Upon learning that her college sweetheart husband has been seeing another woman, Mira Serafino’s once perfect world is shattered and she wants no one, least of all her big Italian family, to know. She takes off—with no destination and little money—heading north until her car breaks down in Seattle. There she takes a job at the offbeat Coffee Shop at the Center of the Universe, where she’ll experience a terrifying but invigorating freedom, and meet someone she’ll come to love: the new Mira.
An award-winning high school science teacher who juggles marriage, motherhood and massive traditional Italian meals, Mira Serafino is called Miss Control Freak by her best friend Lannie, an eccentric musician who owns a yarn and guitar shop in their close-knit community of Pacifica, Ore. Shortridge (Eating Heaven) flashes back to Mira's difficult childhood (where she adopted the role of "Saint Mira, absorber of all family pain") as her marriage hits a major snag, sending Mira into a process of self-examination. Mira's Type A ness comes through clearly, and secondaries including a difficult daughter, incommunicado brother and a father who is "about as sensitive as a Mack truck" deepen her dilemmas.