The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris - Jenny Colgan

No prizes for guessing why I picked up this novel! Romance + chocolate + Parisian backdrop sounds like a recipe for a good love story to me.

I very much like the book’s setting, and think the author encapsulates the Parisian well - though I’d have loved more description of this most romantic of settings, and perhaps a little more exploration of French characters beyond the stereotypical brusque ones.

The chocolatier element of the plot is delightful - really evocative and fascinating, and I confess I found myself craving a sliver of fine chocolate several times during the reading! I love the inclusion of recipes at the back, and will be sure to try out one or two.

One of my favourite elements of the book is the way the author blends together two stories - those of modern-day Anna and of Claire when she was young. I especially engaged with Claire’s love story; she’s a very likeable character, even if she frustrates us a little for having waiting so long to fight for love.

I love the character of Anna’s roommate - exhibitionist, eccentric, very ‘Moulin Rouge’; just what a sad and lonely girl who’s new to Paris needs to thrust her into the thick of life.

This is a romance novel, but different in the sense that it deals with some serious issues, and the undercurrent of the book is far from light and fluffy, but really quite dark and thought-provoking. Not a book to pick up for romantic light relief, but one to read if you like grande tragédie and love grounded firmly in reality. And Paris!