Theme for today: Lovely books with Paris & France themes! Be sure to read the posts on Samantha Vérant & Roselle Lim & Jenn McKinlay too!
Full disclosure: Samantha Vérant is an author I’m pretty friendly with. Back when we met (on twitter), she’d just published a memoir, SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS, and I’d done a post on the Kirkus blog about books set in Paris and she got in touch to ask if I might be interested in reading her book.
Turns out we were in Paris/France the same summer (1989) and had some eerily similar experiences. We’ve been friends ever since and even met when I traveled to Paris to attend the first-ever Romance Novel Conference in 2016. We keep in touch fairly regularly, so I was excited when she told me that after two memoirs, she was writing a novel.
At long last, the book is about to release! Yay!
I read THE SECRET FRENCH RECIPES OF SOPHIE VALROUX and I loved it! There were a couple little things that made it not quite perfect, but overall, it was so charming and entertaining that I pretty much forgot about its few flaws by the end of the book.
There is a juicy romance, family tension, food/kitchen/restaurant drama and at the center of it all is Sophie, the betrayed chef who goes to France to take care of her grandmother and ultimately finds herself.
The backdrop is so delightfully french—the beautiful chateau, the ambiance, the sensibility and the food—and it’s completely satisfying when Sophie drops into it so wholeheartedly, reconnecting with the inner cook, if you will, who loves fresh, perfectly prepared food.
It takes her a while to embrace her role as a leader and remember her joy and prowess in the kitchen, but once she does, things come together in most aspects of her life, including a gratifying come-uppance moment for her lying, scheming ex.
This was Vérant’s debut novel, and it was a fun, truly delicious read (pun intended). Her world-building for this luxe, elegant château estate and restaurants is creative and clever (not to mention mouth-watering) and I look forward to her next book, when I get to check in with Sophie and her new friends and see what they’re up to.
THE SECRET FRENCH RECIPES OF SOPHIE VALROUX
A disgraced chef rediscovers her passion for food and her roots in this stunning novel rich in culture and full of delectable recipes.
French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she’s dreamed of.
Until her career goes up in flames.
Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
Some post and image links are connected to an affiliate portal. A small percentage of your purchases supports my work and this page. Thanks so much!