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Mini Reviews: Battle of Historical Fiction



Blurb from Goodreads:
What secrets are hiding in the heart of Paris?

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.

Take a moment to savour an evocative, bittersweet love story that echoes through the decades – perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop.
My Review:
 
I was really looking forward to this one -- I mean: Paris, a love affair and chocolate?!  I couldn't ask for more. Sadly, the execution of this one resulted in something more boring than romantic.  This is told intercalary between Paris in 1909-1910 and Cambridge, UK in 1988. Graduate student, and granddaughter of a famous author, Petra finds her grandfather's affects include a picture from Paris in 1909 with handwritten note.  She decides to discover the history of this note. So throughout the book, we are lead to believe that her grandfather has done something absolutely awful.  Once Petra actually solved the mystery, it was such a let-down and so not something to spend your life worrying about. This one just missed the mark -- I didn't think the 1909 story was romantic or charming and the 1988 story of solving the mystery was also boring. I would definitely skip this one. The Confectioner's Tale comes out in the U.S. todaySeptember 20, 2016.
A cloud of white swirled high into the air on his left, as a chef measured out sugar as fine was powder. It drifted towards Gui and he breathed in deeply, tasting it in his lungs.   
There were a thousand noises: spoons clattering, liquid being poured in glugs, a deep unctuous bubbling from the stove.  Heat blasted him in a roar as someone opened an oven.  it carried the glorious smell of fresh baking.   
Gui's mouth was watering as he tripped forward, trying to look at everything at once. Mahogany shelves lined the counters, stacked with glass bottles and jar, like something from a fairy tale.  There were whole, plump roses steeping in honey; purple-stained sugar, thick with lavender, tiny jars of crimson threads, cherries and peaches suspended in syrup as if they had fallen there form the trees.   
The luxurious scents wrapped around him. Butter, his nose relayed, cream, nuts, brandy chocolate . . . 


Blurb from Goodreads:
The only thing harder than losing home is trying to find it again.

Cambridge, 1963. Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, cannot face the thought of another English winter. A brochure slipped through the mailbox gives him the answer: “Australia brings out the best in you.”

Charlotte is too worn out to resist, and before she knows it they are travelling to the other side of the world. But upon their arrival in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on the couple and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte barely recognizes herself in this place where she is no longer a promising young artist, but instead a lonely housewife, venturing into the murky waters of infidelity. Henry, an Anglo-Indian, is slowly ostracized at the university where he teaches poetry. Subtle at first, it soon invades his entire sense of identity.

Trapped by nostalgia, Charlotte and Henry are both left wondering if there is anywhere in this world they truly belong. Which of them will make the attempt to find out? Who will succeed?
This was a classic case of "It's not you, it's me."  The beginning of this was so depressing (there was a lot of damp and cold and madness and babies getting sick and just everyday misery and drudgery being trapped in a tiny house caring for children) that I didn't want to continue.  Perhaps this ended up being really amazing and lovely but the tone the author set did not compel to want to read more.  I literally had to read something happy after this to even shake the funk that this put me in!  If the premise appeals to you, this may be a really great read for you; for my mood, it just didn't work. The Other Side of the World comes out in the U.S. today, September 20, 2016.

Comments

  1. These both kind of sucked, didn't they? I'm sorry! It's depressing when you hit a bad run of books!

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  2. Sorry these didn't work out for you - especially the first one because Paris and chocolates!!

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  3. Sorry these both didn't work out for you, so sad when that happens, especially if you are excited to start them.

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  4. Oh no! They both have pretty covers! And Paris and chocolate?! That would be so good. It sucks it wasn't a good story :/
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

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  5. There is nothing worse than a boring read!!! Its the one aspect of some books I wish I could change especially when you want to like it but can't.

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  6. I was so tempted to read the Confectioner's Tale, glad I didn't give in. My luck with historicals lately has been terrible, so I am trying to avoid them.

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  7. The Confectioner's Tale cover is soooo pretty! Too bad the inside didn't live up to the outside. If you want a truly amazing story set in Paris with chocolate or pastries The Amour et Chocolat series by Laura Florand is wonderful!

    As for the second book, I'm not into a depressing read. Sorry neither worked out for you, Eva! Great honest reviews! :)

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  8. Aw, sadness, I am sorry that these were both such fails for you! The premise of the second one DOES kind of intrigue me though, I think I would probably be pretty bummed too. The first just sounds a mess, and I definitely don't plan on wasting my time there! Great reviews, I hope you have some better books in your future!

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  9. The Confectioner's Tale really is a bummer, because I wanted to try it. I love Paris stories and am currently reading a Christmas romance set there. Sorry these sucked!

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  10. Ugh, two losers... including a DNF. What a letdown. And they both sound so promising, especially The Confectioners Tale. I mean, Paris, historical, romance, dual time periods, star crossed lovers and a mystery... you'd think it had all the makings for a fantastic read. But when the mystery isn't all that and the rest is kind of boring... blah. Sorry these were both misses for you, Eva.

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  11. Ah! Sorry both of these bombed. That's really sad about The Confectioners Tale. It sounded so good. :/

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