Friday, August 23, 2013

Bookish Quotes: From The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal

Barbara O'Neal is rapidly becoming a must read author for me. I love the combination of her voice and her stories, of the way she includes books and food in particular in her stories among other things.

For today's Bookish Quote I thought I would share a couple of passages from a book I read a while ago now, The Lost Recipe for Happiness.

This first section is from pages 48-49 of The Lost Recipe for Happiness

Elena, the little girl born on a windy moonless night, was left a lot to her own devices. Donna was a party girl who left Elena with her own mother, Iris. All three lived in a little apartment nearby the roadhouse where Iris worked, and Elena had her own bedroom overlooking the river. Mexico was there on the other side, looking much the same as America. But it was different. Everyone said so.

She went to school with migrant workers and played jacks with the children of soldiers and learned that she was very smart. Every year, she was the smartest girl in the class, and there was one reason why - they lived right around the corner from a library.

Elena's grandmother Iris loved reading, especially big sagas by the likes of Sidney Sheldon, and historicals and gothics by the thousands - Victoria Hold and Mary Steward and Norah Lofts. It was her escape. She didn't drink and she didn't like people very much and thought television was idiotic, so she would sit on the porch and smoke cigarettes and read novels. To this day, when Elena heard someone cough in that rattly, heavy-smoker way, she had a flash of Iris reading, her breasts spilling over her ribs and down her sides beneath a housedress, a light shining over her shoulder, smoke rising in a blue cloud around her.

The pair of them went to the library every week to check out books. By the time she was seven, Elena could read chapter books, and she read them by the zillions.

and from page 50, after her grandmother had died and her mother had left her with her other grandmother:

All she had with her were the clothes she'd worn, a pair of extra underwear, and a Victoria Holt book her grandmother had been reading when she died, The Mistress of Mellyn, which Elena was ashamed to have stolen from the library.

and finally from page 51

Every night, Elena curled around the book and buried her face in a blanket and cried silently. It was like she had a whole in her heart, or maybe even worse, like there was a hole in her chest where everything she loved had been cut out. She couldn't breathe with it.

I am really looking forward to reading Barbara O'Neal's next book which is about a group of food bloggers apparently.


  1. This book is sitting on my bookshelf and reading this passage makes me want to dig in right away. I love a character that loves books.