Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book review: Paris Cravings by Kimberley Montpetit

Can life really turn on a dime,
a missed bus—
or a stuck pastry shop door?

Chloe Dillard’s life has always been complicated. Her mother is a neurotic romance novelist and her boyfriend, Mathew, has been pressuring her to go “all the way”—even as one of her own best friends offers to accommodate him.

But after The Worst Night of Her Life, Chloe escapes on her Senior Class trip to the swoon-worthy city of Paris which takes her mind off her troubles—temporarily. On the final leg of her dream trip, Chloe squeezes in one final run for a last-minute box of decadent pastries. Add a stuck door, subtract a broken four-inch heel from her cute strappy sandals, and Chloe ends up one stuck girl on the bakery shop floor with a sprained ankle.

Rescued by the shop owner’s dreamy son with chocolate-syrup eyes, the beautiful city of Paris suddenly becomes Chloe’s personal secret adventure. And even though Jean-Paul, the oh-so-kind La Patisserie shop boy is the gentlemanly guy Chloe has always dreamed of, even he has a girlfriend.

The police are tracking her down as a run-away, Mom’s having a nervous breakdown over her daughter’s “disappearance”, and Chloe’s just trying to have a Happily-Ever-After even as her dreams with Matt are swirling down the drain.

Could being lost in the city of Paris be just what the doctor ordered? What’s a girl to do in the most romantic city in the world?

NOTE: I received the novel in exchange for my honest review.

I was hooked on this novel right away. When i started reading and all the French pastries were being described, I felt in awe and in total envy. I think I'm as much a fan of pastries as Clare, although I don't think I'd miss my tour bus just to put my gluttonous thoughts at rest.

Anyway, i was actually expecting a bunch of pastry recipes in the back of the book, but was very disappointed when I found none. Pray tell, why would you tempt a person when you can't provide a recipe, eh?

Writing style:
It was told in an engaging, first person POV, with a fresh narrating voice. The research is obvious in Paris lifestyle, tourist hangouts and French pastry cuisine. I liked how each chapter had before and after parts, where Claire got to explain what had happened before her trip to Paris, and what was happening at the moment.

Story line:
Romantic and quite simple, it grabs the attention quite easily. But there is one drawback that I can't not mention. It reminded me way too much of Anna and the French Kiss. Sure, it isn't the same story, and all the Parisian references couldn't be helped... But the boy drama? The dropped girlfriend? The cheating boyfriend? The sudden attraction and jealousy? I really couldn't help comparing it to Anna's story.

Themes:
-Being stranded alone in a foreign country
-Trusting total strangers-when could it be a wise thing to do?
-Love at first sight/long distance relationships. (btw, how could a relationship be labeled 'long distance' when one party has gone on a vacation for a week?)
-Coincidences-do the really happen and how to make the most of them

Characters:
Jean-Paul was just a random French guy, whose family owns a Patiserie (pastry shop). He's kind and I guess we could call him a gentleman as he always seems to be helping Claire. I liked his determination to figure out his dream and to follow it. I felt sad because of the loss he had indured and was amazed at his will to live life with full force, but also being smart about it.

Claire was a reckless American girl, who was sent to spend a week in France. Yet, instead of enjoying all tourist attractions, she seemed to have a heart and mind for one thing only - and I'm not talking boys here. I'm talking French pastries. Being a beginner chef herself, Claire was dying to taste every pastry she could buy at the Patiserie. Then her little accident happened and voila - she is suddenly given the chance to indulge in pastries. And not only that, she actually finds her heart fluttering in the direction of a cute French boy.

In Conclusion:
When mother America calls, what will Claire do? Can she leave the enchanted French world in the past and return to a very much uncertain home and boyfriend situations?

My rating is: