The Feasting Virgin by Georgia KoliasThe Feasting Virgin by Georgia Kolias is a unique slow burn romance that has magical realism and a lot of delicious meals and recipes embedded within it.

Xeni’s life seems flawless on the outside, like a well-cooked meal but beneath the surface she is dealing with a lot of messy emotions that have left her bitter and jaded. Xeni has perfected the art of cooking any Greek dish but she is having a hard time with her baby-making recipe and she wants a baby more than anything else in the world. She really wants God to answer her prayers and bless her with a virgin birth.

Callie wants to give her beautiful baby boy, Manny, a safe place to call home, a father figure who loves him and stability. She is willing to go above and beyond to learn how to cook Greek dishes so that she can satisfy her partner’s traditional mother. Callie wants to make Spanakopita and she rushes to the grocery store to buy the ingredients but when she gets there she realizes that she doesn’t even know where to start.

Xeni is determined to keep her thoughts pure in every sense of the word because she wants her prayers to be answered but when she sees Callie in the produce section with her chubby baby boy, she gets lost in Callie’s deep blue eyes and all thoughts of purity leave her mind. Xeni never expected to get so much joy from teaching Callie how to create delicious Greek meals but she is seriously drawn to Callie and she is really confused about her desires. Would God still bless her with a child even though she is attracted to Callie?

All was well with Callie’s world until Manny’s very traditional grandma descends upon their household like a hurricane and boldly declares that Xeni would be the perfect match for her only son. Manny’s grandma pulls out all the stops by using Greek magic and she meddles in Gus, Callie and Xeni’s lives as much as possible because she is determined to have a Greek daughter-in-law at all costs. But here’s the thing, Gus and Xeni aren’t attracted to each other at all.

When one drunken dinner goes terribly wrong, Callie professes her love and she comes up with a plan that would give Xeni the virgin birth she has been praying for. Will Callie’s plan bring them closer together or will it tear their newly formed connection to shreds?

The Characters

Xeni has a couple of odd jobs that help her pay the bills but she really enjoys cooking. Callie is a stay at home mom and she wants to please her partner by learning how to cook delicious Greek food. A simple twist of fate brings these phenomenal women together at a grocery store and Callie asks Xeni to teach her how to cook Greek dishes. Callie is so light-hearted and full of life! She is the kind of friend that I would always be eager to hang around with because she wears her heart on her sleeve and she has her own quirky way of doing things. I have a soft spot for Xeni as well because she enjoys the art of cooking just as much as I do and we also share a great love for adorable babies. I really wanted to give Callie and Xeni the biggest and mushiest hugs ever because they both have some serious emotional baggage to deal with while they are struggling to rein in their intense desire for each other. Xeni and Callie aren’t perfect and they have done some things that made me shake my head a couple of times but their flaws have made them more realistic and endearing to me.

The Writing Style

I can’t believe that this is Georgia Kolias’s debut novel because she totally blew my mind and she has left me sleepless in the Caribbean and I’m nursing a serious book hangover right now. This author has done a fabulous job of transporting me to Xeni and Callie’s world of budding desire, domineering Greek mothers, adorable babies and yummy Greek delicacies. I just love the fact that this story was told through Callie and Xeni’s points of view because I got to peek into their hearts and minds and I could easily relate to their conflicting emotions. Georgia Kolias definitely deserves the highest of fives!

The Pros

At this very moment, I am having a shameless love affair with this book. I am a foodie to the core and this author made all of my culinary dreams come through because she has given me lovely recipes to have fun with. I couldn’t get enough of the mouthwatering descriptions of the meals that Xeni and Callie cooked! I felt as though Georgia Kolias wrote this story just for me because she combined three of my greatest loves—feisty women, surreal elements and scrumptious food!

The Cons

This story contains a brief scene that vividly portrays child sexual abuse and this could be a trigger for some readers.

The Conclusion

aprils favourite booksIf you’re looking for a romance that will steal your heart and pierce your soul, then look no further because this story has unforgettable, flawed and relatable characters who just want to be loved and seen for who they truly are. Even though this isn’t the quintessential love story that many of us are used to, it is a deep and thought-provoking novel that deals with the positive and negative effects that culture, gender roles and religion can have on relationships. By the way, this lovely story has a lot of priceless life lessons and magical moments embedded within it. My book dragon and I have placed our stamp of approval on this novel and we can’t wait to read more books from this talented author!

Excerpt from The Feasting Virgin by Georgia Kolias

“I know this might seem kind of strange since we just met and everything. But I have a feeling about you. Maybe you can show me some things.” Callie looked at the baby still sucking his fist in the shopping cart. “What do you think, Manny? Should we ask our new friend to help us?”

The woman wrinkled her nose at the words “new friend.”

“Would you consider taking on one more odd job? Would you teach me how to be a good Greek woman?” Callie backtracked, flustered. “I mean, how to cook good Greek food?”

The woman looked at Callie for a moment and then shifted her gaze to the baby in the shopping cart. He was sitting pedaling his chubby legs and happily tugging at his mother’s sleeve, which lifted higher, barely showing the edges of a tattoo.

“Oh, I’m not sure. I’ve been doing more babysitting lately.”

“I can pay you for cooking lessons! Of course I’ll pay you. How about if I pay you fifty dollars if you teach me how to make spanakopita today?”

Callie felt that perhaps it was fate that had put her in the path of this Greek culinary goddess. She held out her hand and said, “I’m Callie and this is Manny. What’s your name?” Callie’s outstretched arm seemed to glow.

“Xeni. I’m Xeni.” She smiled.

“Xeni. I’m so glad to meet you,” said Callie as she reached out and put her right hand on Xeni’s arm, revealing a luminous tattoo of an olive-skinned Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus.

Xeni froze at Callie’s touch, her eyes trained on Callie’s tattoo.

“Won’t you please teach me to cook?” Callie put her hands together in prayer, begging Xeni to say yes with her oceanic blue eyes. “I think it was a sign that we would meet here today, don’t you?”

Xeni rubbed her arm as if Callie’s fingers had burned a mark on the muscles below, her eyes still wide at the sight of the tattoo. “Well, yes I suppose it was.” Then she turned to Manny, grabbed his chubby leg and said, “Tha se faw!”

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