The Lost Recipe For Happiness by Barbara O’Neal

Barbara O'Neal, The Lost Recipe For Happiness, Book Journey

In apparently continuing with my trend of reading foody books (they feel pretty safe), I bring to you a review of a woman, her dog, a restaurant, and learning to let go.  ~Sheila

Elena Alvarez has just been offered the deal of a lifetime.  She has been offered the opportunity to run her own restaurant, something she has only dreamed about.  Being an experienced Chef, this is the first time she will be in the leading role from staff hiring, restaurant look and feel, and the menu planning.  Haunted by an accident that she alone survived with her back broken in 4 places, Elena knows what it is like to withstand the odds.  Arriving in Aspen Colorado with a restaurant project may just be the change she needs to reboot her life and it doesn’t hurt that her new boss, Movie Writer Julian Liswood is easy on the eyes.

For Elena, every move she makes is a risk.  The restaurant business is physically hard on her body and the ghosts of the past, do not let go easy.

There is a lot to like about The Lost Recipe For Happiness.  I liked the idea of a fixer upper project with Elena the one to call the shots.  I do like a good project!  I also found I liked Elena.  For what she has literally lived through, she is a strong independent woman with dreams and goals.  I also enjoyed the back up players in this book, while I never did get a full handle on Ivan, I think (I think) I liked him.  Patrick is wonderful and you have to love Julian and his daughter Portia.  Ivan the dog?  Also pretty awesome.

What I didn’t like so much was there are a couple off intimate descriptions that the wording actually made me cringe… I think the opposite of what the author would be looking for at that moment.  It also took me a while to understand the ghost part of the book and the first appearance of Elena’s sister, well, I thought she really was there.

All in all I think there is a lot of cultural history within this book that is slowly mixed in and that was interesting because I did not know about the Day Of The Dead traditions, or about the meal.  While the book was not an over the top “wow” for me, I did find it interesting enough to follow it all the way through.. curious about the Julian and Elena storyline, as well as the restaurants success.

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Discovery (December 30, 2008)


10 thoughts on “The Lost Recipe For Happiness by Barbara O’Neal

  1. I haven’t heard of this book before. I’ve never heard of Day Of The Dead traditions, or about the meal either. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book.

  2. Enjoyed the review. Despite the lack of over the top-ness, I still find out appealing and admit, the cover sealed the deal. Thanks for adding to the wish list! ^-^

  3. Sheila, thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book. It sounds like an interesting way to learn more about the restaurant business. I’ll keep this one in mind.

  4. Since I haven’t read the I assuming you are referring to the Mexican holiday The Day of the day. They honor those who have passed on. My sister-in-law has a small shrine to my sister in her home. That day they cook my sister favorite food and honor.
    The reason I read cozies as I am sure the violence and sex is not graphic. I don’t like violence; I find difficult to handle.
    🌞 Have good day🌞

  5. I read the All You Can Dream Buffet and enjoyed it so I’d probably like this one too. I’m a sucker for most books with a dog in them. Love scenes in books where they don’t really fit irritate me.

  6. The nice thing about print books is that you can skip the cringe-worthy parts 🙂 I enjoy her novels. She wrote one that takes place in New Mexico. I learned so much about different kinds of salt! Sorry I can’t recall the title of that one.

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