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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.
Take a moment to savour an evocative, bittersweet love story that echoes through the decades – perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop.
The Confectioner's Tale is an interesting dual timeline story, with lots of delectable detail concerning France in the 1900's, class structures and a sumptuous patisserie. I found this part of the story engaging - the way Paris is depicted in the early twentieth century is fascinating from the stringent dying class structures, to life on the streets, to the day-to-day running of a famous Patisserie. Gorgeous culinary detail is provided:
"the religieuse was a masterpiece of pastel shades, ornate swirls of vanilla cream and gold-leaf decoration"
I did, however, find the modern story to be somewhat contrived and artificial. Petra is a challenging character, and the whole 'scandal' I doubt would have been newsworthy in the 1980's - perhaps intriguing but far from shocking. The scenes with the biographer were a bit over the top and the modern day romance superfluous. Still it was cleverly set in the 1980s before the internet age and therefore footwork was necessary for information gathering.
"the Patisserie Clermont scandal ..... whatever happened there, it caused a great deal of damage".
Overall the dual timeline is handled smoothly, which is often a difficult thing to do. It is a pleasant story with blends of history, romance and that 'scandal', that is somewhat a simple plot to predict. I wish the ending (I found to be somewhat rushed) had been fleshed out so as to provide more meaning to the ultimate conclusion.
"I realise I have resurrected it, from where it lay hidden. I have pursued it, and now, I have one last chance to lay it to rest. I owe it to him to try".