August 6, 2019
Anna Trent may be a supervisor in a chocolate factory…but that doesn’t necessarily mean she knows how to make chocolate. So when a fateful accident gives her the opportunity to work at the most elite chocolatier in Paris―Le Chapeau Chocolat―Anna expects to be outed as a fraud.
After all, there is a world of difference between chalky, mass-produced English chocolate and the gourmet confections Anna’s new boss creates. While she may never match him in the kitchen, Anna thinks she might be able to give him a second chance at love.
And with a bit of luck and a lot of patience, Anna’s learning that the sweetest things in life are always worth working for.
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan feels like a transition novel between her early irreverently funny novels and the later sweet and humorous but careful novels. Sometimes the humor is irreverent, typically when focused on weight (mocking the overweight has been a running theme throughout her novels), but mostly it’s just funny without the shock value.
Anna Trent is involved in an accident in the chocolate factory where she works, which lands her in the hospital. Her roommate is her old French teacher, Claire. Since they are both bored, Claire strives to re-teach Anna French. As part of the chocolate factory’s settlement, Anna cannot return to her job once she’s released from the hospital. Claire steps in and provides Anna with the opportunity of a lifetime: working in the chocolate shop of one of Paris’ most esteemed chocolatiers.
While The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is told from multiple POVs, the main ones are Anna and Claire. With Claire’s segments, we go to England and Paris of the ’70s. Claire is the daughter of a very strict minister who believes that women are second class citizens and should not pursue ambitions like going to college. Claire’s mother, however, provides Claire with an opportunity to be an au pair in Paris where Claire falls in love with a young, vibrant chocolatier.
Anna’s narration was my favorite, mostly because she always seems to be ready to say something outrageous or funny and her observations were amusingly sarcastic. Anna is a wonderful character and I loved seeing Paris from her eyes as well as the delight she takes in savoring chocolate and the mouthwatering dishes she tastes in Paris restaurants. Full on emotion, however, comes in Claire’s passages where we realize how important it is to be grateful for every moment and experience we’re granted as well as the relationships that we may not appreciate as much as we should–and no, the book is not preachy. This is just what I gleaned from the conclusion.
Like all of the Colgan novels I’ve read, this one is warm-hearted comfort food. It’s als a great travel escape for anyone longing to go to Paris, which includes me, after this book.
Oh, and I almost forgot. There are chocolate-oriented recipes at the end! Hot chocolate anyone?
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies