The Second Course

A Novel

The Second Course

Set between the hip and idyllic farm-to-table foodie communities of the Hudson Valley, and the hotspots of Brooklyn, the Hamptons, and Manhattan, The Second Course follows four old friends struggling to find their footing in a rapidly changing world.

Food has always been Billy’s language and her currency, but she isn’t hungry anymore—and it’s terrifying her. That is, until she attends a wedding and meets chef Ethan—an enigmatic powerhouse half her age. Billy is sure her life will never be the same, and she's right: she soon finds herself moving upstate to restart her culinary career with Ethan as her business partner—trading New York nightlife for hikes and foraging in the peaceful Hudson Valley.

Back in the city, her three best friends, Lucy, Sarah, and Lotta each harbor secrets that threaten to tear their lives apart. Tensions are rising between the four women, and it will take one tragedy—and more than a few glasses of wine—for them to remember why they became friends in the first place.

With the electrifying culinary prose of Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter and the heart of Elisabeth Egan’s A Window Opens, The Second Course is both a treat for the senses and an honest exploration of the shared conflicts, deep love and loyalty that bind a group of girlfriends together.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501136153 | 
  • August 2017
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Reading Group Guide

This readers group guide for The Second Course includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Billy Sitwell has found herself at loose ends. Sales of her vintage cocktail book have fizzled, and her landlord is raising the rent on her apartment. Worse still, she’s bored by the pretensions of city food. Financially stressed, she’s only too eager to accept a magnetic young chef’s casual invitation to dine at his restaurant in the Hudson Valley.

Upon her return to Manhattan, Billy resolves to start her life over in a brand-new place, working with a different type of food. But will the prospect of leaving behind her dearest city friends—Lucy, Lotta, and Sarah—as well as her on-again/off-again love interest, Brett, prevent Billy from fully achieving her personal and professional goals?

As Billy navigates uncertain culinary waters, she also must confront the family tragedy in her past that keeps her wary of settling into a profession or a committed relationship. Surrounded by foodies who carry secrets of their own, and without the emotional support of her best friend, Billy must face radical change and self-discovery head-on, see more

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About the Author

Kelly Killoren
Photo: Matt Albiani

Kelly Killoren

Kelly Killoren is a model, jewelry designer, former editor of Elle Accessories, and the author of several books, including A Dangerous Age. An avid equestrian, Killoren lives in New York City with her two teenage daughters.