Reviews: The Paris Secret + The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux

pub 9/15/20 by Forever
Adult - Historical Fiction
Received e-ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars | I've read three books by Natasha Lester now and while it's pretty clear that her Paris books follow a certain formula, I am 100% here for it. Her novels always have multiple eras to follow and tend to be on the heavier side, but the stories are just so moving and The Paris Secret was no exception. There are three timelines to follow. In 1939 England, we meet the incredibly different Penrose sisters. Skye is a daring pilot determined to be a part of the war effort. It allows her to reunite with her childhood friend, Nicholas, as well as meet other women joining the cause. On the other hand, her sister Liberty, seems to find every possible way to antagonize Skye. Jumping ahead to 1947 Paris, there's a side story with Christian Dior (!) post war which involves his sister Catherine who became with friends with Skye through the French Resistance. And lastly, there's the present day story about fashion conservator, Kat Jordan, whose discovery of a collection of priceless Dior gowns in grandmother's vacant cottage leads to questions about their origin and more importantly, her heritage. Skye and Kat were the two main heroines and while I was certainly the most invested in their stories, everyone in the book is fascinating on some level. It's such a dangerous time and each person we meet is fighting this fight for reasons we come to learn about and carry deep burdens on their shoulders. There's complicated families, friendships, and romances set against the consequences of this terrible war. I was so stricken by some of the details that I found myself googling to weed out the fact from fiction (note: Lester incorporates a lot of well-researched facts!). I'll admit, the book was a bit slow going at first, but these characters wormed their way into my emotions almost without me realizing until I hit the last page and found myself in tears.

Do I recommend?
Absolutely! It's three for three with Natasha Lester and I can't wait to read whatever she releases next.  

pub 9/8/2020 by Berkley
Adult - Women's Fiction
Received e-ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a sucker for any book involving Paris and The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux sounded like it would be right up my alley. Sophie Valroux is a French-born American chef who dreams of one day running a Michelin-starred restaurant. When she's sabotaged by a fellow chef and her career seemingly over, she also finds out that her grandmother, the woman who taught her how to cook, has suffered a stroke. She immediately flies out to Paris and discovers that her grandmother's old home has expanded to become a beautiful château, complete with two restaurants, that she's successfully founded and runs. It's quite a shock to Sophie, especially as her grandmother expects her to help cook in her absence, which is where the fun begins. The best thing about this book is the food. The author spares no detail when it comes to describing the elaborate meals Sophie creates. Her passion for food and how it brings people together was so beautifully expressed. That and Sophie's relationship with her grandmother were certainly the highlights for me. But it's not just about the cooking. This unexpected opportunity gives Sophie the chance to reconnect with her roots and old friends, make new friends, and find the confidence within herself to move forward. It does take a while for Sophie to start making those strides which did make the first half of the book feel slow but once she hits the ground running, so does the story. 

Do I recommend?
 | If you want to crave all the French food (and read a good book!), I would definitely recommend this. 

1 comment

  1. Yay for more Paris books! I promise I will read at least one Natasha Lester book before 2021 ends.


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