While wandering at the library, I saw Pomegranate Soup. Out of curiousity, I picked it up. It's a story about three Iranian girls who move to Ireland and start a café. The cover blurb also promised hints of magic realism, which I love. (Magic realism: realism with hints of fantasy or magic.) Food and magic realism? I was in.
Marsha Mehran did a great job of combining cultures. Readers experience Iranian food (which sounds utterly delicious--Mehran provides recipes!), Irish scenery and an overall comfy feeling. The plot is simple: the sisters adjust to living in Ireland and try to run a café. Yet, there's much more--flashbacks, interactions and slow realizations that add spice to this book.
Characterization is great. All three sisters are very different, yet likeable. Secondary characters added depth to the story and never detracted. The writing was luscious and reminded me a lot of Suzanne Strempek Shea's Becoming Finola (also set in Ireland and absolutely a wonderful book).
Basically, it's an international best-seller for a reason. Check it out.