Friday, 20 December 2013

Review! The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

Welcome to the most celebrated patisserie competition in Paris – ready, steady, bake!
Watching snowflakes settle on the Eiffel Tower, Rachel Smithson’s cosy English village feels very far way – as, thankfully, does her commitment-phobic ex, probably already kissing someone else under the mistletoe. But Rachel hasn’t come to Paris to mope she’s come to bake. Hard.

Because the search for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice is about to begin! And super-chef judge Henri Salernes is an infamously tough cookie. But Rachel isn’t about to let her confidence (or pastry) crumble. She’s got one week, mounds of melt-in-the-mouth macaroons and towers of perfect profiteroles to prove that she really is a star baker.

As well as clouds of flour, and wafts of chocolate and cinnamon, there’s definitely a touch of Christmas magic in the air… Rachel hasn’t come to Paris looking for a fairy-tale romance, but the city of love might gift-wrap her one anyway…

Review: What a fun Christmas story! I loved the sound of this one and it was just as scrumptious as I had hoped! The bonus for me at the start of this novel was that it starts out in a school, I totally wasn't expecting that! Rachel is a teacher and she is having a bad year so her fringed decides to send her off to Paris to a baking competitions for Christmas, knowing that she wouldn't be celebrating at home anyway! I think this is a fabulous concept as I know there are days at school I'd rather be whisked somewhere else. It's all wonderful and Christmasy with kids doing nativities and people decorating trees but Rachel jets off to Paris, not knowing what she has let herself in for. 

I didn't love Rachel to begin with, she was definitely a character that grew on me, I prefer a strong female lead and Rachel is quite weak but that is because circumstances have left her that way, she gains in strength as she goes through this novella and by the end, she makes a decisions that I was actually really proud of her for making. The storyline involving the bake off itself was seriously funny, the competition is quite intense and some of the things the contestants say and do to each other are almost pure slapstick comedy. There are some real characters in the group, all of them believe able, even the chef himself. 

There is a love interest or two for Rachel as well, don't worry, and that particular storyline is classic chick lit and something which I really enjoyed! Of course I have to talk about the setting, it's Paris at Christmas. There is the Champs Élysées, snow, bicycles and baked goods. Even though I am not a fan of Paris myself, I appreciate a well described city setting like this, and some of the best scenes in novels have been set here! 

Overall I am so glad I added this book to my Christmas reads list! It had elements of all the best chick lit novels and was satisfying right up until the last page. I found it a compelling and quick read and would recommend adding this to your lists too! 

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