The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
Release: 14th March 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit, Fiction, Food, Paris, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review
"As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris.
It's a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime - to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.
With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate - and herself - than she ever dreamed."
Jenny Colgan is back with another indulgent treat of a book and this one really caught my attention as not only is it about my favourite vice, chocolate, but it is also set in one of my favourite cities, Paris. As soon as I heard what this book was about I knew that this one would be a winner and I wasn’t disappointed! Chocolate, French men, romance and Paris what’s not to love!?
This book follows two wonderful women Anna and Claire and their lives and loves in Paris. The book begins with Anna in a freak accident at work that leaves her in hospital where she reunites with her old French teacher from school Claire who is receiving treatment for cancer. Through their stay the women strike up a friendship and with Anna now out of work Claire sets her up with a once in a lifetime job working for world famous chocolatier Thierry in his chocolate shop in Paris.
The book is told in alternating parts between Anna whose story is set in the modern day and Claire’s which takes us back to Paris in the seventies where Claire goes to work as an Au Pair for the summer. There are similarities in both girls’ stories as they start out as insecure women and you watch them both blossom in Paris and find love along the way. I loved both ladies and their stories so much but Claire’s was my favourite. I was just dying to know what had happened between her and Thierry and if they would get reunited before it was all too late.
Jenny Colgan’s descriptions of the chocolate in this book were mouth-watering to read and I’d definitely recommend reading the book with some chocolate on hand like I did! The way that Thierry made his chocolate with such love and care really made me realise what an art form being a chocolatier is and how hard it is to get right. I definitely have a new found respect for the profession and will never look at chocolate in quite the same way again!
The chocolate wasn’t the only thing about this book that made me hungry, Jenny Colgan completely brings Paris to life on the page and made me hungry to travel there and have an adventure like Anna’s and Claire’s. The French certainly know how to enjoy their food and not only the chocolate but all of the meals Anna ate in Paris sounded to die for. I fell in love with the descriptions of the food and the Parisian life style so much that I’m now really eager to travel there myself.
However this book wasn’t all romance, food and adventure. At its heart The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is really quite a bittersweet read with the lovely Claire fighting cancer. I felt that the author got the recipe just right as there is enough fun and sparkle to balance out the sad parts so that this didn’t become a completely heart-breaking read.
Once again I was totally enchanted by Jenny Colgan, her books are amongst some of my favourites, she is a must read author in my opinion! The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is a novel you’ll want to savour but you’ll end up gobbling it down in one single, satisfying, bite. Bon appetit!
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