Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was first published in 1989, became a bestseller in Mexico in 1990, and was made into a movie in 1992. It tells the love story of Tita and Pedro at turn-of-the-20th-century De la Garza Ranch in rural Mexico. The book itself is arranged into 12 chapters, with recipes at the beginning of the chapter that relate to the scenes in the book. January starts with the story of Tita’s birth and a recipe for savory Christmas Rolls, February with Chabela Wedding Cake and the real start to Tita’s love story. Pedro and Tita fall in love at first sight but Tita, according to tradition, is denied marriage by her tyrannical mother. Tita is the youngest daughter and all her life expects to remain single and at home to care for her mother. So, Tita’s mother arranges the marriage of Pedro to Tita’s older sister Rosaura. The chapters (and months of the year) continue with the story of Rosaura and Pedro’s marriage, Tita’s continued tortured life at the hands of her mother, and of the oldest sister’s Gertrudis own adventures at home and away. There are fantastical elements to the lives of these characters, but each unusual event is described in a way that doesn’t veer this into fantasy at all. The book is a shorter read at under 250 pages and could be finished in a couple hours, although the story covers the main character, Tita’s, entire life.
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