A FRENCH WEDDING
By: Hannah Tunnicliffe
Narrator: Katharine McEwan
PRH Audio: Imprint: Random House Audio
Genre: Fiction – Contemporary Women
Release Date: June 06, 2017
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
A French Wedding is a delicious novel about six college friends reuniting on the coast of Brittany to celebrate one of their own’s fortieth birthday. With sumptuous food and plenty of wine, the table is set for tricky romantic entanglements, fiery outbursts, and a range of secrets. Readers who loved The Vacationers and The Little Paris Bookshop will devour this irresistible novel.
Max is a washed-up rock star who’s about to turn forty and feeling nostalgic for his university days. All he says he wants for his birthday is to host his old friends at his house in the French countryside for a weekend of good food and reminiscing. But he has an ulterior motive: Finally ready to settle down, this is his chance to declare his undying love to his best friend, Helen.
Max’s private chef, Juliette, has just returned to her hometown after a nasty breakup and her parents’ failing health move her to sell her dream restaurant in Paris. Still reeling, Juliette throws herself into her job, hoping that the peace and quiet it offers will be the perfect cure for her broken heart.
But when Max’s friends arrive, the introverted, dreamy Juliette finds herself drawn out of her orderly kitchen and into their tumultuous relationships. A weekend thinking about the past spurs more than one emotional crisis, as the friends take stock of whether they’ve lived up to their ideals. Together for the first time in years, it’s not long before love triangles, abandoned dreams, and long-held resentments bubble over, culminating in a wedding none of them ever expected.
This book felt like the author had ideas for several books but could only write the one. Over and over we reach a dead end in a story line and there’s a surprise to bail out the author.
Rock star and abuse victim has a drinking and drugging problem. A woman born in France to British parents has a tough time handling her parents deaths. The beginning is about the chef, them middle about the rock star, his friends and peripherally, the chef cooking them meals. The blurb says it is a coming of age story. For 40 year olds?!
This could work if the story threads melded together in ny but the very contrived way they seem to. I was also confused by who was Breton French and who was British.
The reader was fine. I had some questions in regards to pronunciation but from an American accent POV. Honestly, I was so annoyed by the story that the narrator could have been amazing and I would not have seen it. The big issue for this book as an audio is that it is hard to understand the names of places and, one particular Breton dish I heard as “Queen Yeman,’ but which, I think, is
Kouign-amann (pronounced [ˌkwiɲˈamɑ̃nː], pl. kouignoù-amann) is a Breton cake. It is a round crusty cake, originally made with bread dough (nowadays sometimes viennoiserie dough), containing layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry albeit with fewer layers. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough (resulting in the layered aspect of it) and the sugar caramelizes. The effect is similar to a muffin-shaped, caramelized croissant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kouign-amann
The cake is very important to the story only in that it is mentioned again and again. But, it is not that the cake saves anyone’s life, or that it allows Juliette to continue to explore her identity – she’s just good at making it. I gather the story is mostly to have occurred in a town called Douarnenez, but which sounded like D’Annez — not too far off. Both are in my featured image graphic.
This was a story about whiny people in their late forties with addiction issues, sexual identity issues and commitment issues. It is like an potpourri a romance: rock stars, France, and food, but even location couldn’t save it.
Oooh, it’s in France! France is to books these days what Tuscany was a while back. Every other book I read is takes place mostly in France. But, not all experiences in France are stellar; France is not some magical panacea for the world. Seriously!