Thursday, May 21, 2009

May Bookclub.

Our Laguna de la Paz bookclub held its second meeting yesterday and it was such an enjoyable experience. Due to La Quinta being one of those "seasonal" towns we weren't sure how many would turn up during the summer months. Most of our Canadian and northern states visitors have returned home until October when the season resumes, yet we had seven attendees yesterday. It was a great group with everyone participating and bringing a different perspective to the table, and one member emailed her comments even though on vacation. :=) Way to go, Marge.

The book being discussed was The Lost Recipe For Happiness, by Barbara O'Neal. This was her first book under the new pseudonym, although she has many books written under the name Barbara Samuel and also many Harlequin romances written under the pseudonym Ruth Wind. I've always enjoyed Barbara's works for their sensual detail, whether a story about making perfume (where you swear you can smell the scents) or the restaurant business (where you get hunger pains reading about the wonderful foods) or her lovemaking scenes that have such great sensual detail they don't read as mere sex scenes.

As it was my turn to host I'd thought about making the pomegrante baklava from Barbara's recipe in the book. Time ran away from me though as I'd had a trip up to L.A. and only returned home on Monday evening. I was in Wal-Mart picking up a few things and saw a covered tray of various types of baklava and thought I'd give it a try. They were amazing! Yikes, and I'm supposed to be on the second phase of the South Beach diet. No baklava on that. I froze the leftovers, but somehow they seem to call my name every time I pass the fridge.

Back to discussing the book, here is the author's blurb:
Haunted by an accident of which she was the lone survivor, Elena Alvarez knows how to defy the odds. And when she is suddenly offered the opportunity she's been waiting for--the challenge of running her own kitchen in a world-class restaurant--she knows it is a chance she has to take, even if it does mean relocating to Aspen, where she doesn't know a soul, and usurping the job of a notably volatile chef. So with her faithful dog and her grandmother's recipes, she 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. For Elena, old ghosts don't die quietly, but some remain with her for a reason. And, through all the ups and downs, she knows the chance for happiness is worth every risk.

It was nice that our one male member did not balk at having to read a romance and although he said he's never read one before, he rated it at least a seven. His only negative comment was it was predictible in that it didn't have a surprise, or twist, in the ending. I explained that a requirement for writing romance is a happily ever after, so in that sense romances are predictible. We all agreed this was a story about learning to let go so you can move forward. Everyone found it enjoyable and felt they had a greater understanding of how a restaurant is run and the relationships that have to come together to make a truly successful business. They also felt the heroine was well drawn and strong yet totally believable. Then we digressed a bit and ended up talking about the pros and cons of women in business and that was a lively discussion.

With a rating from 1-10, The Lost Recipe For Happiness scored six seven's and two nines.

June's meeting will be held in the clubhouse at 1PM. The June book-of-the-month choice is The Shack, by William P. Young.

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