Monday, August 7, 2023

A Bakery in Paris - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  A Bakery in Paris by Aimie K. Runyan

Rating:  Really Liked It (4 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  1870: The Prussians are at the city gates, intent to starve Paris into submission. Lisette Vigneau--headstrong, willful, and often ignored by her wealthy parents--awaits the outcome of the war from her parents' grand home in the Place Royale in the very heart of the city. When an excursion throws her into the path of a revolutionary National Guardsman, Th�odore Fournier, her destiny is forever changed. She gives up her life of luxury to join in the fight for a Paris of the People. She opens a small bakery with the hopes of being a vital boon to the impoverished neighborhood in its hour of need. When the city falls into famine, and then rebellion, her resolve to give up the comforts of her past life is sorely tested.

1946: Nineteen-year-old Micheline Chartier is coping with the loss of her father and the disappearance of her mother during the war. In their absence, she is charged with the raising of her two younger sisters. At the hand of a well-meaning neighbor, Micheline finds herself enrolled in a prestigious baking academy with her entire life mapped out for her. Feeling trapped and desperately unequal to the task of raising two young girls, she becomes obsessed with finding her mother. Her classmate at the academy, Laurent Tanet, may be the only one capable of helping Micheline move on from the past and begin creating a future for herself.

Both women must grapple with loss, learn to accept love, and face impossible choices armed with little more than their courage and a belief that a bit of flour, yeast, sugar, and love can bring about a revolution of their own.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:   I couldn't resist the blurb.  I love historical fiction and I know very little about the 1870 timeline.  Plus, I love baking and always enjoy books about baking.

My Impression:  I typically enjoy a dual timeline book and right from the start this one really worked.  While I preferred Micheline's story (especially for the first half of the book) I also found Lisette's interesting and enjoyed learning about a time period I know little about.  This is a new author for me but I really enjoyed her writing style and her ability to tackle really difficult emotional topics without the book drifting into overwrought or melodramatic.

Lisette at times seemed hopelessly na├»ve and a bit too perfect at the beginning.  There is a moment when she is seriously tempted and that really helped me feel a bit more connected to her.  As well I love that her mission for helping her community is so practical and she understands the value of it.  I also really liked that her mission is what ends up giving her great-granddaughter hope many years later.  Micheline is tough and scared and torn between having to be constantly practical and self-sacrificing and an almost irrational hope that things will get better or have some normalcy.  I loved her relationship with her sisters.  The author has definitely had some experience with an adolescent girl as she captures that perfectly with the middle sister!

I really enjoyed this book.  There's some romance to it and frequently desperate times make for more intense feelings which may cause some eye rolling for some readers.  I was sad to see the last of these characters and am looking forward to reading more by this author.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes!  I'm looking forward to checking out this author's backlist and reading more from them.

Would I Recommend this Book?   If you enjoy historical fiction and don't mind a bit of romance in your stories I think you will really enjoy this book.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

5 comments:

  1. Good review. I like the sound of this one.

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  2. I usually enjoy books with dual timelines too. This sounds like a great read!

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  3. Sounds like really good historical. Unlike you I am not a big fan of dual timelines but still seem to read them!

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  4. This sounds like a really good book.

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  5. I didn't realize which historical time periods this book takes place in. Thank you for sharing a little about it.

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