"Sheer indulgence from start to finish." Sophie Kinsella
Anna Trent may be a supervisor in a chocolate factory...but that doesn't necessarily mean she knows how to make chocolate. So 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.
A heartwarming, bittersweet story of life, love and chocolate, fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner and Jill Mansell will be craving sweets along with this tale of love lost and found.
What reviewers are saying about The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris:
"both believable and funny, while the Parisian setting makes this story practically irresistible." — Shelf Awareness Reader
"This cross—generational story is as irresistible as Colgan's portrayal of Paris itself—and all things chocolate. " — Publishers Weekly
"Heartwarming and funny..." —Booklist
"will have you laughing one moment and crying the next... will entertain you at every turn." — RT Book Reviews
"A tale of two Englishwomen in Paris, of love lost and found... Gently and lovingly done." — Dear Author
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About the Author
A former columnist for The Guardian, Jenny Colgan contributes regularly to national BBC radio and is the author of more than eleven bestselling novels, including her recent international bestsellers The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris published in 2014 and Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the 2013 Romantic Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists Association. She is married with three children and lives in London and France.
Read an Excerpt
The really weird thing about it was that although I knew instantly that something was wrong-very, very wrong, something sharp, something very serious, an insult to my entire body-I couldn't stop laughing. Laughing hysterically.
I was lying there, covered-drenched-in spilled melted chocolate and I couldn't stop giggling. There were other faces now, looking down on me; some I was sure I even recognized. They weren't laughing. They all looked very serious in fact. This somehow struck me as even funnier and set me off again.
From the periphery, I heard someone say, "Pick them up!" and someone else say, "No way! You pick them up! Gross!" And then I heard someone else, who I thought was Flynn, the new stock boy, say, "I'll dial 911," and someone else say, "Flynn, don't be stupid; it's 999. You're not American," and someone else say, "I think you can dial 911 now because there were so many idiots who kept dialing it." And someone else taking out their phone and saying something about needing an ambulance, which I thought was hilarious as well, and then someone, who was definitely Del, our old grumpy janitor, saying, "Well, they're probably going to want to throw this batch away then." And the idea that they might not throw away the enormous vat of chocolate but try to sell it instead when it had landed all over me actually was funny.
After that, thank God, I don't remember anything, although later, in the hospital, an ambulance man came over and said I was a total bloody nutter in the ambulance and that he'd always been told that shock affected people in different ways, but mine was just about the differentest he'd ever seen. Then he saw my face and said, "Cheer up, love; you'll laugh again." But at that point I wasn't exactly sure I ever would.
- - -
"Oh come off it, Debs, love, it's only her foot. It could have been a lot worse. What if it had been her nose?"
That was my dad, talking to my mum. He liked to look on the bright side.
"Well, they could have given her a new nose. She hates her nose anyway."
That was definitely my mum. She's not quite as good as my dad at looking on the bright side. In fact, I could hear her sobbing. But somehow, my body shied away from the light; I couldn't open my eyes. I didn't think it was a light; it felt like the sun or something. Maybe I was on holiday. I couldn't be at home-the sun never bloody shines in Kidinsborough, my hometown, voted worst town in England three years in a row before local political pressure got the show taken off the air.
My parents zoned out of earshot, just drifted off like someone tuning a radio. I had no idea if they were there or if they ever had been. I knew I wasn't moving, but inside I felt as though I was squirming and wriggling and trapped inside a body-shaped prison someone had buried me in. I could shout, but no one could hear me. I tried to move, but it wasn't working. The dazzle would turn to black and back again to the sun, and none of it made the faintest bit of sense to me as I dreamt-or lived-great big nightmares about toes and feet and parents who spontaneously disappear and whether this was going crazy and whether I'd actually dreamt my whole other life, the bit about being me, Anna Trent, thirty years old, taster in a chocolate factory.
Yes, actually. While we're at it, here are my top ten "Taster in a Chocolate Factory" jokes that I get at Faces, our local nightclub. It's not a very nice nightclub, but the rest are really much, much worse:
1. Yes, I will give you some free samples.
2. No, I'm not as fat as you clearly expected me to be.
3. Yes, it is exactly like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
4. No, no one has ever done a poo in the chocolate vat. (Though I wouldn't necessarily have put it past Flynn.)
5. No, it actually doesn't make me more popular than a normal person, as I am thirty, not seven.
6. No, I don't feel sick when confronted with chocolate; I absolutely adore it. But if it makes you feel better about your job to think that I am, feel free.
7. Oh, that is so interesting that you have something even tastier than chocolate in your underpants, yawn. (N.B.: I would like to be brave enough to say that, but I'm not that brave really. I normally just grimace and look at something else for a while. My best mate Cath soon takes care of them anyway. Or, occasionally, dates them.)
8. Yes, I will suggest your peanut/beer/vodka/jam-flavored chocolate idea, but I doubt we'll be as rich as you think.
9. Yes, I can make actual real chocolate, although at Braders Family Chocolates, they're all processed automatically in a huge vat and I'm more of a supervisor really. I wish I did more complex work, but according to the bosses, nobody wants their chocolates messed about with; they want them tasting exactly the same and lasting a long time. So it's quite a synthetic process.
10. No, it's not the best job in the world. But it's mine and I like it. Or at least I did, until I ended up in here.
Then I normally say, "Rum and coke, thanks for asking."
A man was sitting on the end of my bed. I couldn't focus on him. He knew my name but I didn't know his. That seemed unfair.
I tried to open my mouth. It was full of sand. Someone had put sand in my mouth. Why would anyone do that?
The voice came again. It was definitely real, and it was definitely connected to the shadow at the end of my bed.
"Can you hear me?"
Well, of course I can hear you. You're sitting on the end of my bed shouting at me was what I wanted to say, but all that came out was a kind of dry croak.
"That's great, that's great, very good. Would you like a drink of water?"
I nodded. It seemed easiest.
"Good, good. Don't nod too much; you'll dislodge the wires. NURSE!"
I don't know whether the nurse came or not, because I was suddenly gone again. My last conscious thought was that I hoped she or he didn't mind being yelled at by people who sat on other people's beds. And I couldn't remember: had my parents said something was wrong with my nose?
- - -
"Here she is."
It was the same voice, but how much later I couldn't tell. The light seemed different. A sudden shock of pain traveled through me like a lightning bolt and I gasped.
"There you go; she's going to be great."
"Oh, I don't like the look of this."
"Uhm...can I have that water?" I asked, but it came out like "Ca ha wa?"
Thankfully someone spoke desert sand, because instantly a plastic cup was put to my lips. That small cup of tepid chalky tap water was the single best thing I had ever put in my mouth in my entire life, and that includes the first time I tasted a crème egg.
I slurped it down and asked for another, but someone said no, and that was that. Maybe I was in prison.
"Can you open your eyes for us?" came the commanding voice.
"Course she can."
"Oh, Pete, I don't know. I just don't know."
Oddly, it was slightly to spite my mother's lack of ambition for me in the eye-opening department that really made me try. I flickered and suddenly hazing into view was the shape sitting on the end of my bed I'd been aware of before-I wished he'd stop that-and two shapes as familiar as my own hands.
I could make out my mother's reddish hair that she colored at home, even though my best mate Cath had offered to do it down at the salon for a price that she thought was next to nothing, but my mother thought that was extravagant and that Cath was loose (that last bit was true, though that had nothing to do with how good she was at hair, which admittedly also wasn't very), so about one week a month my mum had this kind of odd, henna-like fringe around the top of her forehead where she hadn't wiped it off properly. And my dad was in his best shirt, which really made me worry. He didn't dress like that for anything but weddings and funerals, and I was pretty much 100 percent sure I wasn't getting married, unless Darr had suddenly regenerated into a completely different physical and personality type, and I figured that unlikely.
"Hello?" I said, feeling a rush that somewhere, the desert sands were retreating, that the division between what was real and what was a writhing sandy ball of confusion and pain was retreating, that Anna was back, that the skin I was wearing was mine after all.
My mum burst into tears. My dad, not prone to huge outbursts of affection, gently squeezed my hand-the hand, I noticed, that didn't have a big tube going into it, right under the skin. My other hand did. It was the grossest thing I'd ever seen in my life.
"Ugh, gah," I said. "What's this? It's disgusting."
The figure at the end of my bed smiled in a rather patronizing way.
"I think you'd find things a lot more disgusting if it wasn't there," he said. "It's giving you painkillers and medication."
"Well, can I have some more?" I said. The lightning-sharp pain flashed through me again, from the toes of my left foot upward right through my body.
I suddenly became aware of other tubes on me, some going in and out of places I didn't really want to discuss in front of my dad. I went quiet. I felt really, really weird.
"Is your head spinning?" said the bed-sitter. "That's quite normal."
My mum was still sniffing.
"It's all right, mum."
What she said next chilled me to the bone.
"It's not all right, love. It's not all right at all."
- - -
Over the next few days, I seemed to fall asleep on and off and at completely random moments. Dr. Ed-yes, really, that's how he referred to himself-was my named specialist. Yeah, all right, I know he was a doctor and everything, tra la la, but you can be Ed or you can be, like, Dr. Smith or something. Anything else is just showing off, like you're a doctor on telly or something.
I think Dr. Ed would have LOVED to have been a doctor on the telly, looking at people who've got two bumholes and things. He was always very smartly turned out and did things like sit on the end of the bed, which other doctors didn't do, and look at you in the eye, like he was making a huge effort to be with you as a person. I think I preferred the snotty consultant who came around once a week, barely looked at me, and asked his medical students embarrassing questions.
Anyway, Dr. Ed shouldn't have been so chummy because it was kind of his fault that I was even there. I had slipped at the factory-everyone had gotten very excited wondering if there was some health and safety rule that hadn't been followed and we were all about to become millionaires, but actually as it turned out it was completely my fault. It was an unusually warm spring day and I'd decided to try out my new shoes, which turned out to be hilariously inappropriate for the factory floor, and I'd skidded and, in a total freak, hit a vat ladder and upended the entire thing. Then I'd come into the hospital and gotten sick.
"A bug tried to eat me?" I asked Dr. Ed.
"Well, yes, that's about right," he said, smiling to show overtly white teeth that he must have gotten whitened somewhere. Maybe he just liked to practice for going on television. "Not a big bug, Anna, like a spider."
"Spiders aren't bugs," I said crossly.
"Ha! No." He flicked his hair. "Well, these things are very, very tiny, so small you couldn't see a thousand of them even if they were sitting right here on my finger!!"
Perhaps there was something misprinted on my medical notes that said instead of being nearly thirty-one, I was in fact eight.
"I don't care what size they are," I said. "They make me feel like total crap."
"And that's why we're fighting them with every weapon we have!" said Dr. Ed, like he was Spider-Man or something. I didn't mention that if everyone had cleaned up with every mop they had, I probably wouldn't have caught it in the first place.
And anyway, oh Lord, I just felt so rough. I didn't feel like eating or drinking anything but water. (Dad brought me some marshmallows and Mum practically whacked him because she was 100 percent certain they'd get trapped in my throat and I'd totally die right there in front of him.) I slept a lot, and when I wasn't sleeping, I didn't feel well enough to watch the telly or read or speak to people on the phone or anything. I had a lot of messages on Facebook, according to my phone, which someone-Cath, I was guessing-had plugged in beside my bed, but I wasn't really fussed to read any of them.
I felt different, as if I'd woken up foreign, or in a strange land where nobody spoke my language-not Mum, not Dad, not my friends. They didn't speak the language of strange hazy days where nothing made much sense, or constant aching, or the idea of moving being too difficult to contemplate, even moving an arm across a bed. The country of the sick seemed a very different place, where you were fed and moved and everyone spoke to you like a child and you were always, always hot.
- - -
I dozed off again and heard a noise. Something familiar, I was sure of it, but I couldn't tell from when. I was at school. School figured a lot in my fever dreams. I had hated it. Mum had always said she wasn't academic so I wouldn't be either, and that had pretty much sealed the deal, which in retrospect seems absolutely stupid. So for ages when I hallucinated my old teachers' faces in front of me, I didn't take it too seriously. Then one day I woke up very early, when the hospital was still cool and as quiet as it ever got, which wasn't very, and I turned my head carefully to the side, and there, just in the next bed, not a dream or a hallucination, was Mrs. Shawcourt, my old French teacher, gazing at me calmly.
I blinked in case she would go away. She didn't.
It was a small four-bed side ward I'd been put on, a few days or a couple of weeks earlier-it was hard to tell precisely-which seemed a bit strange; either I was infectious or I wasn't, surely. The other two beds were empty and over the days to come had a fairly speedy turnover of extremely old ladies who didn't seem to do much but cry.
"Hello," she said. "I know you, don't I?"
I suddenly felt a flush, like I hadn't done my homework.
I had never done my homework. Me and Cath used to bunk off-French, it was totally useless, who could possibly need that?-and go sit around the back field where the teachers couldn't see you and speak with fake Mancunian accents about how crap Kidinsborough was and how we were going to leave the first chance we got.
"I had you for two years."
I peered at her more closely. She'd always stood out in the school; she was by far the best dressed teacher, since most of them were a right bunch of slobs. She used to wear these really nicely fitted dresses that made her look a bit different. You could tell she hadn't gotten them down at Matalan. She'd had blond hair then...
I realized with a bit of a shock that now she didn't have any hair at all. She was very thin, but then she always had been thin, but now she was really, really thin.
I said the stupidest thing I could think of-in my defense, I really wasn't well.
"Are you sick then?"
"No," said Mrs. Shawcourt. "I'm on holiday."
There was a pause, then I grinned. I remembered that, actually, she was a really good teacher.
"I'm sorry to hear about your toes," she said briskly.
I glanced down at the bandage covering my right foot.
"Ah, they'll be all right, just had a bit of a fall," I said. Then I saw her face. And I realized that all the time people had been talking about my fever and my illness and my accident, nobody had actually thought to tell me the whole truth.
- - -
It couldn't be though. I could feel them.
I stared at her, and she unblinkingly held my gaze.
"I can feel them," I said.
"I can't believe nobody told you," she said. "Bloody hospitals. My darling, I heard them discuss it."
I stared at the bandage again. I wanted to be sick. Then I was sick, in a big cardboard bedpan they left a supply of by the side of my bed, for every time I wanted to be sick.
- - -
Dr. Ed came by later and sat on my bed. I scowled at him.
"Now"-he checked his notes-"Anna, I'm sorry you weren't aware of the full gravity of the situation."
"Because you kept talking about ‘accidents' and ‘regrettable incidents,'" I said crossly. "I didn't realize they'd gone altogether. AND I can feel them. They really hurt."
"That's quite common, I'm afraid."
"Why didn't anyone tell me? Everyone kept banging on about fever and bugs and things."
"Well, that's what we were worried about. Losing a couple of toes was a lot less likely to kill you."
"Well, that's good to know. And it's not ‘a couple of toes.' It's MY TOES."
As we spoke, a nurse was gently unwrapping the bandages from my foot. I gulped, worried I was going to throw up again.
Did you ever play that game at school where you lie on your front with your eyes closed and someone pulls your arms taut above your head, then very slowly lowers them so it feels like your arms are going down a hole?
That was what this was like. My brain couldn't compute what it was seeing, what it could feel and knew to be true. My toes were there. They were there. But in front of my eyes was a curious diagonal slicing; two tiny stumps taken off in a descending line, very sharp, like it had been done on purpose with a razor.
"Now," Dr. Ed was saying, "you know you are actually very lucky, because if you'd lost your big toe or your little one, you'd have had real problems with balance..."
I looked at him like he had horns growing out of his head.
"I absolutely and definitely do not feel lucky," I said.
"Try being me," came a voice from behind the next curtain, where Mrs. Shawcourt was awaiting her next round of chemotherapy.
Suddenly, without warning, we both started to laugh.
- - -
I was in the hospital for another three weeks. Loads of my mates came by and said I'd been in the paper and could they have a look (no, even when I got my dressing changed, I couldn't bear to look at them), and keeping me up to date on social events that, suddenly, I really found I'd lost interest in. In fact, the only person I could talk to was Mrs. Shawcourt, except of course she told me to call her Claire, which took a bit of getting used to and made me feel a bit too grown-up. She had two sons who came to visit, who always looked a bit pushed for time, and her daughters-in-law, who were dead nice and used to give me their gossip mags because Claire couldn't be bothered with them. Once they brought some little girls in, both of whom got completely freaked out by the wires and the smell and the beeping. It was the only time I saw Claire really, truly sad.
The rest of the time, we talked. Well, I talked. Mostly about how bored I was and how was I ever going to learn to walk properly again. (Physio was rubbish. For two things I had NEVER, ever thought about, except when I was getting a pedicure and not really even then, my toes were annoyingly useful when it came to getting about. Even more embarrassing, I had to use the same physio lab as people who had really horrible traumatic injuries and were in wheelchairs and stuff, and I felt the most horrendous fraud marching up and down parallel bars with an injury most people thought was quite amusing, if anything. So I could hardly complain. I did though.)
Claire understood. She was such easy company, and sometimes, when she was very ill, I'd read to her. Most of her books, though, were in French.
"I can't read this," I said.
"You ought to be able to," she said. "You had me."
"Yeah, kind of," I muttered.
"You were a good student," said Claire. "You showed a real aptitude, I remember."
Suddenly I flashed back on my first-year report card. In amid the "doesn't apply herselfs" and "could do betters," I suddenly remembered my French mark had been good. Why hadn't I applied myself?
"I don't know," I said. "I thought school was stupid."
Claire shook her head. "But I've met your parents; they're lovely. You're from such a nice family."
"You don't have to live with them," I said, then felt guilty that I'd been mean about them. They'd been in every single day even if, as Dad complained almost constantly, the parking charges were appalling.
"You still live at home?" she asked, surprised, and I felt a bit defensive.
"Neh. I lived with my boyfriend for a bit, but he turned out to be a pillock, so I moved back in, that's all."
"I see," said Claire. She looked at her watch. It was only 9:30 in the morning. We'd already been up for three hours and lunch wasn't till 12:00.
"If you like," she said, "I'm bored too. If I taught you some French, you could read to me. And I would feel less like a big, sick, bored bald plum who does nothing but dwell on the past and feel old and stupid and useless. Would you like that?"
I looked down at the magazine I was holding, which had an enormous picture of Kim Kardashian's arse on it. And she had ten toes.
"Yeah, all right," I said.
- - -
"It's nothing," the man was saying, speaking to be heard over the stiff sea breeze and the honking of the ferries and the rattle of the trains. "It is a tiny...look, la manche. You can swim it. We won't."
This did nothing to stem the tide of tears rolling down the girl's cheeks.
"I would," she said. "I will swim it for you."
"You," he said, "will go back and finish school and do wonderful things and be happy."
"I don't want to," she groaned. "I want to stay here with you."
The man grimaced and attempted to stop her tears with kisses. They were dripping on his new, oddly shiny uniform.
"Well, they will make me march up and down like an ape, you see. And I will be an idiot with nothing else to do and nothing else to think about except for you. Shhh, boutchou. Shhh. We will be together again, you see."
"I love you," said the girl. "I will never love anyone so much my entire life."
"I love you too," said the man. "I care for you and I love you and I shall see you again and I shall write you letters and you shall finish school and you shall see, all will be well."
The girl's sobs started to quiet.
"I can't...I can't bear it," she said.
"Ah, love," said the man, his accent strong. "That is what it is, the need to bear things."
He buried his face in her hair.
"Alors. My love. Come back. Soon."
"I will," said the girl. "Of course I will come back soon."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan was a nice story. Anna Trent, injured while at work at a chocolate factory, wakes up in the hospital to discover she has lost more than she thought. But while in the hospital she is reunited with Claire, the French teacher she had years ago. The two form a great friendship during their stay in the hospital. Claire’s story is told in an alternate storyline usually at the end of each chapter. Claire had a great love, Thierry, who is also a chocolatier, one of the greatest in Paris. When Anna goes to work for him, she meets his son, Laurent. This story was a different story than I’m used to from Jenny Colgan. Usually, the protagonist builds her small business after losing her job, affects the community around her, and finds love. In this story, while Anna has lost her job, she goes to work for Thierry, and while she does find love, she doesn’t really affect the community at all. I enjoyed this book; Jenny Colgan is a favorite author of mine. However, it was not my favorite of hers. Thank you to the publisher for a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review. #netgalley #theloveliestchocolateshopinparis
I'm used to Jenny Colgan's light and humorous books, and this one has surprised me from the start with two well-suffering dramas. As I like her stories, I ventured out anyway, because I have finished reading two tragedies and my heart has not yet fully recovered. Two exciting love stories alternating a love of the past and a love of the present. Two women who reveal themselves, who find themselves strong. But what I felt most strongly was the message of resilience and forgiveness. It's been a while since I've had such a tightness in my chest that I have to stop reading so I can breathe a little. One of the most beautiful endings I've ever read, even though I want something different. I found the scenes involving Paris beautiful and the scenes involving the chocolate delicious.
I really enjoyed the book, a fun, easy read for when you don't want think too much :o)
This story transported me to a lovely time.
Thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you are looking for unexpected plot twists that hit you out of nowhere, this book won’t be your cup of tea. BUT, if you’re looking for a book you can snuggle up with that will whisk you away to the beautiful city of Paris for friendship, self-realization, and (of course) romance, then you don’t want to miss this one! If you’re already a Jenny Colgan fan, you won’t be disappointed. If this is your first Jenny Colgan book and you’re looking for a book that is a warmly-written contemporary, you’ll be glad you gave it a try.
Anna has had a terrible accident at work. She shares her hospital room with her old French teacher from school. They develop a unique friendship. This leads Anna to a new job at a fancy chocolatier shop in Paris. Anna is a little bit of a scaredy-cat. There were times I wanted to shove her in the right direction. Luckily Claire, her French teacher, knows just what buttons to push to get Anna out the door. I enjoyed the characters in this read, especially Anna’s flat mate, Sami. He is a hoot. Then there is Anna’s love interest, Laurent. I had a love/hate relationship with him. And of course, there is Claire. You just must read this book to find out! This is a very sweet read, pun intended. It is a bit wordy in places but the characters are amazing. And, of course, who can forget about the location! PARIS! And don’t forget the recipes! Yes! Wonderful chocolate recipes!
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris tells the story of Anna Trent who lives in a small town in the UK. After suffering a tragic accident in the local chocolate factory where she works, Anna receives the opportunity to travel to Paris and work in the world famous Le Chapeau de Chocolat run by well renowned chef Thierry Girard. The kicker is, Anna’s travel arrangements were made by her old French teacher, Mrs. Claire Shawcourt, who lived in Paris one fateful summer of her youth and fell in love with a young Chocolate maker just opening up his shop. Claire, who is terminally ill, would give anything to return and see her first love one last time. I loved this book! The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is so much more than the synopsis lets on. I loved how it is told in multiple time periods and view points. I feel like this makes it a fairly quick and engaging read. Everything about this book screams romance from the romantic location of Paris, Claire and Thierry’s love story, and Anna’s personal quest to find love and live with confidence after her accident. The only I thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending. Yes, as a reader you know what’s coming, but it was so abrupt, and not really realistic at all. It ends suddenly and then the book just goes right into the epilogue. Overall though, I would strongly recommend this book, and I look forward to reading more by Jenny Colgan.
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan is a beautifully written, tender love story that intertwines two women, Anna, who has her whole life ahead of her, and Claire, whose life is ending. It is the story of deep love, regret, and strength. But it is also very funny and expertly written with scenes of Paris which makes the city come to life in the reader's mind. Anna Trent worked in a chocolate factory in England. She thought this is where she would be for the rest of her life. After a serious work accident which lands her in the hospital, she finds to her surprise her roommate is none other than her childhood French teacher Claire. As they become friends, they begin to share their life stories. Both are filled with much love and much sorrow. Claire sees herself in Anna and wants to help her experience both true life and true love. Anna on the other hand just feels as if her life is over. Claire is able to get Anna a job at the premiere Paris chocolate shop. Anna begins her journey both excited and terrified. As she begins to acclimate to both the French, the cast of characters at the shop, as well as her hilarious roommate who forces her into the adventures of a lifetime, she begins to come out of her shell. She reluctantly at first begins to live. What develops are two beautiful love stories which at times are mirror images of each of the women. The story is told by both Anna and Claire, and with Claire giving us flashbacks throughout her long life, we are able to see the similarities in both of them and also the regrets which Claire has and is desperately trying to help her friend avoid. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is a wonderful funny story with the richness and excitement of falling in love. There are lessons to be learned for both the characters as well as the readers. Especially in the City of Love and especially in a chocolate shop!
Lighthearted fun with a touch of romance, set mostly in Paris and with frequent references (and recipes) with chocolate: it is hard to go wrong! Jenny Colgan introduces us to Anna, a supervisor in a chocolate factory in England. When she has an accident and loses two toes, she finds her roommate at the hospital is her French Teacher Claire. When Claire uses her influence to give Anna a chance at a change in scenery and a new opportunity, the story really takes hold and thrusts the reader into Paris and the kitchen of a famous chocolatier. Thierry is a master chocolatier and his shop, Le Chapeau Chocolat is a favorite of many. He also found his muse in Claire and her reminiscences run through the story to correlate Anna’s journey and discoveries, to the moments that informed her own life. What emerges is a lovely story that brings a woman, perhaps squandering her potential in favor of security and the known and by adjusting her living situation, she learns to find the potential in herself. She is faced with several challenges in her new city, but rather than allowing them to defeat her, she is enchanted by the differences, and finds potential and reconnects with her own dreams, long dormant. Clearly the correlation of Claire’s relationship with Thierry and Anna’s to his son bring a touch of romance and fancy to the whole story: as one is losing a dream, others are gaining one. First person narration from Anna, and the third person reminiscences and reflections from Claire provide lovely description, feel and definition to the city and the story. Seeing Paris through Anna’s eyes is a lovely technique, bringing areas and elements of the city to light that perhaps are missed, or unseen by those more familiar. Also, the story is liberally peppered with hints and tips for handling chocolate, as well as some recipes for home-crafted treats – who can resist good chocolate? Quick reading, fun and funny with a light touch of romance, this is a lovely story. I enjoyed this second (ok - probably fifth) re-read of the title as much as the first. And, it is Paris after all. I received an eGalley copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anna, from a small, rather dull village in Britain, has just been in the hospital. There, she encounters a former teacher, Claire, who helps her get a job in Paris. Anna is later able to return Claire's kindness in an unexpected way. The book alternates chapters between Claire's summer in Paris 40 years ago and Anna's current experiences, and we get a feel for how living in Paris changes these two young English women. There are recipes at the end, and I confess that I did feel like eating chocolate as I read. Sometimes you want to read a well-written book with likable characters, a beautiful setting, and a happily ever ending--nothing too unpleasant or stressful, just pure enjoyment. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris fits the bill perfectly.
This book will be published in the summer and is a welcome re-issue of a title by Jenny Colgan. This author's novels are always involving and heart warming. In this one, Anna (who works in the chocolate industry in England) suffers a freak accident. While recuperating, she reconnects with her old French teacher, Claire. Claire encourages Anna to go to Paris where Anna takes a position in a very different chocolate business. Anna's ups and downs form part of the story. The other and equally engaging story is Claire's. The reader learns about the choices she made when younger and her feelings about them. Jenny Colgan writes novels that tug at the heart strings and leave readers feeling satisfied. That is certainly the case in this novel. Many thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for a lovely time in Paris. All opinions are my own.
A moving tale of two British women who find love inParis I must admit, it took me a good part of the book to get into this story told alternately in present day and in flashbacks to a magical summer in 1972. Claire's story is bittersweet; Anna's begins with sadness and depression but ends in a joyous atmosphere of good friends well met and accomplishment. I was more drawn to Claire's story, but both provide scintillating glimpses into a Parisian life and aesthetic that few foreigners ever experience. It seemed that one woman's life was just getting interesting when it switched to the other until closer to the conclusion when their tales converged. The chocolate-making, described in aching detail as a central activity in both Claire and Anna's story, was a bit too down in the weeds for me. I hungered for the romantic bits and would rather experience the tasting over the laborious creative process. This was not my favorite Jenny Colgan effort but the ending was truly touching and both women's journeys , with such different outcomes, lovingly depicted by a skilled writer. I read a complimentary advance copy of the book provided by the publisher through NetGalley; this is my voluntary and honest review.
Although Anna seems to be the main character, it feels more like it's Claire's "what might have been". Their stories are written parallel until it is time for the older, ill Claire to reconnect with the man she never forgot in the city no one can ever forget. Anna escapes herself in Paris with Claire's help after learning what it is like to have a disability that few can see. Written with sensitivity and understanding. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley.
Anna is a chocolate factory worker in England who suffers an accident and experiences a prolonged hospital stay as a result. Her hospital roommate is her former French teacher Claire who is herself very ill. Claire offers Anna an opportunity to work with a famous chocolate maker in Paris, and needing to make changes in her life, Anna begins a life in Paris. I found this story to be extremely endearing. The overlay of the Anna’s life in Paris, along with Claire’s memories of living in Paris, was written with tenderness typical of Jenny Colgan. I enjoyed the descriptions of the food and chocolate, as well as the narrative about several Paris locations. A really sweet story. I look forward to reading more Jenny Colgan books in the future. Please note: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review which I have provided here.
This book has two of my favorite things, chocolate and Paris, in the title, so I knew I had to read it. The first two thirds of the story focuses on Claire's story in 1972 and Anna's story in modern times. Then the final third is Anna and Claire together. Claire was Anna's French teacher in high school. They reconnect in the hospital. While they are patients, Claire gives Anna French lessons and then later gets her a temporary job and a place to stay in Paris. Claire wants Anna to get out of the small town in England that they are from and have an adventure of a lifetime. We have two romances in one novel. The flipping back and forth in time was handled very well as the stories were clearly marked. I loved the characters. I loved seeing Anna go from being depressed over losing two of her toes in an accident at the chocolate factory to becoming more confident while she developed a life for herself in Paris away from the small town she was born and raised in. Sami, Anna's Paris roommate, stole the scenes that he was in, because he was just so full of life. I enjoyed both Anna and Claire's stories. This story will make you laugh and cry. It also makes me want to learn French and book a flight to Paris. There are several chocolate recipes at the end of the book. All look amazing. If you like Sophie Kinsella's books, you will like this story. This is only the 2nd Jenny Colgan novel that I have read and it won't be the last. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Anna moves to Paris after she gets a settlement from an accident. she met her old French teacher again while she was in hospital and she arranged for a job there for her with a man she used to know. Anna loves the work and saves to bring her teacher over to see the man she used to love before she dies. I found this to be a heartwarmning story with a good storyline. The author even included recipes at the end of the book. It does have a sad ending though but is worth reading. Great characters and discriptions of Paris.
Although Anna seems to be the main character, it feels more like it's Claire's "what might have been". Their stories are written parallel until it is time for the older, ill Claire to reconnect with the man she never forgot in the city no one can ever forget. Anna escapes herself in Paris with Claire's help after learning what it is like to have a disability that few can see. Written with sensitivity and understanding.
Anna worked at a boring mass-produced chocolate factory in a small English town, until a freak accident left her missing two of her toes, and her self-esteem. Feeling sorry for herself and bored, she rekindled a friendship with her old French teacher, who is also at the hospital, for chemo. Her weary teacher begins to tutor Anna again, and after a little while, even finds Anna a job in the most prestigious chocolate shop in Paris, and the only one that still makes everything fresh, by hand, daily. But the owner of the shop is more than just an old friend to the French teacher, Claire. He was her first love, which she gave up long ago. And working at the shop is much harder than Anna had anticipated, especially under the mean English expat co-owner, and living at the top a daunting number of stairs with a flamboyantly confident roommate addicted to the local night life. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is hilarious, snarky, tragic, and a wonderful feel-good romantic comedy about yearning, striving for perfection, and mouth-watering chocolate. A wonderful book any time of year. For discussion questions, a list of similar books, and a recipe for Molten Chocolate Cupcakes with Double Chocolate Frosting, visit http://hub.me/amqJM
I loved this book. It was funny, heartwarming and delicious!
I fell in love with the characters; and in the times where I had to put the book down, I found myself wondering what would happen next and couldn't wait to pick it up again! A great light read, engaging, and heart-warming!
Whats better than a book about Paris, chocolate and falling in love? I laughed and i cried. Great read.
This is a heartwarming love story in a beautiful setting well worth reading! The characters are very likable people in true to life situations.