Sunday, 14 December 2014

Jenny Oliver - The Parisian Christmas Bake Off

**Review by Stacey

Welcome to the most celebrated patisserie competition in Paris – ready, steady, bake!

Watching snowflakes settle on the Eiffel Tower, Rachel Smithson’s cosy English village feels very far way – as, thankfully, does her commitment-phobic ex, probably already kissing someone else under the mistletoe. But Rachel hasn’t come to Paris to mope she’s come to bake. Hard.

Because the search for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice is about to begin! And super-chef judge Henri Salernes is an infamously tough cookie. But Rachel isn’t about to let her confidence (or pastry) crumble. She’s got one week, mounds of melt-in-the-mouth macaroons and towers of perfect profiteroles to prove that she really is a star baker.

As well as clouds of flour, and wafts of chocolate and cinnamon, there’s definitely a touch of Christmas magic in the air… Rachel hasn’t come to Paris looking for a fairy-tale romance, but the city of love might gift-wrap her one anyway…

Not even a dusting of icing sugar could make The Parisian Christmas Bake Off a more perfect Christmas treat!

Throughout December I have to read Christmas books, as it really gets me in the mood and I love reading about other people's Christmases (even if they are fictional!). The cover for this book drew me in straight away as it is really Christmassy, and the fact it involved a beautiful setting, Christmas, and food (some of my favourite things)!

The main character is Rachel who is in a dead end relationship with a bit of a loser to be honest. She also hates Christmas as she lost a loved one at Christmas so she doesn't like to celebrate it - so her close knit village decided to club together and send her to Paris for a Bake Off competition with top chef Henri Salernes. She has her doubts but then she discovers that she has no choice but to go and I don't think she realises what she's let herself in for! Rachel doesn't go to Paris looking for love - her mind is solely on getting through the competition then returning home, but will the city of love bring someone to her? It just might.

The other contestants who she is competing against are a mixed bag and obviously all out to win, but a couple of them take it a bit more seriously than the others. The food descriptions throughout the competition had my mouth watering SO much that I might even have to attempt my own versions of some of the bakes! The whole book was really descriptive and I could just imagine that I was Rachel, in Paris; it was beautiful.

Part of the ending wasn't quite what I was expecting but I loved it nonetheless. Rachel returns home with a bright future ahead of her and the book finishes in a great place. It is really a great Christmas must-read and I will probably have to read it again next year!

You can keep up with Jenny and news about her books on Twitter.

Get your copy of The Parisian Christmas Bake Off here (UK) or here (US).

I purchased this book myself and wasn't asked to write this review. All thoughts & opinions are honest & my own.

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