I just finished The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal. It's a book about a chef, Elena, who was the lone survivor of a car accident as a teenager, and has been haunted for twenty years with questions of why she survived. She had struggled with allowing herself to love and be loved.
As a child, she's passed from her dead beat mom to her maternal grandmother (who then dies) and then to her paternal grandmother. Her father died when she was young, but her grandmother lovingly accepts her into their home, where she becomes very close with her family, including her father's sister, Isobel, who is the same age as Elena.
At seventeen, Elena survives the horrible car crash that kills her sister, her boyfriend, and two other loved ones. She flees the town as it is too painful to stay. But Isobel goes with her. She is a constant companion of Elena's as she moves through the next few decades of her life.
Without getting too cheesy or giving too much away, I really enjoyed the way they developed the character of Elena. You could understand her being so aloof and holding herself away from getting close to others for fear of losing them as she lost everyone close to her. As you would expect, the book focuses on her internal struggle with the past, the present and the future, and figuring out if/how she can open herself up to being hurt again.