Monday 18 March 2013

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris-Jenny Colgan

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.

Review: Another delicious offering from Jenny Colgan! First there were cupcakes, then there were sweets, then Christmas cupcakes, and finally, the ultimate-chocolate! I was eagerly awaiting this chocolate novel, and even the cover in a gorgeous Cadbury purple is just as delicious as I hoped it would be. When we first meet main character Anna, the reader feels immediately drawn to her. She is entirely identifiable, and feels as though she could actually be you or me. Still in the town she grew up in, working in a job she is not entirely satisfied with, and having a slightly strained relationship with her parents, a freak accident at work forces her to get away and take on a new challenge.

As well as the Paris setting being an obvious bonus to this book, the characters than Anna meets are also extremely well written. I love the fact that Anna meets up with an old teacher whilst she is recuperating in hospital, and this is where she learns the French that she uses during her time in Paris. I think that Colgan has been incredibly clever in the way she has knitted together the stories of these two women. I admit that I wasn't expecting to be so taken with Claire's story, and yet I felt it was just as powerful, and deserves just as much recognition as Anna's story in the novel.

I feel that the food deserves a whole review of its own! I had to rush out and buy French food in order to continue reading the novel. The chocolate is described in such beautiful detail, I know I would spend the extortionate amount the shop charges in order to taste just one bit of the pure melting beauty of it. And it's not just the chocolate which one craves, the rest of the food in the novel is described so perfectly, the reader can almost smell the baking bread, the frying garlic and the flaky croissants! Just yum!

Overall this book is just as much fun to read as this authors previous food-based novels, and comes with the warning of not to devour it on an empty stomach. I was entirely greedy and finished it over a weekend. It would make a great holiday read, or some fabulous French escapism of an evening. Readers don't need to have read anything by Jenny Colgan before to enjoy this novel, an tough I have no doubt, they will be searching out the cupcakes and the sweets after the taste of chocolate they get within these pages. I thoroughly recommend this novel to anyone, and as Colgan herself say as the end of the book-Bon appetit!

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