The Lost Recipe for Happiness
Barbara O'Neal
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Buy *The Lost Recipe for Happiness* by Barbara O'Neal online

The Lost Recipe for Happiness
Barbara O'Neal
Bantam Discovery
464 pages
December 2008
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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The Lost Recipe for Happiness is a delightful read that's been a long time coming. It's not your regular romance with a typical happy ending, and the secondary characters are just as important in the story as the hero and heroine are.

Elena Alvarez is an executive chef at a restaurant in Vancouver who has been through so much tragedy in her life, more than anybody has a right to go through. Being head chef in a busy restaurant only adds pressure to her broken body and her spirit. Obtaining a new job in Aspen, Elena has to overcome new challenges and obstacles, not the least of which is befriending a lovable little girl who just happens to be the daughter of the restaurant's owner, Julian Liswood.

Hollywood producer Julian's side-job is buying up crumbling restaurants and fixing them up with new staff and clientele. The Orange Bear is his newest project in the resort town of Aspen. Julian knows what mixing business with pleasure will get you, but he just feels that Elena was born to be his wife…actually his fifth wife. It turns out that Elena isn't a typical heroine, either. Like many women, Elena falls in love with pretty much every guy she goes out with; she doesn't really know what true love is until she meets Julian and a catastrophic event almost forces the two to part.

With an interweaving host of characters and ghosts helping to move the story along, this novel cannot be accused of being boring. The Lost Recipe for Happiness is one of the best books I've read this year. The recipes interlaced throughout the narrative don't hurt, either.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Megan Duncan, 2009

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