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Olivia Tschetter leaves her doctoral defense to learn that her mother has died. In one swift moment, her certainties are gone, and she is left to figure out what comes next. Cooking offers immediate satisfaction for the hunger, and as she dives further into her mother’s cookbooks—so intimately recorded they might have been diaries—she learns more about the bitter secrets simmering quietly in the back of a family she thought she knew. Starting from Scratch, eloquent and clever, is the debut novel of author Gilbert-Collins, who is a member of Rochester CRC in Penfield, N.Y. (Touchstone)

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