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
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.
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.
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