A book I recommend - perfect for the Lost in Translation challenge of 2009. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Myriam is a mess. On a whim she decides to open a small restaurant after cooking for a traveling circus. She was also a wife and mother not so long ago, but her past comes to light gradually, interspersed with the current day to day of starting a business. Currently she's winging it with the help of her florist neighbor, a gangly but smart waiter, and a farmer with choice produce. What makes this story shine are the descriptions of cooking that are so luscious you can smell and taste them. Myriam's life surges with passion and regret, and the story naturally ebbs and flows in accompaniment. While at times it is difficult to feel sympathy for Myriam, I appreciate a flawed, yet honest character. She doesn't hold anything back, even her disgraces are laid bare.
What this book suffers from may be attributed to improper marketing. It looks like it is going to be a light, almost chick lit type book (from the back cover explanation). Truly, it reminded me of Joanne Harris' Chocolat and I have also seen it compared to Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate. So just don't expect a fluffy story of a woman opening a restaurant - Chez Moi is far more magical and unpredictable. And you may find your mouth watering too.
Here's another review: