The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
By Jenny Colgan
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2014. 374 pages. Fiction.
Anna Trent doesn't know that a bizarre workplace accident will completely change her life. Cast adrift after being released from the hospital, Anna takes the advice of her former French teacher, Claire, who is also in the hospital for chemotherapy treatments, and leaves her small, British town to work as a shop assistant at one of the most elite chocolatiers in Paris. As she grows in confidence in her new environment, Anna learns about how to live and love life to the fullest.
Jenny Colgan's books are always good summer reads, much in the style of Sophie Kinsella and Hester Browne, but this most recent outing had a depth to it that was actually very refreshing. I could relate with Anna and enjoyed watching her blossom and grow as she successfully tackles the new and unexpected. Her story is contrasted with Claire's, told both in flashbacks to her teenage experience in Paris with world-renowned chocolatier Thierry Girard, and her contemporary struggles with cancer. The characters are lovely and the stories just a bit heartbreaking at times. (I'll admit, I had a little tear in my eye by the very end.) Colgan's story flows well, without the plot lulls that have sometimes plagued her previous books, making for a very effortless read. The book is mostly clean, although there is some strong language and references to sex, but nothing described in detail.