The Secret Recipe for Love

Original title: La ricetta segreta per un sogno

Author: Cebeni, Valentina

Publication Date:

January 2016



Original language and publisher

Italian | Garzanti

The Secret Recipe for Love

Original title: La ricetta segreta per un sogno

Author: Cebeni, Valentina

  • 2 Seas Represents: English US, French, Dutch and Nordic rights.
  • Rights sold: Germany (Penguin Verlag/Random House), UK (Little Brown), France (Charleston), Bulgaria (Ciela)
  • English and German translations available
  • Over 25,000 copies sold in Italy and 80,000 copies in Germany


Set on a beautifully evoked Italian island, this atmospheric story is full of friendship, love, and the most wonderful characters – a true feast for the senses. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t remember the last time a book made me feel so hungry! — Jenny Ashcroft, author of Beneath a Burning Sky

An unforgettable novel about the power of food and the force of the past.

The earliest smell Elettra can remember is that of freshly baked bread and spiced biscuits. In the bakery where she grew up, Elettra learnt from her mother that food is the easiest way to people’s hearts. But now that her mother cannot run the shop any longer and has left everything into her daughter’s hands, Elettra’s cakes seem to have lost their power. And all the lingering questions between mother and daughter remain unanswered. Questions about a past life which Elettra’s mother has kept secret from everyone, even from her own daughter.

Lost and confused, Elettra feels she has no choice but to shed light on this silence. Yet to help her she has nothing but a thin necklace engraved with the name of a mysterious island and a recipe: aniseed bread, which her mother used to bake to overcome sadness and bring back joy. This bread gives Elettra the strength to set out on her journey to the Titano island, a remote island of the Mediterranean whose history is lost in a legendary past. Here, amidst the routine of ordinary life, only processions of black-clad women can be seen walking down dusty paths that lead to the sea. Here every corner harbours a secret, a half-spoken truth. Here resonates the echo of forbidden loves and long-lost friendships. But Elettra is not afraid to search and to know. She needs to find out why the wind on the island carries the same aromas of her mother’s cooking, the same magic of her mother’s hugs which gave her protection when she was just a little girl. She needs to discover the connection between this island and the most important woman in her life. Only so can Elettra find herself. Only so can she restore her faith in cooking as an act of love and find that there really is a recipe to never forget how to dream.


France (Charleston)

Other books by this author