The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
Author Jenny Colgan
Narrated by Beverley A. Crick
Publication date Jan 18, 2018
Running time 11 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced MP3 of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris.
It’s a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime – to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.
With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate – and herself – than she ever dreamed. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16079967-the-loveliest-chocolate-shop-in-paris
It’s true that Anna Trent is a supervisor in a chocolate factory . . . but that doesn’t necessarily mean she knows how to make chocolate. And when a fateful accident gives her the opportunity to work at Paris’s elite chocolatier 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. But with a bit of luck and a lot of patience, Anna might learn that the sweetest things in life are always worth working for.
Hopeful, laugh-out-loud funny, and irresistibly addictive, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is a novel worth savoring.
Jenny Colgan writes such sweet, sweet romance; often with a very sad component. I think the sad components are there to highlight life’s short and precarious nature: you can’t see the dark without the light,…
What really stood out for me in this story though was how a student with great potential is somehow sidelined due to, what, circumstance, peer pressure, a desire to fit in?
Anna is smart and has risen to a decent position at a large chocolate factory in the UK. When she has an accident where she needs to have something worked on, she gets an infection which results in further complications. This is how the story starts off and, honestly, it didn’t grab me at first: Anna is in a fog at the hospital and unsure what is happening and as she is the narrator of her story, it was just as foggy to me.
While the complication seems like a little thing (or two little things), it seems too small to have a huge impact on her life. My husband had a similar incident with his digits and never worried about whether people would find him repulsive. But even little physical problems can result in difficulties in functioning. And, for a young woman worrying about her appearance is a big deal. Anna doesn’t seem overly concerned with her looks otherwise so it’s interesting that she places so much importance on the visible disability.
The other major storyline is about her roommate in the hospital where she spends much more time than she would here in the US. Hmmm.
The roommate turns out to be an old teacher. This teacher thought Anna was exceptional, but for whatever reason (I think it is her best friend’s influence and teen-romance) starts to slag off, her teenage self scoffs and sneers for effect – maybe, in her area if you liked learning it was uncool.
This teacher learned French because she worked as an au pair in Paris. She also falls deeply in love and, in the nature of the intense teenage romance has to leave and doesn’t see him again. She never stops loving French boyfriend and it really affects her life. Sometimes teenage romances are real love – that doesn’t mean they will succeed but they can have a huge impact even though it is often seen as trivial.
Anna is not a teen, although her emotional growth seems stunted. At 30 plus years she still lives at home with her parents. Going off to this new job in Paris is a massive step that will change her regardless of love or success at work.
I learned a lot about chocolate making. But for me, the story really hit on two levels: First loves matter, regardless of age. We shouldn’t discount the impact or insist it is not are not real. It may be immature but can be real. For Claire (Anna’s teacher) and Tierry (the man in France) this young love is real and affects them both intensely. The second important thing was the student/teacher relationship. While she’s a teen Anna sees school as less than important and doesn’t really understand what she gave up until she sees Claire again. Claire knows Anna is smart but her greatest impact came from her relationship with Anna after Anna’s school years.
Ultimately, the story is sweet, and terribly sad. Time lost, love lost, opportunities lost doesn’t mean that what you do get in the end is a consolation prize. There are many ways our lives can go and still be good lives.
Crick does a great job her with a huge range in accents for both the UK and France. I think I prefer her for contemporary books.
In any event this was a good book for my. I do enjoy Jenny’s work; it is pleasant, touches my humanity and heart, and always has something to say.