Anna Trent had a job she enjoyed as a taster at a chocolate factory. But an accident at work left her in the hospital for months and recovering from a traumatic injury. While in the hospital, she found herself back in touch with her French teacher Claire, who was able to recognize that thirty-year-old Anna needed a change. And so Claire offered her the opportunity of a lifetime.
Against her better judgment, Anna found herself off to Paris, living in a tiny flat and working with a master chocolatier. But this little Parisian chocolate shop was a far cry from the factory back in the UK and there was a definite learning curve for Anna. And when her boss Thierry fell ill, Anna found herself on a mission to reunite him with his former sweetheart Claire, all while falling in love herself.
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan is a lovely, sweet chick-lit novel that knows just how to grab attention - with chocolates and Paris. Going back and forth between the present and the 1970’s, readers will fall in love with the characters, the food, and the setting.
The biggest strength of this book is the descriptiveness of both the surroundings and the food. Sometimes in chick lit books you can find the setting acting as the background to the characters but in this case, it is a character itself. Colgan pays so much attention to the city that if you have never been to Paris (like me), you can find yourself discovering it through Anna’s eyes. It really allows you to put yourself in the place of the character. The same goes for the way the process of chocolate making and the shops are described in the book. Again, it doesn’t serve as a background but takes on its own life in the book.
I will admit, when I first began reading the book I did not think it needed Claire’s story. I wondered why it was necessary to share Claire’s story as a teenager in Paris. And I kind of felt this way through most of the book. Until the end, until the beautiful end when it all came together. This book is more than just your light-hearted, escape chick-lit book. It is a story of two women, of learning to live and love, and making sure you hold on to what you want. Even the secondary characters have beautiful stories of being who you are even when others don’t want you to be that. This book has its fun but it also has its seriousness and there are some heartbreaking moments.
This is the first book I have read by Jenny Colgan though she has written over 15 books. Many of her more recent books centre around the business of baking and if they are anything like this book I will be more than happy to read them all. And if you’re a baker, you will go crazy over the recipes that are included at the end of this book!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.