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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 March 2013
I didn't even read the reviews of The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris before I bought it as having read Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, I knew I liked the authors style of writing and therefore knew I couldn't go far wrong with Chocolate and Paris. It's a perfect read, beautiful descriptions of the most romantic city in the world and lovely believable romances taking place there. It's a great book and the description of Claire and her cancer battle are amazing, touching and well handled. I did shed tears but I also smiled lots. I can't recommend it enough.
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on 26 May 2013
Jenny Colgan has done it again! She has concocted another sweet morsel of a novel in The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris.

When an accident in a chocolate factory in the North of England left thirty-year-old Anna Trent lying in a hospital with two missing toes, she thought her life was never going to be the same again. That was before she knew that her French Teacher, Claire, was in the same hospital room as her. Claire, a patient with terminal Cancer, kept Anna company whilst in hospital. Then she made Anna a proposition of a life-time: To work in a chocolate shop in Paris owned by the only man whom Claire ever loved, Thierry Girard--a master chocolatier.

As the sun rises over the Pont de Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is busy making chocolates the old fashioned way--by hand. As she mixes, blends and tastes the finest chocolates in Paris, the Chateau Chocolat sells them to the grandes dames of Paris.

As the story unfolds, you get to meet and love Claire as she tells the story of her younger self who was sent as an Au Pair (Nanny) to Paris to mind the children of her mother's life-long pen pal, Madame Legarde. While in Paris the young Claire meets and falls in love with the town's master chocolatier, Thierry Girard, owner of the prestigious Le Chateau Chocolat. The pair fall helplessly in love until Claire has to return home to England to resume her studies, leaving behind the man she truly ever loved.

Years later, through Anna Trent, Claire and Thierry meet again and relive their romance for one last time. This book made me cry in places and made my mouth water. I fell in love with the book's characters, the chocolate and the city that brought this book to life. I have always wanted to see Paris and this book transports me to the city of light and romance without having to purchase a ticket. At the end of the book Colgan features a repertoire of chocolate recipes guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds. Each recipe is tested by Colgan herself.
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The story alternates between the past with Claire's stay in Paris to the present with Anna's adventures in Paris. Anna has been working in a chocolate factory so when she has an accident that leaves her a little lost in direction until her old French School Teacher Claire arranges for her to have a taster at working with a chocolatier friend of hers in Paris.

The amount of research that must have gone into this book shines through from the picturesque setting of Paris to the mouth-wateringly detailed description of chocolate making and tasting I only wish the author would have found it in her heart to have invited me along for the research!

There is more than just a beautiful setting in Paris and heavenly chocolate to this story there is also romance which I am sure you would expect from a book set in the romantic Paris. There was a particularly emotional part in this book as well which was very touching. One of my favourite books is Meet me at the Cupcake Café which is also by this author and I am sure a lot of you who are reading this review would have read it, that book has a very warm cosy feel to the book whereas this book feels a little more chic and traditional.

I did find the choice of injury to Anna a little bizarre but I did love her character she seemed to have come to a point in her life where she needed a little push in the right direction so she could make the most of her life which I think most of us can sympathise with.

One thing that seemed to be a great hit in this authors books are the recipes she gives us and I am pleased to tell you that they feature in this book too. I am very tempted to make the Malteser Cake!
This is a fantastically written book that will get those taste buds dancing, I thoroughly enjoyed this book now I can't wait for Christmas at Rose Hopkins' Sweet Shop.
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on 31 December 2015
My first book by this author, although I have read books by other more whimsical authors set in Paris and marinated in the flavour of chocolate. This one is by far the best.

Anna Trent, working class, from a depressed Northern town, loses her job in the chocolate factory after suffering an industrial injury. She is given the opportunity to travel to Paris and work for a famous artisan chocolatier. A new world of possibilities opens up. Her contemporary story is interwoven with that of Claire and her thwarted 1970's love affair.

This tender, enchanting story made me laugh and cry. The delicious recipes at the end of the book are a delightful bonus.
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on 25 May 2013
I couldn't put this book down - within a few pages I was hooked and I thought this was a really wonderful story. I always love Jenny Colgan's books and I actually thought this was one of her best. Thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who likes her books or just enjoys a good easy read!
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on 22 July 2013
I've read all of Jenny Colgan's books and I was so looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations in fact I have to say I don't think there is really a story worth writing about here. The story seems very patchy.
You read the story through the main characters eyes and at the same time there are past snippets from a friend of the main character when she lived in Paris, which I tried to read but I felt that the only way to read this book in the end was to skip through the friends past snippets as they bored me. I wouldn't waste your money.
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I loved this book so much. I almost think I could stop the review there because that is really all there is so say about it! It draws you in and is just beautifully written, interesting, tantalising and just all round brilliant to read, and I think this is my favourite of Jenny Colgan's books I have read so far. I was wondering how much of it would be set in the lovely city of Paris, and the answer is pretty much all of it. Although I've been to Paris a fair few times in my life, I wouldn't say I know it very well or am particularly enamored by it so I was hoping Colgan would be able to persuade me otherwise.

The characters are absolutely fantastic in the book, and they are what really draws you in because you care about them and want to find out what happened to them all by the end of the book. Our leading lady is Anna, a young woman who suffers a bit of an unfortunate accident at work and finds herself bored in hospital and out of a job. Surprisingly, she bumps into her old french teacher Claire who is desperately unwell. Claire persuades Anna to take her life into her own hands and do something exciting, and so she ups and leaves to Paris to work in a world famous chocolate shop under the watchful eye of Claire's old friend Thierry. But is it just chocolate Anna will making whilst she's in Paris?

Jenny Colgan really manages to bring the city of Paris to life in the book, and writes about it so evocatively you feel as if you are there with Anna, Thierry and co making chocolate in their shop! Everything from the streets to the buildings to the landmarks are so beautifully described that you can picture them when you close your eyes and that was one of my favourite things about this book. I also found the way Colgan wrote about the chocolate and Thierry's processes for making it were just magical - it seemed like so much more than just chocolate and it was mesmerising to read it, especially the way Thierry worked. I was totally lost in the pages of this and it actually made wonder what goes into the chocolate that I eat lol!

One of my favourite bits of the book though (shock horror... not the chocolate!) was Claire's story which is interspersed throughout the book with Anna's. Claire's is told as a flashback using an italic font to make it stand out slightly, and it's quite simply a joy to read. Everything from her moving to France as a naive, sheltered young girl and literally growing up there was wonderful to read, and I just didn't want to put the book down when Claire's story was the focal point. At some points, I actually ploughed through Anna's story just to get to more of Claire's, I was totally lost in her world and I wish in a way Colgan could have written a whole book just about this, it was wonderful!

This book made me laugh, smile and cry along with it - the ending for me was so bittersweet and I actually flicked back several pages to make sure what I'd read was right, simply because I didn't want to believe it was the end, I felt it could have gone on and on and I'd have kept reading! The book was enchanting from start to finish, and Anna's humour peppered throughout kept the tone light and the chocolate made it all the more delicious to read! For me, this is Jenny Colgan's best book to date, and she effortlessly weaves the timeless tales of Claire and Anna throughout the beautiful city of Paris, and by the end, I didn't want to leave either Claire or Anna behind, nor their beautiful chocolate shop in Paris. Simply a must-read. With chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
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on 23 June 2013
I was disappointed by this book. I have really enjoyed Jenny Colgan's other books but I found the narrative jumping between the two main characters disruptive rather than adding anything and having one of the main characters being terminally ill with cancer was not the sort of light-hearted escapism that I am looking for with Jenny's books. I enjoyed Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe much more than this one.
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on 16 June 2013
Not sure why I bought this book - I have tried her Sweet shop book and just couldn't get into it. But I love chocolate and Paris so I thought it was worth a go. I suspected that my first instincts about this book not being for me were correct within the first chapter - the action kicking off with our heroine falling into a vat of chocolate and the 'jokey' aside about people pooing in chocolate. Colgan attempts to give depth to this book with the addition of the ill French teacher and her parallel storyline set in 70s Paris, but the author lacks the writing chops of say JoJo Moyes to pack any real emotional punch. All in all - a sweet idea but there are so many books out there that do this travel/foodie chick-lit thing so much better. Younger readers might enjoy it but I would say anyone over 25 would be better off trying Stella Newman or Eloise James' Paris in Love - which has similar themes (it's non fiction) but is a much more layered and well-written book.
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on 6 June 2013
I was worried this book would be just more "chic lit" but it was a wonderful moving read that transported me back to Paris. I loved it.
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