Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Setting: Modern day Paris and Douarnenez, France
*** I received an eARC copy of A French Wedding from Doubleday Books via NetGalley.***
Review: A beautiful, delicious, and predictable book. A French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe is enjoyable and has a gorgeous setting. The beginning of the book is set in Paris, but the bulk of the book is set in Douarnenez, which is a delightful-sounding town on the coast of France. Juliette is a chef and owner of a restaurant in Paris, and when her parents fall ill, she returns home to Douarnenez and ends up working for Max as his personal chef. Max is a famous musician, and he’s about to turn forty and decides to have a party/reunion of his college friends, who haven’t all been together for awhile. Max’s friends are Eddie (and his girlfriend Beth), Lars and Nina (who have been together since college) and their daughter Sophie, Rosie and her husband Hugo, and the elusive Helen, who Max has always been in love with. Helen’s sister, Soleil, also arrives to stir things up as well.
I enjoyed all of the characters. While Max is that typical rich-boy with a party lifestyle (women, cocaine, alcohol, etc), he still retains a likeable quality. Juliette is harboring secrets, and when she’s in the kitchen she truly creates masterpieces. Besides Max and Juliette, the other person we get to see into the mind of is Rosie, as she deals with her obnoxious husband Hugo and tries to balance her friends, her husband, and her own wishes. I wish we had gotten to see into the mind of Helen: the mysterious Helen, whom everyone seems to be in love with. Helen has a solitude to her that is never fully explained, and I was interested to know more about Helen and her life.
The biggest thing about this book is the food. Oh my word, there are so many mouthwatering dishes that Juliette creates! The seafood, the cheeses, the wine, the salads. It all sounded delicious and perfect and made me outrageously hungry. But as much as I loved reading about all the food Juliette was creating, the one dish I wanted to try the most was the Kouign-amann, a delicious sounding cake that is a specialty of Douarnenez.
The plot was predictable; it was fairly clear who was going to be married, and the romantic attachments were obvious from the start. I get suspicious when I notice authors deliberately leaving details out, and I didn’t quite understand what the big deal was about the “reveal”. It seemed a bit like trying to create mystery when none was really there.
I thought A French Wedding was enjoyable and a good read. While it was predictable, sometimes you just need to read a book that has predictability to it, and predictability isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you just want to read a book where you know what the ending will be, and the book isn’t so much about the ending, but how you get to the ending, and the atmosphere along the way. So enjoy A French Wedding, preferably with a baguette, some cheese, a bottle of wine, and a beautiful sunset while you read. Or if you’re lucky, with some Kouign-amann. Now I’m off to go see if I can find some near me! And I’m also off to Denver for, you guessed it, a wedding!
Bottom Line: Delicious and enjoyable. Predictable, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I found this recipe for Kouign-amann online, and I was mesmerized by that video – especially when it gets to putting the butter layer within the pastry! Oh my word – this looks difficult to make, but oh-so-necessary to try.
Does this sound like a good read? Do you like books that feature food? Have you ever tried Kouign-amann? Have you ever tried to make it yourself?