At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.
But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.
Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.
What I Thought:
In my experience, what tends to happen in novels that are based in two time periods, is that the ‘modern’ period is contemporary, but in Laura Madeleine’s novels, the ‘modern’ section is still historical for us – in this case, it’s 1988. This works really well, as there is still the mystery of a person many years later trying to figure out how many pieces of a puzzle relate to one another, while still being a truly historical novel. Plus, I’m sure that in the modern age of mobile phones and the internet everywhere, the slow unravelling of the early 20th Century portion would resolve far too quickly!
Alongside the mystery being resolved, and the romantic tone of the story, I’ve found in both Laura Madeleine’s books a real reverence for the food. There are such sumptuous descriptions of the fare coming out of the Patisserie Clermont, and the book is positively alive with delicious sights and smells. If you look at Laura Madeleine’s blog, you’ll find a great many recipes there, shared with the same enthusiasm.
I really enjoyed this book, and Laura Madeleine’s writing style. It was easy to root for love to find a way for the young couple and the book resolved in a heartwarming way. I’ll definitely be grabbing Laura Madeleine’s latest two novels – in fact, I think I already have one of them!
The Confectioner’s Tale is published by Black Swan.
To find out more about Laura Madeleine and her work, you can take a look at her blog, linked above, or why not catch up with her on Twitter?
Please note: I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley. All opinions are, as ever, my own.