7 Magical Books Like Like Water For Chocolate

Magical Realism Romance Books

Welcome to a sensory journey through the pages of novels that stir the soul as potently as a well-seasoned dish. If “Like Water for Chocolate” left you craving more stories where magic blends seamlessly with the every day and where recipes hold power to express the deepest emotions, you’re in for a treat.

This post is your invitation to a feast of books similar to Laura Esquivel’s masterpiece—a collection of narratives steeped in magical realism, rich cultural heritage, and the intricate dance of love, loss, and longing. Each story serves as a course in a banquet of magical tales, where the kitchen becomes a crucible of transformation and the act of cooking a form of alchemy. So, tie on your apron, preheat your imagination, and explore books that promise to fill your heart as much as they tantalize your taste buds.

7 Books Like Like Water For Chocolate

“Like Water for Chocolate” and similar books incorporate elements of magical realism, blurring the boundaries between the mundane and the fantastical. These stories feature enchanting and surreal elements that add depth and texture to the narrative, inviting readers into a world where the extraordinary coexists with the ordinary.

I will discuss seven books similar to Like Water For Chocolate. Love and passion are central themes driving the actions and decisions of the characters. Whether it’s forbidden romance, unrequited love, or familial bonds, these stories explore the transformative power of love and its ability to shape lives and destinies. Let’s go!

NameKey FocusRating (Goodreads)
Radiance by Grace DravenAn arranged marriage story of two-kingdom with friendship, rivalry, and magical romance.4.0
Phoenix Unbound by Grace DravenA girl is trying to save herself from sacrifice and kidnapping by using an unknown power.4.1
Dragon Unleashed byGrace Draven The two protagonists save each other, and their romance faces many problems.4.0
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenTwo kingdoms are trying to make a relationship through an arranged marriage, but many unexpected things happen.4.1
Fae’s Captive by Lily ArcherA girl struggles with being enslaved in the fae kingdom and finding her romance.3.7
A Promise of Fire by Amanda BouchetA circus girl is discovering her magical power and struggling for herself.4.0
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair Two characters are having many troubles with each other and going through mythological aspects.3.8
Books Like Like Water For Chocolate List

1. Radiance (Wraith Kings)

This is one of my favorite romance books with friends to lovers and arranged marriage between two spare royals tropes. So, they are not important enough that their marriage will make a huge difference in their kingdoms. But since they are royalty, they can’t marry anybody. Their kingdoms decide to marry them off to each other in a political alliance because they come from two previously warring kingdoms.

So, their marriage is supposed to bridge the gap between these two rival kingdoms. Also, it’s a monster romance because they’re not humans in the kingdom that the guy comes from. Moreover, they all have gray skin, claws, and sharp teeth and are nocturnal. The best thing about this book is that the two characters find each other unattractive.

At the very start of their relationship, there is no physical attraction when they marry. They think the other is repulsive, but they form a great friendship. That friendship ends up attraction, and they fall in love. Like Water For Chocolate, their connection is so beautiful to watch, and it’s all set in a magical setting. The slow-burn romance and super slow plot are one of the main problems of this book, but you can enjoy it. So, I recommend it to everybody except slow-paced haters.


Author: Grace Draven
Publisher: Grace Draven (1st edition)
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Paranormal Romance, Aliens-cyborgs-robots, Marriage-of-convenience, Friendship
Number Of Pages: 297
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

2. Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire)

This one is an enemy to lover’s romance, set in a very different type of magical world from Radiance. So, it is much more of a fantasy world inspired by ancient Rome and Gladiators. The main character is Gilene, a witch, but nobody knows she’s a witch. In this world, there is a yearly sacrifice where all the towns have to send one of their women to be burned at the stake in the ritualistic sacrifice.

For the past few years, Gilene has been impersonating the person from her village. That will be sacrificed because she uses her powers to not die during the ritual.

So she keeps doing this every year so that her town doesn’t have to sacrifice anybody. Her love interest is a gladiator (Azarion), the ruler of this world enslaved to compete in all these fights. So, on the ritual day this year, Azarion realizes that Gilene is a witch and she’s using magic to get out of the sacrifice.

Azarion uses that to his benefit, and he kidnaps her so that she can help him escape. They must travel worldwide to get him back to his hometown, reunite with his family, and claim his birthright. So it’s very rivals because he kidnapped her and she is trying to escape from him. But they hit a lot of roadblocks on their journey.

There was a lack of romance, a slow story, and an unlikeable villain, which are the negative points of this book. But I love the magic elements in this world, similar to Like Water For Chocolate. If you like witches and gladiators in magical realism, you must read it.

Phoenix Unbound

Author: Grace Draven
Publisher: Ace
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Magic, Romance, Witches, Arc, Kidnapping, Slow-burn, Female-lead, Suspense
Number Of Pages: 399
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

3. Dragon Unleashed (Fallen Empire)

The story follows a guy (Malachus) from the ancient species of dragons, and they’re human dragon shapeshifters. But Malachus gets very badly injured, and the main character (Halani) is a magical healer. So Halani finds him on the brink of death and heals him back to life. The whole book is about caring for the other sick or injured characters.

Although fantastic world-building, impressive characters, and unique romance exist, the book is very slow initially. The action was somehow missing, which works well for the characters but not for me. Overall, I enjoyed the book because I love the shapeshifters trope. The hardcover quality is not good, but the paperback is impressive in font, color, and paper quality.

Dragon Unleashed

Author: Grace Draven
Publisher: Ace
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Dragons, Shapeshifters, Witches
Number Of Pages: 413
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

4. The Bridge Kingdom

This book is about a girl and her sister. They have been training their whole lives for one mission. One will be married off to the rival king in a political alliance. But she’s being sent there to murder him. In this world, all of the trade that goes on has to go through this one bridge that the king controls. So, everyone wants access to this bridge. It is super important in the politics and economics of the world.

The rival can’t remember if he’s a king, but the main character’s father wants to send her to marry the king and kill him so that they can get control of this bridge. The book is about her entering this rival kingdom and marrying the king in an attempt to get close to him and murder him.

There, she realizes that she has been lied to by her father about the nature of this king. He has always told her that this king is ruthless and evil. When she gets there, meets and marries him, she realizes that that’s not true. He’s great; she falls in love with him and is torn about what to do.

I loved all these fantasy elements because a jungle waterfall setting differs greatly from many other fantasy romances I have read. So I highly recommend this one after Like Water For Chocolate.

The Bridge Kingdom

Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: CLA
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Tropes: College Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Arranged-marriage, Hate-to-love, Mermaids-pirates
Number Of Pages: 354
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

5. Fae’s Captive

Our main character is Taylor, a student in college, and one day she is attacked. Then she wakes up in this dungeon and has no idea where she is. But Taylor is surrounded by all the magical creatures. She is a changeling and has been abducted back into the fae realm. So, she is now enslaved by the lord in the fae realm. One day, when Taylor is working and serving dinner at the banquet of the Lords, the Winter Fae King (Leander) sees her and immediately realizes that she is his mate.

So, this book plays on the fae mate bond. When the mate bond is triggered, Leander immediately becomes very protective of Taylor and needs to save her. So he helps her escape her enslavement and takes her on a journey back to his home kingdom of the winter realm.

During that journey, a lot of things are hunting them down. So, a lot of these fantasy romances have a traveling aspect. The world was also fascinating, with plot twists like ”Like Water For Chocolate”. The writing is awe-inspiring, and it ended up being super addicting.

Fae's Captive

Author: Lily Archer
Average Rating: 4.2/5
Tropes: Sci-fi, Fae, Possessive-hero, Enemies-to-lovers, Myth
Number Of Pages: 156
Available: Audiobook | Kindle

6. A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles)

A Promise of Fire is a fantasy romance where the main character (Fisa) is a clairvoyant, so she can tell when anybody is lying. That is a very useful and widely sought out skill. Fisa has been hiding out in a traveling circus, but she runs into the Warlord (Griffin), who realizes her power. So Griffin kidnaps her to take her back to his kingdom and use her for his benefit. You will get the characters’ similarities between Fisa and Tita, the protagonists of the Like Water For Chocolate book.

The fun part of this book is that Griffin kidnaps her by using this magical rope and binding the two of them together, which is unbreakable. They’re now tied together with the magical rope and must journey across the kingdom. Also, they must sleep together, and everything they do must be together. So it also has that forced proximity trope since they’re magically bound together.

A Promise of Fire

Author: Amanda Bouchet
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Greek & Roman Myth, Alpha-male, Dragons, Feminism
Number Of Pages: 450
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Mass Market Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

7. A Touch of Darkness (Hades & Persephone)

I enjoyed this first book of the series, a Hades and Persephone romance. Hades owns a nightclub, and people can come to him and bargain in this club. Persephone goes to that club one night, and she meets Hades but doesn’t realize his identity. They make a bargain, and it turns out that she is now in a contract with the god of death.

The terms of that bargain are that Persephone must create life in the underworld, or she will lose her freedom forever. So, she moves to the underworld and has to spend much time figuring out how to create life. The rest of it plays out a very typical Hades and Persephone romance. I have read many Hades and Persephone stories, many of which don’t hit the mark. The writing of this one wasn’t necessarily the strongest, but it was still enjoyable, Like Water For Chocolate.

A Touch of Darkness

Author: Scarlett St. Clair
Publisher: Bloom Books
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Erotica, Paranormal, Retellings, Mythology
Number Of Pages: 402
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

Like the unforgettable dishes of “Like Water for Chocolate,” the books we’ve explored together blend the ingredients of fantasy, tradition, and emotion into recipes that transcend the ordinary, offering us a taste of the sublime. These stories, rich with layers of meaning and spiced with moments of wonder, remind us that life, much like cooking, is an art—best enjoyed when infused with a touch of magic.

Whether you’ve found new favorites to devour or simply savored the journey through tales that echo the warmth and complexity of Laura Esquivel’s classic, we hope you’re inspired to continue seeking out stories that nourish the soul. Until we meet again in the kitchen of imagination, happy reading, and may your literary feasts be as enriching as they are enchanting.

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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