Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is a magical novel about romance and forbidden love set in Mexico. In this novel, Tita, the youngest daughter of Mama Elena is doomed to live a life without love. Her controlling widowed mother forces poor Tita to continue the tradition of the youngest daughter devoting her life to her mother. She is forbidden to marry. This is a cruel fate for a girl who has found her soul mate, Pedro. And it's even worse when her mother arranges for her oldest daughter Rosaura to marry her beloved Pedro. He consents because he sees that it will be the only way he can still remain in Tita's life.
When Tita was ordered to make the wedding cake for Pedro and Rosaura, she couldn't help but weep into the batter. And then something magical happened. At the first bite of the cake, the guests were flooded with uncontrollable sorrow for lost loves. Everyone started weeping and wailing and ended up vomiting up all their pain. That was the first of many instances where the essence of Tita's emotions was cooked into the meals.
The chapters of the book are broken up into months of the year, each of which is accompanied by a recipe that Tita cooks. As she cooks her way through the year, we see Pedro's and Tita's love grow stronger and more complicated. We discover secrets and changes in Mama Elena and her sisters Gertrudis and Rosaura.
I loved this novel. It was stuffed with fantasy, peppered with emotions, and deep fried in a hot and undying love. It was totally original story, not a cookie-cutter romance. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
I had great expectations of this book, as it was a book club choice. I spent the majority of the time irritated and annoyed with the protagonist. She chose to be a victim again and again, even with many options to the contrary. On the positive side, a appreciated the mysticism and the way in which emotions were physically manifest in the food.