Title: The Confectioner's Tale
Author: Laura Madeleine
Publisher: Black Swan
Release date: 23rd April 2015
It's 1909 and Guillerme du Frere is about to start his new life working on the railways of Paris. He leaves his family in Bordeaux to do better for himself but he never imagined the life he was about to find.
In 1988 Petra Stevenson is struggling with her PHD thesis but when a photo of is found in her late grandfather's possessions with the words 'forgive me' and 'Clermont' written on the back. Instead of writing her thesis, Petra is determined to find out what her grandfather did.
It's no secret that I'm a bit obsessed with books set in Paris so I jumped at the chance when I was offered The Confectioner's Tale for review.
The Confectioner's Tale alternated between two different time lines, one set in 1909 and one set in 1988. In 1909 Guillerme du Frere is embarking on a new adventure while in 1988 Petra Stevenson is determined to uncover a family secret. The two times are very different but the story is weaved together perfectly.
Within moments of arriving in Paris, Guillerme's life is changed completely. In the busy station he accidentally knocks into a beautiful woman with amazing blue eyes. Before he knows it though he's up on his feet and whisked off to start his new job working on the railway. When his first pay check arrives, Guillerme and his friends go for a night on the town which unexpectedly leads him straight back to the beautiful woman at the Patisserie Clermont. From here, Guillerme's life in Paris changes once again and a love affair begins.
Laura Madeleine's descriptions of Paris are absolutely magical. As a working man Guillerme does not live a glamourous life but Madeleine makes his life seem like one big adventure which had me hooked. There is a wonderful mix of the working class and wealthy families of Paris. At times we get dirty, dusty streets where men work and then we also get Patisserie Clermont which is completely different. Having been to Paris myself I could imagine what certain places were like. I was glad that the book started with Guillerme in 1909 rather than Petra in 1988 because it really got me gripped to the story.
We then have Petra Stevenson's part of the story which is set in 1988. A biography is being written about her late grandfather and she finds a mysterious photo with only the words 'forgive me' and 'Clermont' written on the back. Petra and her grandfather were really close so she has no idea what he could have been asking forgiveness for. The secret takes over her life really and she pushes aside her PHD work in order to find out more about the photo. I have to be honest and as much as I liked reading about how Petra and her research, I did prefer reading about 1909 more. It wasn't that this part of the story was bad in any way, I just felt like Paris had more magic about it.
The Confectioner's Tale is a book with so much mystery, intrigue and excitement and Laura Madeleine has written it exceptionally well.
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