Domestic Magic

Brian O'Reilly
Managing sudden widowhood and joblessness by cooking bounteous and sumptuous feasts that she shares with her neighbors, Angelina D'Angelo is offered a job as cook for a retiree and his elderly sister and finds her culinary talents winning her a circle of friends and protectors. (summary)
Joanne Harris
When the beautiful and mysterious Vianne moves to Lansquenet and opens a chocolate shop across from the church, the inhabitants of the tiny village find themselves torn between the solemn law of religion and the joyful rewards of Vianne's confections. (from summary)
Jeanne Ray
Ruth loves to bake cakes. When she is alone, she dreams up variations on recipes. When she meditates, she imagines herself in the warm, comforting center of a gigantic bundt cake. If there is a crisis, she bakes a cake; if there is a reason to celebrate, she bakes a cake. Ruth sees it as an outward manifestation of an inner need to nurture her family--which is a good thing, because all of a sudden that family is rapidly expanding. (from summary)
Mark Kurlansky
Kurlansky reveals the bond that can hold people together, tear them apart, or make them become vegan: food. Through muffins or hot dogs, an indigenous Alaskan fish soup, a bean curd Thanksgiving turkey or potentially toxic creme brulee, a rotating cast of characters learns how to honor the past, how to realize you're not in love with someone any more, and how to forgive. (from summary)
Jorge Amado
Nacib Saad has just lost the cook at his popular cafe and in desperation hires Gabriela. To his surprise she turns out to be a great beauty as well as a wonderful cook and an enchanting boon to his business. (from summary)
Sarah Addison Allen
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. (from summary)
Lily Prior
La Cucina, the heart of the family's lush estate, was a place where generations of Fiore women prepared sumptuous feasts and where the drama of extended family life was played out around the age-old table. When Rosa was a teenager, her own cooking became the stuff of legend in this small community that takes pride in the bounty of its landscape and the eccentricity of its inhabitants. (from summary)
Laura Esquivel
Despite the fact that she has fallen in love with a young man, Tita, the youngest of three daughters born to a tyrannical rancher, must obey tradition and remain single and at home to care for her mother. (summary)
Marsha Mehran
The three Aminpour sisters escape the Iranian Revolution and make their way west to a small Irish village. There they pursue a well-worn path to assimilation by taking over an abandoned Italian bakery and opening the Babylon Cafe. It takes a while to win over the insular townsfolk, but they manage to make a success of their restaurant, charming even the local priest. (from BookList)
Alice Hoffman
A young wounded civil war solider is saved by a passionate neighbor, a woman meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet falls in love with a blind man, and a mysterious traveler comes to town in the year when summer never arrives. At the center of everyone's life is a mysterious garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look. (summary)
Carrie Brown
In the four months since Conrad Morrisey's beloved wife, Rose, died, he has let her cherished garden slide into neglect, just as he has stopped caring what he eats or wears. But there, in Rose's overgrown and unkempt garden, Conrad receives an unearthly visitor, familiar yet perplexing...(S)uddenly he finds himself at the center of Rose's life in a way he'd never experienced, learning how she touched the lives of people he barely knew. (from summary)
Richard Morais
"That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist." And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life's journey in this novel. (from summary)
Santa Montefiore
Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens and imagine that one day she'll escape her meager existence and live there surrounded by its other worldly splendor. Then one day Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside and shows her the enchanting Mermaid Garden. (summary)
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Tilo, a woman from India...is given immortality by the gods as long as she remains chaste. In her old age Tilo ends up in California, running a spice shop and helping immigrants. One day enters Raven, a handsome American, and Tilo transforms herself into a beautiful woman for a night of love. Now she must pay the price. (summary)
Aimee Bender
Eating the cake her mother has prepared for her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein discovers she has a gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the food she prepares. Soon, every bite Rose takes is filled with feelings not just her mother's but those of other people as well and what might have been a gift becomes a burden and then, perhaps, a curse. (from BookList)
Erica Bauermeister
Eight students gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. (from summary)
Kristin Hannah
38-year-old Angela Malone abandons a successful advertising career in Seattle to find comfort in West End, the small Pacific Northwest coastal town where she grew up...Her big, warmhearted Italian family welcomes her with open arms, and she throws herself into revamping the family restaurant, DeSaria's. (from Publishers Weekly)
Julie Cannon
A down-home story celebrating the enormous healing power of the Southern garden. Imogene Lavender, her daughter, Jeanette, and her niece, Loutishie, wage their individual battles with grief and find the answer to many of life's questions deep in the red-clay dirt of Euharlee, Georgia. (from summary)