Jul 3 2011 3:30pm

Mary Jo Putney on Barbara O’Neal’s The Lost Recipe for Happiness

The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal

The 2011 RITA Awards ceremony was held Friday night, but the nominee love continues. RITA award-winning author Mary Jo Putney shares why Barbara O’Neal’s The Lost Recipe for Happiness is a favorite:

Food. Love. Pets. What’s not to like? No one combines those elements into a sumptuous read better Barbara O’Neal, aka Barbara Samuel, aka Ruth Wind. Barbara has a whole tribe of RITAs that she’s won under different names, and yes, food, love, and pets tend to figure prominently in many of her books.

Here is the story of The Lost Recipe of Happiness, a 2009 RITA winner:

“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 survive 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.”

A lifelong Westerner, Barbara creates settings so vivid that you see, touch, and hear the dramatic landscapes. But that is less important than the power of her storytelling, and her beautifully rounded characters who learn to grow, connect, and rebuild damaged lives.

And this is just one wonderful Barbara O’Neal/Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind read! If you like delicious romantic women’s fiction that warms you to your toes—and makes you want to go to the kitchen and start cooking!—try one of her books. You won’t be sorry.


A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author, Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. Winner of numerous writing awards, including two RITAs and two Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, she has five times had books listed among the Library Journal’s top five romances of the year, and three times had books among the top ten romances of Booklist. Her favorite reading is great stories, but in a pinch she’ll settle for the backs of cereal boxes. 

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Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I loved this and "How to Bake a Perfect Life". I'll have to look for other books by this wonderfull author under her other pseudonims.
2. Janga
I too loved The Lost Recipe for Happiness. I've been a Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind/Barbara O'Neal reader since Lucien's Fall back in 1995. I'm so happy that she has made her older titles available as ebooks. I bought an ebook of In the Midnight Rain by Ruth Wind a couple of weeks ago, reread it, and had to do a golden oldie review because I love that book more every time I read it. Her books always pack a big emotional punch, whatever name she chooses to put on the cover.
3. JacquiC
I recently read "No Place Like Home", written under the name Barbara Samuel (I think). So soo good... and a real tearjerker too. I love the way she writes -- I think some of her prose might be viewed as overwritten in the hands of a different author, but she somehow makes the characters come to life and the emotions as well, so I just love it.
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