Note: The book was originally published as Spice God.
Newly divorced, Melody ran away from a drugged out ex-husband and a controlling mother with little more than the clothes on her back. She needed a new home and a new job, not to mention a new life. Juniper Island, a thriving and posh hideaway known for its bustling summer tourism, held a promise to be exactly the change she needed. Without a second thought, Melody buys a one-way bus ticket.
Directed to the North Shore by the bus driver, she meets Tonac, the unusual chef and owner of Mayana, a restaurant tailored to serve the hard-working island locals. He gives his delicious meals away for free, but that’s not the strangest part; he doesn’t serve people what they want, only what they need.
When Melody tastes the food for the first time, she finds out why the customers keep coming back, and it’s not just to eat for free or to be served by a rude waiter with no people skills. The food influences people in unique ways: sometimes it gives them visions, sometimes bravery, and in others it casts a new light into the darkest and faintest of memories — whether they wanted to remember or not.
Knowing she can do better as a server than the crabby waiter, Melody applies for a job at this strange restaurant. Tonac takes her on, but under his care, she comes face-to-face with the secrets of what he really is and who (and what) else inhabits the island.
But not all of the residents of Juniper Island are happy with Tonac and his special meals. And when Melody gets caught up in the middle, it’ll take more than a few spiced apple tarts or a bowl of pumpkin soup to uncover the deep and dark secrets that some inhabitants of Juniper Island want to keep buried.