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The Lost Recipe for Happiness  By  cover art

The Lost Recipe for Happiness

By: Barbara O'Neal
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
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Publisher's Summary

In this sumptuous new novel, Barbara O’Neal offers listeners a celebration of food, family, and love as a woman searches for the elusive ingredient we’re all hoping to find...It’s the opportunity Elena Alvarez has been waiting for - the challenge of running her own kitchen in a world-class restaurant. Haunted by an accident of which she was the lone survivor, Elena knows better than anyone how to defy the odds.  

With her faithful dog, Alvin, and her grandmother’s recipes, Elena arrives in Colorado to find a restaurant in as desperate need of a fresh start as she is - and a man whose passionate approach to food and life rivals her own. Owner Julian Liswood is a name many people know but a man few do. He’s come to Aspen with a troubled teenage daughter and a dream of the kind of stability and love only a family can provide. But for Elena, old ghosts don’t die quietly, yet a chance to find happiness at last is worth the risk. 

©2008 Barbara O'Neal (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"As dark and deep and sweet as chocolate...I wanted to live in this book." (Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times best-selling author)

“A delectable banquet for the reader, celebrating the things that matter most–family, friendship, food, and the healing power of love.” (Susan Wiggs, New York Times best-selling author) 

What listeners say about The Lost Recipe for Happiness

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Engaging Story of Damaged Soul

Barbara O'Neal (Samuel) does a great job of telling relate-able stories of women with very damaged souls. All of her heroines are sympathetic and Elena Alverez may be her most damaged, both physically and emotionally.

There is definitely a romantic aspect to this story and it takes up quite a bit of the book. But all of her relationships are important and we learn as much about Elena and her demons from her relationships with her co-workers and friends as we do from her relationship with the man she ultimately falls in love with. One of the aspects about Elena that made her seem more human to me was her coldness to an old friend who disappointed her. It was an unattractive quality that made her more endearing.

By making these secondary relationships important, the author needs to make the secondary characters interesting in their own right. She does that in this book.

There are always animals in this author's books and they usually play a very important part. I think the dog in this book, probably the most empathetic dog ever, is my favorite. There is also always just a little bit of magic in her books. Not enough to make them too silly. That aspect of the book was handled well. Finally this book, like most of her books , also addresses subjects of importance to the people who live and work in this part of the country. She is sympathetic to both the native and imported ethnic groups that co-exist in this part of the country.

The narration was perfect. I highly recommend this book.

8 people found this helpful

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A romance novel in disguise

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book started out with some promise but fairly quickly became what I would term a romance novel. I didn't make it past part 1. Skip this book and find something with better writing and a better story line.

Would you ever listen to anything by Barbara O'Neal again?

No.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved It! Great Main Character & Story

Elena, the protagonist of this story, is strong, vulnerable and talented at cooking. I loved following Elena in her journey to establish her first restaurant as executive chef in Aspen (great setting too!). Recipes are sprinkled in. Behind the scenes kitchen experiences. And Elena’s struggle to recover emotionally and physically from a car accident that took many lives (ghosts visit) and left her badly injured. A love story too. Buy it and enjoy! Wish there were a Part 2!!

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I love it

I do not wanted to put the book down, I just wanted keep reading it until the end.
Relaxing and beautiful

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My favorite "new to me author"

I can't get enough of this author. The stories and characters are spot on and relatable stirring emotions few authors can accomplish. Now to make some of the spectacular dishes from recipes provided.

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Loved this book!!

Wonderful characters, great story, and very much enjoyed Barbara O'Neal's writing!!! I'll miss the characters now that I have finished listening! Thinking of re-listening to it! Well, anyway, on to one of her other books!!!

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Delicious!

Well done! I so enjoyed the characters, well developed, and so well described that they all have faces for me. It was hard for me to put down. I loved it, I loved the ghosts and the living, and I loved the food, I cried at the beautiful ending...just burst into tears!

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Ghost stories and soul mates.

I have read this book multiple times. The audible version is excellent in my opinion.

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Dealing with Guilt is a very hard road

If you could sum up The Lost Recipe for Happiness in three words, what would they be?

Creativity is salvation

What did you like best about this story?

The fact that a woman was an executive chef. I also like the recipe from this book

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene is the cook off, and that Elena wins. The baklava sounds really delicious