm to the reader, the reader will most likely warm to her.  The other characters are exceedingly interesting to get to know.  They range from scary to loving to secretive.  The events in this book moved the plot along at a fast pace.  Ginny leads the reader through a baking adventure and the chance to discover some long held past family secrets. 

Overall, this book was a great read.  The author has a very even-toned way of telling the story and holding the readers' attention.  Ginny's character will appear as a friend to the reader.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.