Title: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2014
After a ridiculous, yet horrifying, accident at the chocolate factory she works at as a supervisor, Anna Trent is surprised to find her hospital roommate is her old school French teacher, Claire Shawcourt. As Anna struggles through her recovery, Claire is battling chemotherapy for cancer. Because neither can really go anywhere in the hospital, they slowly build a friendship. When Anna is released, she finds her life in a state of limbo; she can’t go back to her old job but is unsure where to go next. Claire has the perfect solution.
Years earlier as a young woman, Claire escapes from her over-bearing, controlling Reverend father for a summer when she travels to Paris and works as a nanny to her mother’s pen-pal’s children. While there, she meets and falls in love with a robust, handsome chocolatier. At the end of the summer, Claire must return home to England and Thierry was sent to Algeria to serve in the military service. They both went on with their lives but never forgot one another.
It is Claire who writes to Thierry and secures Anna a job in his famous Parisian shop, Le Chapeau Chocolat, and Anna heads across the channel for a grand new adventure. Working in Thierry’s chocolate shop is nothing like the factory in England, and Anna must decide if she is truly committed to the artistic creation and temperament of a Parisian chocolatier. With the help of Anna’s flamboyant costume designing flat mate, Thierry’s estranged and aloof son, and the other chocolatiers in the shop, Anna improves her chocolate making skills, her palette, and her view of life.
The Jenny Colgan books are so much fun!! This is the fifth book I have read by this author and I admit that they do follow a similar formula — girl is in a stagnant place in life, something catastrophic (divorce, job loss, accident) occurs, girl embarks on a new adventure, meets new friends, and discovers a new path in life – but hey, it works! Colgan creates relatable characters that the reader truly roots for and wants to find success. There is a little romance, an interesting and unique setting, and quirky secondary characters that create an enduring and delightful read.
This particular book deviates a bit from the formula as it tells both Anna’s story and Claire’s past as they are woven together. I enjoy how the author shows that as different as times and situations are, most people really just want a sense of purpose and to find happiness and love.
Who might like this book:
The books are perfect for the carpool line, a long flight, or the beach and provide a fun escape from reality. I enjoy reading these because I know there will be a satisfying and happy ending. Some days, you just need that. Oh, and there are recipes . . . chocolate recipes . . . and that is always a good thing.