If by recommended, you mean stolen, then Love in the Time of Cholera. My parents never really suggested books to me in any direct way, but I would see what they were reading and snatch titles from them. This one was on my dad's shelves, and I "borrowed" it. It's been on my shelves for 12 years now. It was one of my earliest experiences with magical realism, aside from Like Water for Chocolate, and while I don't remember much in the way of concrete events from a book read more than a decade ago, I do remember being sort of hypnotized by a style and jumbled chronology that I wasn't really familiar with.
Since it had the Penguin cover, I must have been expecting it to be smutty: