Thirty-eight-year-old Xeni is secretly praying for a virgin birth. What could possibly go wrong?
Xeni is a first-generation Greek American, raised in the Greek Orthodox faith, and trained in all the essential skills of a traditional Greek housewife. She knows how to make any Greek dish scrumptious, but the one recipe she hasn’t mastered is how to make a baby—by virgin birth. Xeni is a lesbian and struggles daily to resolve what she wants with what she doesn’t—praying for a miracle.
Meanwhile, free-spirited Callie, who ended up with a baby conceived during a boozy one-night stand, is trying to bridge a cultural divide with Gus, her Greek American baby daddy, by learning to cook just like his mother. When Xeni spots Callie in the produce aisle selecting limp spinach and tofu for spanakopita, she’s compelled to offer her assistance. After all, food can create miracles, and they both need one. With undeniable chemistry from their first cooking lesson, Xeni and Callie sublimate their intense attraction to one another by creating mouthwatering meals.
But their good intentions are blown to shreds when Gus’s mother arrives from Greece and decides that Xeni, not Callie, would make the perfect Greek wife for him. Now Xeni must once and for all reconcile her religious beliefs with her sexuality—and decide which love is ultimately the higher power.
The Feasting Virgin is a delectable novel that is full of heart, humor, magical realism, and a veritable feast full of tasty recipes.
“The Feasting Virgin is a luscious romance, and it’s punctuated by Xeni’s recipes. From selecting the perfect bunch of spinach to concealing imperfect layers of filo dough, her asides are an inviting sensory layer. Whether she’s squeezing a lemon or testing cheese, Xeni’s pleasure is palpable. When she and Callie get cooking, things get hot—and stay delicious. Theirs is a tender, culture-crossing story. —Foreword Reviews
“The Feasting Virgin is fresh, sizzlingly comic and tender at the bone. Plumbing the kind of longing that transcends the flesh, Kolias serves up every earthly delight: Greek food, Greek family, eros, and mother love. Magical and deeply real, this is the big, fat California Greek lesbian novel you didn’t know you were missing.” —HILARY ZAID, author of Paper is White
“A beautifully wrought story told through the gaze of a woman who lightly inhabits two worlds, fully belonging in neither. With hints of magical realism, the characters fight their way through thousands of years of patriarchal bonds to try and find the perfect recipe to realize their needs, their wants, and finally, their deepest desires.” —SUSAN X MEAGHER, author of Friday Night Flights
“Whether you’re Greek or otherwise, anyone who’s been fed on cultural identity since birth will be totally enthralled by Georgia Kolias’s funny-yet-heartfelt, timely, and deliciously sensual debut novel. You need to read it. It will make you hungry, in many unexpected ways.” —PATRICIA V. DAVIS, author of The Secret Spice Trilogy and Harlot’s Sauce
“The Feasting Virgin is a sensuous love letter to Greek food that will surely make you hungry. Through sexy cooking scenes and authentic recipes, Georgia Kolias brings the magic of food to life, showing how the heat of the kitchen can bring even the unlikeliest of pairings together. This novel teaches us to respect the origins of our food, encourages us to be our true selves, and celebrates the ultimate power of love.” —MICHELE RAGUSSIS, Chef and Food Network Star
“The Feasting Virgin is a miracle! I laughed and I cried! This is Greek womanish storytelling—gutsy, magical, wise, funny, passionate, and immersed in the irresistible smells and flavors of a good Greek kitchen. In the crucible of Kolias’ imagination, tradition, and even the most painful memories, can become ingredients for something altogether wondrous and new.” —HELEN KLONARIS, author of If I Had the Wings
“The Feasting Virgin is wildly inventive, both moving and hilarious, and full of delicious surprise.” —NINA SCHUYLER, author of The Translator, The Painting, and How to Write Stunning Sentences
“With The Feasting Virgin, author Georgia Kolias has deftly created a delectable and original novel that showcases the dilemmas of the human heart with great humor and elements of magical realism, while offering her fully engaged readers a literary feast that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf.” —HELEN DUMONT, The Midwest Book Review
GEORGIA KOLIAS is a native San Franciscan and grew up in a traditional working-class Greek immigrant family. She holds an MFA in creative writing and seeks to cultivate the intersections of food, fertility, sexuality, and culture through the written word. She blogs for The Huffington Post and her work has appeared in The Advocate, The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, When Women Waken, and various anthologies. Georgia works as an acquisitions editor at New Harbinger Publications, and lives in Oakland, California, with her three beautiful children.