Monday, January 8, 2024

The Tastiest Story Yet with Rachel Linden of RECIPE FOR A CHARMED LIFE (Author Post)

Readers with an appetite for charming contemporary fiction infused with food, family, love, and a side of magic are in for a delicious treat: Please welcome Rachel Linden of RECIPE FOR A CHARMED LIFE!

The Tastiest Story Yet

Often research for a book can feel like a chore involving lots of meaty non-fiction books and endlessly Googling obscure facts. But occasionally if you’re very lucky, the process will be much more hands-on. This was the case for my newest novel, Recipe for a Charmed Life. It was the tastiest and most delightful research of my writing life so far and inspired me for all future books! 

Set half in Paris and half in the picturesque town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in the Pacific Northwest, Recipe for a Charmed Life is the story of Georgia, an up-and-coming American chef in Paris who, in one disastrous night, loses her sous chef position, her French boyfriend and her sense of taste! When she receives an unexpected invitation from her estranged mother, she flees to a beautiful remote island in the Pacific Northwest to reconnect with her mom and try to regain her spark in the kitchen. While there, Georgia discovers an astonishing family secret and finds herself falling for the handsome, grumpy oyster farmer in bright orange rubber overalls next door! 

This story afforded me the opportunity to do some on-the-ground research. For starters, I hadn’t been to Paris in years, so it seemed only prudent for me to go back to the city to make sure I was portraying it accurately. At least that’s what told myself! No way was I going to pass up a chance to go to Paris again! 

Once in Paris, my process was simple. I threw myself into practical research which consisted of essentially wandering around the city eating lots of macarons. This was as delightful as it sounds. I retraced Georgia’s steps from the Latin Quarter to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the peaceful green Jardin du Luxembourg and the Ile de la Cite in the Seine. During my brief few days in Paris, I valiantly tried my best to visit as many Laduree shops as I could find, sampling their divine macarons in flavors like salted caramel, citron, and my very favorite, orange blossom. It was the perfect, most delectable way to make sure all the details in my story evoked the splendor of The City of Light. 

Beautiful, remote San Juan Island provided another excellent opportunity for research. My husband’s family owns a home there and we spend part of every summer on the island. It holds a special place in our hearts. For this portion of the story, I visited several oyster farms, including San Juan Island’s own Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm which plays a big role in the story. I spent several happy afternoons interviewing oyster farmers and sampling delicious briny oysters fresh from the ocean. Yum!

All this delicious, hands-on research has inspired me. I’ve made a vow to try to set all my future books in beautiful locations that I want to visit again! I now keep a list of potential locations handy and add to it when inspiration strikes. Italy. Iceland. Austria….the list goes on. 

Currently I am hard at work on my next story and already dreaming of the tasty research it is soon going to involve…

About the Book

Recipe for a Charmed Life
by Rachel Linden

384 pages, Paperback
First published January 9, 2024
After a day of unrivaled disappointments, a promising young chef finds every bite of food suddenly tastes bitter. To save her career, she travels to the Pacific Northwest to reconnect with her estranged mom, and discovers a family legacy she never suspected in this delicious novel from the bestselling author of The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie.

American chef Georgia May Jackson has one goal—to run her own restaurant in Paris. After a grueling decade working in Parisian kitchens, she is on the cusp of success. But in one disastrous night, Georgia loses her sous-chef position, her French boyfriend, and her sense of taste! Renowned for her refined palate and daring use of bold flavors to create remarkable dishes, Georgia is devastated to discover her culinary gift has simply...vanished.

When she receives a surprising invitation from her estranged mother, Georgia flees to a small island near Seattle hoping the visit will help her regain her spark in the kitchen. There she tentatively reconnects with her mom, a free-spirited hippie eager to make up for her past mistakes. But there’s something about the enigmatic island Georgia just can’t piece together. Good luck charms keep appearing in the oddest places. Her neighbor is a puzzlingly antagonist (and annoyingly handsome) oyster farmer. And her mom keeps hinting at a mysterious family legacy.

With the clock ticking and time running out to win her dream job in Paris, Georgia begins to unravel some astonishing secrets that make her wonder if the true recipe for a charmed life might look—and taste—very different than she ever imagined.

About the Author

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie, The Enlightenment of Bees, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, and Ascension of Larks. Currently Rachel lives with her family on a sweet little island near Seattle, WA where she enjoys creating stories about strong women facing big challenges, travel, food, and second chances at love. She promises her readers a happy, or at least very hopeful, ending and infuses each of her stories with a touch of magical realism.

To learn more about Rachel Linden, visit her at

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