The Heart of Paris
Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.
But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss.
Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.
It didn’t take me long to get swept into this story, easily imagining the small shop of La Maison des Sorcieres, and wishing that I could go and have a cup of their chocolate. I spent most of the book craving macarons, too. Ms. Florand writes well, of love and of food, and I enjoyed both in this book. The sparks between Magalie and Philippe, and the determination with which Magalie resists Philippe’s charms, was what kept me reading, and I felt like I couldn’t get enough. Once I got started, I could barely put the book down.
Part of what really made the book for me was its setting, on the Ile de la Cite, where I spent some time last year during my trip to Paris. It made me long for Paris, but not in an agonizing way. I felt like I was there, if only while I read.
Delightfully, Ms. Florand includes a chocolat chaud recipe at the back of the book, and I know I shall be indulging (once the weather turns from its current 30˚C heat wave).
Laura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc). Her books have been translated into seven languages, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Four of her past five books have been recommended reads by Dear Author and two have been Sizzling Book Club Picks by Smart B*, Trashy Books.
Laura was born in a small town in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking in New Zealand and Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman. You can find out quite a bit more about those crazy adventures in her memoir, Blame It on Paris. She is now a lecturer in Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, that means she studies and teaches French language and culture, rather than romance. Fortunately, French culture includes French chocolate, research to which she is very dedicated. You can catch some glimpses of that research in the books, on her blog, and on her Facebook site, where you are welcome to join her and other readers!
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Release date: December 24, 2012
And the giveaway! (open to US readers only, sorry.)