Genre: Fiction / Contemporary Romance / Cultural – France
Published Date: 09 December 2018
Date Finished: 08 January 2019
Meet Ella, on the brink of turning 30 and full of regret for a life only half lived.
In a haze of heartbreak after splitting up with the man she thought she was going to marry, she makes the only decision that seems rational and buys a one-way ticket to Paris, embarking on a pilgrimage of food, wine, and joie de vivre.
After arriving, Ella struggles to grasp the nuances of French manners and friendship. She soon finds herself caught between two men who inhabit opposite ends of the Paris food scene, getting wined and dined by one, and inadvertently making a bet to try every type of French fromage with the other.
As the seasons change, Ella realizes that there’s more to life in France than champagne and cheese. At some point the Eiffel Tower stops sparkling and she needs to decide where her heart truly lies.
I think that any book/story about Paris will always catch my attention and if it’s a book in a store, I’m gonna pick it up & give it a read just to see if it’s worth my time and money. The exact thing happened here when I bought this book (only that I got it online) and here are the reasons why I’m giving it 3 STARS…
…the idea of moving to a different city, starting anew; finding yourself & building new relationships – these are the things that happened to Ella’s life after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. Kaya importante talaga ang may ipon, besh. Look at them! Hahanapin lang ang sarili, gora agad sa Europe! Pak! Ganern!
Eh, samantalang tayo, walwalan lang tayo, besh! Isang bucket lang ng SanMig or malaking bote ng malamig na Red Horse + Sizzling Sisig + saksak-puso/laslas-pulso songs from your videoke playlist at magtatawag ka lang ng friends mong keribels makinig sa paghagulgol mo at pag-curse sa ex mong kalahi ni Satan, basta libre mo lahat, nakakamove one ka naman without leaving the city! Pero sila, ibaaaaaa!
Anyway, going back to the book…yes, the plot was predictable but I love that I learned things about cheeses while reading the book. The author knows her stuff and who knew there are more kinds of cheese than the number of days in a year?! I like how Ella described the taste & texture of the fromage or cheeses that she tried. It makes you want to eat them too while reading the book!
But then I find some parts of the book were hurried or rather underdeveloped.
The Rich Mother & Son
For example, the part when Ella lived together with the mother & son in a posh apartment & the son was stalking her. I felt a bit disconnected, really. Like…okay…? The background story on that part was blurry & weird at the same time,
Menage Á Trois
Another one was when Gaston spanked her for a couple of times & she found it weird & ALREADY had a hint that something wrong is going on…The thing is, as a reader, I wasn’t convinced on the back story that the author laid in order to show that an affair is going between Camille & Gaston. Sure, Camille is a gorgeous threat but her backstory was weak.
Serge a.k.a Mr. Cheeseman
So this guy has been there since her first few days in Paris and Mr. Cheeseman was obviously into her but Ella ignored it even though everyone was saying that he’s got eyes on her. She chose Gaston over Serge but after they broke up she suddenly realised that she loved Serge?? Okay…whoa! Then she went all romantic & confessed her love to Mr. Cheeseman?? Isn’t that too soon?
What I’m trying to say here is that I felt that the development of Serge & Ella’s love story was cut short. They had one date and that’s it! No getting-to-know-each-other or any meaningful conversation that didn’t involve cheese. She’s just her cheese man! Because that’s all he is, really.
In my opinion, the author failed to establish a relatable & convincing way to show the budding romantic relationship between the two characters. Unfortunately, I can’t recall a moment when I felt the kilig.
This the author’s first novel and obviously, there are rooms for improvement. The chapters of this book are short so it’s good for a quick read, ‘tho I didn’t find myself too indulged to finish it right away. Also, I find the story to have similarities with the Paris Letters by Janice Macleod. I guess it’s also the reason why I have such high standards for stories like these. I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
About the Author
Victoria Brownlee is an Australian-born food writer. She’s spent the best part of the last decade eating her way around the world, including a two-year stint in China where she was the Food & Drink Editor at Time Out Shanghai. In 2016, she traded dumplings for cheese, and is now settled in Paris with her husband and daughter. She has an MA (Publishing and Communications) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. ‘Fromage à Trois’ / ‘Escape to the Paris Cheese Shop’ is her first novel
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