Title: Love Among the Recipes
Author: Carol M. Cram
Release Date: October 20th 2020
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: New Arcadia Publishing
A fun, food-infused romp through pre-pandemic Paris—the perfect antidote in these challenging times.
Paris may be for lovers, but cookbook author Genna McGraw is definitely not looking for love. She’s looking for escape and she’s looking for a good runny Brie to pair with a smooth Bordeaux. Where better than Paris?
In Love Among the Recipes, Genna goes to the City of Light to get away from her philandering husband and write a “crossover cookbook/guidebook” that matches Parisian sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre with recipes for bistro-style French dishes. All goes well…for a while. Genna dabbles in romance with dishy French lawyer Pierre Leblanc and makes friends at her French class with New York transplant Marsha Renfrew.
And then there’s big, blunt Bill Turner from Australia. Does he really eat crocodile steaks for tea?
But when Genna’s family crashes her new life in Paris, a crisis forces her to choose how she wants to live. Will she have the courage to embrace an uncertain future and risk losing everything?
Or will she discover love in all its flavors?
**** My Review ****
Do lust and excitement end after we say the marriage vows or simply our understanding of the topics changes? Should we give up all our personal dreams and desires as we become parents? Do we lose ourselves in that struggle to give the best to our loved ones and forget about our needs in the process? Forget who we really are… Maybe other’s approval and verification is more important than our own wishes…
I honestly read a lot, a when I say a lot, I literally mean that. And after hours and hours of indulging myself with romance books, whose heroines are young and gorgeous women, I really believed it will be a nice change to read something different. Something refreshing as a book about a middle-aged woman trying to overcome hardship and re-discover herself. That’s why I chose the story of Genna. Escaping from her shattered life and reality, heart-broken after her husband’s misdeed, we see this middle-aged woman flying to Paris to focus on her passion. Trying to find the perfect recipes for her cookbook, mixing art and food, will she also find the perfect recipe for happiness? Will she find love and acceptance in spite of her family’s disapproval and lack of support? Will this kind-hearted woman give herself a chance of love with someone new or will she forgive her repentant husband?
The author definitely leads us on this grand journey to Paris, the city of light, giving lust descriptions and enough French phrases to make readers feel and visualize each glorious sight, each shop, each step though those cobblestone streets. Definitely, from beginning to end, the spirit and culture of Paris are so perfectly captivated and described. I had a huge desire to pack my suitcase and catch the first plane to Paris.
And the food….oh my God.., I could almost feel the delicious aromas and flavors of every dish Genna created. The whole book is centered on these mouthwatering delicacies, perfectly described as to make readers crave each dish.
As much as I was invested in the flawless descriptions and details of Paris and the tasty dishes, I simply couldn’t say the same about the plot and the characters. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t connect to Genna. I couldn’t feel what she was feeling, couldn’t understand her story as was intended to be. I could understand the author’s intentions behind Genna’s indecisiveness when it came to the men to some extent. It is not easy to turn a new page after years of being stuck in the same things. And I also liked the fact that she was not perfect, but quite oblivious with endearing clumsiness. She’s also kind-hearted and full of love, especially towards her grown-up children. But her story somehow felt awkward, not really natural and clichéd in many parts. The other characters added greatly to the whole, but at moments seemed too one-dimensional and simply annoying, especially Becky.
I also would have loved a faster pace as the book went too slow in some parts, and generally lasted longer than necessary. On the other hand, the epilogue was a great way to wrap up the whole story.
Overall, this cute story that cannot be simply labeled as a romance, but contains many other elements, combines food and art into one great trip to Paris and in the life of our heroine Genna. If you choose to read it, please do not do it on empty stomach, or at least make sure you have got a nice French restaurant nearby.
****About the Author****
Carol M. Cram is the author of four novels including her latest “Love Among the Recipes” and three award-winning historical novels about women in the arts. “The Towers of Tuscany” was published by Lake Union Publishing in 2014. The novel was awarded the Chaucer Award (Chanticleer Reviews) for best historical fiction and Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Review. “The Towers of Tuscany” tells the story of a woman painter in fourteenth century Italy. “A Woman of Note” was published in 2015 by Lake Union Publishing and was awarded the Goethe Award for Best in Category (Chanticleer Reviews) and Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. The novel is set in Vienna in the 1830s and tells the story of a woman composer. Carol’s third published novel, “A Muse of Fire” (Kindle Books & New Arcadia Publishing 2018) received a Bronze for Best Historical Fiction from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Set in 1809 in London, the novel delves into the riotous world of early 19th Century theater. Carol’s newest book is “Pastel & Pen: Travels in Europe” (New Arcadia Publishing, 2018)–a fun and heart-warming series of vignettes about her family’s travels in Europe. The book is illustrated by her husband, Canadian painter Gregg Simpson. In addition to writing fiction, Carol has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring fifty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications for Cengage Learning. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist. She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada. Visit her at www.carolcram.com.