What secrets are hiding in the heart of Paris?
At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.
But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.
Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.
*Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
‘The Confectioner’s Tale’ is Laura Madeleine’s debut, and what a terrific debut it is! I’ve read it couple of days ago, yet I’m still thinking about the characters.
‘The Confectioner’s Tale’ follows two stories, the story of Petra in 1988, who’s trying to find out more about her grandfathers involvement in a scandal, and of Guillerme du Frere, back in 1909 who’s off to Paris to work on the railways. Poor Gui left Bordeaux to earn some money, hoping Paris will treat him kind and he’ll earn enough to send to his mother. He’s 19 years old, poor yet determined to make it into the big city. What he least expects is to find someone who’ll show him that he’s hungry for love too.
Fast forward eight decades, we see Petra, the granddaughter of the famous historian SJ Stivenson. She finds out that her granddad has been to Paris and had a big secret that haunted him till the last day. After his death, she finds a letter with ‘Forgive me’ written on the back. That’s when Petra starts suspecting her granddad and starts to research his connection to Clermont family in Paris. What she’s about to discover is the big secret her grandfather kept for so many years.
‘The Confectioner’s Tale’ has been such a wonderful surprise. I knew I would like it right after reading the blurb, however I certainly didn’t expect it to be this good. It’s such an easy read, and those past to present transitions and as well as change in POVs, simply flowed. It’s obvious the author knows a good deal about Paris, because she manages to describe it perfectly, the riches as well as the poor. We get to see both sides of Paris and the society back in 1909. I absolutely loved Gui’s story. Forbidden love, betrayal, drama and mystery..there’s so much happening in this story. However, I was not too impressed with Petra’s, as I really didn’t warm up to her as a character. Petra’s story seemed more slow, at least for me, however I did root for her and hoped she’ll prove some people wrong.
Overall, ‘The Confectioner’s Tale’ is definitely a great debut. It’s an easy and short read you can devour in one sitting. The writing is beautiful and rich. Both stories, especially Gui’s, will keep you turning the pages and you won’t put it down till you find out the connection between Gui and Petra. I do wish the ending had a bigger ‘bang’ and that the scandal was more shocking, but I was still not disappointed.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, I definitely recommend it.
My rating: 8/10