The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris
This is the magical tale of Edith Lane, who sets off to find her fortune in the beautiful city of Paris. Fortune, however, is a fickle thing and Edith ends up working in a vintage bakery in the positively antique town of Compiègne. Escaping heartache and singledom in Ireland, Edith discovers that the bakery on Rue De Paris is not exactly what it seems and that some ghosts from the past are harder to escape than others. A heart-warming story that is sure to appeal to all of the senses, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris is a mouth-watering journey of love, liberty and la vie en rose.
I bought this after seeing it mentioned on Twitter.
I like this book a lot. It is a charming, gentle read with a few twists to keep you on your toes. The romance is dealt with quite deftly. The heroine, thirty-something Edith, finds she has an inner strength she wasn’t aware of and the reader can see her character grow throughout the story. Although she berates herself for her caution and lack of ambition, she has a tendency to jump into things without much thought and this leads her into situations that sometimes spiral out of her control. She often finds herself out of her depth – due to a fairly sheltered life where she has up until recently been caring for her ailing mother – but she has determination and a loyalty to others that won’t allow her to give up, even if it loses her the man she is strongly attracted to.
The descriptions of the bakery and the town are vivid and the history of the place is skilfully told, leaving me wanting to find out more. Edith finds a new friend in Nicole, who is portrayed very well, although I was a bit taken aback by the speed with which they became such best buddies. All the secondary characters nicely rounded. One of the main characters. Mme Moreau, the owner of the bakery, is perhaps the least easy to understand – in one scene we have the impression she has little English, and in another her English speech flows like that of a native and she uses quite advanced vocabulary; in one scene she is grumpy and formidable, and in another she is soft and grandmotherly (not entirely explained by how her story unfolds) – but her story is fascinating.
Although in many senses this is a typical romantic story, it is dealt with atypically. The reader knows of course that there is going to be a happy ending, but it isn’t a foregone conclusion that it is going to be in the time-honoured tradition of romantic fiction, and I liked that. The “mystery” is well written without being over the top, which makes suspending belief (if you are a cynic, as I am) perfectly easy and valid for the story.
There are several small inconsistencies, a few events that aren’t really explained, a couple of places where I was left thinking “how?”, and one or two facts that are dropped on the reader all of a sudden. I did feel that the story could have done with polishing (for example, it’s difficult to believe that someone would head off to a new job in a new country but not even look up where it is, or even read the address properly), but I enjoyed it nonetheless and I will certainly be reading more books by Evie Gaughan.
I am happy to recommend it to readers who enjoy reading about relationships (in the wider sense, not necessarily the romantic sense), especially francophiles.
Editorial Input & Design
I flitted between thinking there had been editorial help on this book and being convinced there hadn’t. A developmental editor would have pointed out some structural and linguistic improvements (and probably have done away with the prologue) and maybe have suggested some changes to Mme Moreau’s scenes; a copy-editor would have improved the flow of the text, and a proofreader would have sorted out some pesky apostrophes. It is highly readable, but could be improved and polished with help from an editor, making it an even better read.
Cover: I’m not sure whether or not this was professionally designed. I suspect not. Nevertheless, I like it.
Internal design: This book is available only as an ebook. I had no problems reading it on a Kindle.
Book Clubs & Reviews
Possibly a bit light for a book club, but there would be plenty of talking points: children looking after ailing parents; moving into the unknown; France; treatment of Jews and Romas during the Second World War; friendship; small businesses during the recession; French baking. Nibbles would have to be cheese and French bread and cakes of many sorts. And French wine, of course.
What others are saying: Amazon UK readers give it 4.4 stars (10 reviewers); Amazon US readers give it 4.4 stars (5 reviewers); Goodreads readers give it 4 stars (13 ratings). All the comments are favourable. It has been reviewed by a few bloggers and their reviews are reproduced on the Amazon and Goodreads pages.
Book blogger Trish at betweenmylines
Book blogger Celeste at readingintothesunset