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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Lost Recipe for Happiness


The Lost Recipe for Happiness Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. What was your first impression of Elena as a character? What about Julian? How did your view of them change throughout the novel? In what ways did each of them surprise you?

2. Discuss the role of food and cooking In The Lost Recipe for Happiness. What did food mean to each of the characters? What meals left the strongest impression with you as a reader? What tastes were you reminded of? What do you think this added to the reading experience?

3. Consider the town of Aspen itself. It seems that each of the characters is there for a reason. What brings each of them to Aspen, and what keeps them there? Who do you think will stay, and who will eventually move on? Why is this a good setting for a book like this?

4. There are several secrets and betrayals in The Lost Recipe for Happiness. Was there any point where a secret, once revealed, shocked you? Were you surprised by any other characters reaction to a revelation? How would you have reacted to each admission?

5. Why does Julian wait so long to disclose the truth about his screenplay to Elena? What does his reticence tell you about him?

6. Several times throughout the book, Elena and others discuss the three most memorable foods theyve ever eaten. What are yours, and why?

7. Discuss the relationship between Patrick and Ivan. What do they see in each other? Do you think this is a relationship that will stand the test of time?

8. The Lost Recipe for Happiness is written mostly from Elenas point of view, but we occasionally hear from the other characters as well. What did the chapters from Julian and Ivans perspective add to your understanding of the story?

9. As the child of an actress, Portia has some very real issues with her body image. Consider the argument she has with her father toward the end of Chapter 13. What did you think of her argument? Is it possible for an overweight woman to be truly successful? Is it easier for men in this sense?

10. Many of the characters in this novel have sustained some kind of damage-physical or emotional-from their childhood. In what ways does this manifest itself, and what does it take for each of them to move on?

11. Throughout The Lost Recipe for Happiness, there is discussion about the idea that each person has a soul mate. Do you think this is true in the world of this novel? What about in real life?

12. Elena carries some very real ghosts of her past along with her, as well as the metaphorical ghosts of her memories. How did you feel about the ghosts in the novel? What role did they play in Elenas life? Do you think that Isobel will be back, or has she truly left Elena for good?

Product Details

Oneal, Barbara
Bantam Books
O'Neil, Barbara
O'Neal, Barbara
Contemporary Women
Women cooks
Love stories
Literature-Contemporary Women
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.50x5.25x1.00 in. .74 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General

The Lost Recipe for Happiness Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Bantam Books - English 9780553385519 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Twenty years ago, Elena Alvarez, the chef heroine of O'Neal's bland kitchen romance, was the sole survivor of a car accident that left her badly scarred and haunted by the sister and boyfriend she lost in the crash. Attempting to escape the specter of the accident and buoyed by her love of cooking, Elena drifted to culinary school in Europe and eventually ends up at an upscale Vancouver restaurant, where her passion and skills capture the attention of celebrity restaurateur Julian Liswood, who hires her as the executive chef of a new restaurant he is opening in Aspen, Colo. Elena relishes the opportunity, even as she recognizes the potential disasters, both romantic and job-related, inherent in the feelings she has for her boss. As the new endeavor finds its footing in Aspen's restaurant scene, she, too, begins to find a home. Unfortunately, O'Neal doesn't bring anything new to an already busy subgenre: the plot is formulaic, the prose is tepid and her main character is too narrowly drawn to have much appeal." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , In this sumptuous new novel, Barbara ONeal offers readers a celebration of food, family, and love as a woman searches for the elusive ingredient were all hoping to find….

Its 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 survive the odds. With her faithful dog, Alvin, and her grandmothers 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. Hes 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 dont die quietly, yet a chance to find happiness at last is worth the risk.

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