Fromage a Trois by Victoria Brownlee
About the Book
- Genre: Chick-Lit|Contemporary|Women’s fiction
- Length: 280 pages
- Published on 9th October 2018 by Amberjack Publishing.
Special thanks to Netgalley and Amberjack for providing a free copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Meet Ella, on the brink of turning 30 and full of regret for a life only half lived.
In a haze of heartbreak after splitting up with the man she thought she was going to marry, she makes the only decision that seems rational and buys a one-way ticket to Paris, embarking on a pilgrimage of food, wine, and joie de vivre.
After arriving, Ella struggles to grasp the nuances of French manners and friendship. She soon finds herself caught between two men who inhabit opposite ends of the Paris food scene, getting wined and dined by one, and inadvertently making a bet to try every type of French fromage with the other.
As the seasons change, Ella realizes that there’s more to life in France than champagne and cheese. At some point the Eiffel Tower stops sparkling and she needs to decide where her heart truly lies.
It was little things like this that made me fall in love with Paris the first time around: snippets into a rich history that transported you into the past.
I have to confess that the sole reason I added this book to my TBR was the gorgeous cover! That is a winning cover ladies and gentlemen!
I devoured this book over multiple sittings which is quite a strange fact considering that I never let a book of this length sit around for this long. I think it was 4 sittings… This book has that thing in it that makes you want to return to it but at the same time, you feel no rush to complete it. I never once had the thought of giving up on this book and neither felt that strong pull to read it. And honestly, I think that’s the beauty of it!
Brownlee’s brilliant writing had me mesmerized. This woman showed me the beauty of Paris, made me walk into the streets of Paris, made me visit Parisian cafés and bistros all the while having held my hand in a reassuring manner. You can feel her immense love of the city oozing from the pages of this book! The way she wrote about Paris is similar to the way a person would write a love letter. Oh, and how can I forgot her mouth-watering descriptions of the various Cheeses. I could literally feel the flavour playing around on my tongue! Brownlee has a rare talent of sketching out accurate descriptions, be it scenic setting of the Seine riverside or the flavour of Comté .
I’d fallen in love with Paris the second I stepped out of the train station at Gare de Lyon ; the river, the buildings, Parisians—everything seemed so old and romantic. I walked the streets for hours, getting lost in my admiration of the city, strolling into galleries and eating crêpes whenever I got tired or hungry. I was mystified by the grandeur of the parks and gardens, tempted by the windows full of pastries and cheese, and enchanted by the city’s inhabitants, whose main preoccupation seemed to be enjoying life.
I have a love-hate relationship with Ella, our protagonist. 80% Love -20% Hate would be a more accurate way of describing it. I loved Ella and admired the way her character evolved through-out the book. For a 30-year-old woman, Ella had more childish-ness in her than me! Her decision to move to Paris was literally on a complete whim. I found that a bit hard to digest. Moving from Australia to Paris on a whim? That sounds impractical and although I have never browsed, I know that cities like Paris are hard to afford and I mean HARD. Moving there without a job and bare minimum savings didn’t sound very practical to my calculating self.
Before all of this happened, before Ella decided to move to Paris, I found it hard to connect with her. She broke up with her 8 year-long boyfriend whose name, embarrassingly enough, I cannot remember! Lemme look it up… Paul and I couldn’t empathize with her. Everything seemed rushed at that moment. But then there were lines like these which saved the day
For the past eight years, I’d compromised my own plans and goals to fit in with his life, and he’d just strung me along. The realization hit me hard.
I am glad that she did eventually move to Paris, because otherwise we wouldn’t have had this wonderful story. I could relate with Ella a lot once she was in Paris! I love Parisian Ella. Brownlee also has very good sense of humour and here are just some excerpts
I was trying to nudge my way towards what looked like a little cheese tart when Gaston grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back. Why doesn’t this man want me to eat? I thought.
Here is a lady who loves food more than romance 😀 I was in bits and you will be too when you read the whole scene!
“Hello, Camille” I said in English, forcing my accent a little, trying to sound aloof, foreign and cool but coming off as faux-pas British and vocally challenged.
I wanted to include more excerpts but decided not to for fear of giving out spoilers.
Although I loved Ella, I didn’t like the way she treated her mum. Her mum deserved much more from her! I wish she had shown more consideration and love for her.
Let’s briefly talk about some other characters.
I loved Chris! I loved his blunt and honest approach to things and the fact that he didn’t mince words. I was disappointed that he wasn’t given more time. I was rooting for Chris-Ella but oh well! Clotilde, Chris’s prime Parisian love interest and Ella’s accidental best friend in Paris, was another lovable and somewhat mysterious character. I loved the enigma that the author created around her. Billie, Ella’s original best friend is the friend we all need. Someone whom we can confide in freely and at the same time know that they can deliver a slap of reality if and when needed. And Gaston? Really, I had my doubts about him from the moment I read his name 😂 Then there is Serge, the cheese-man! I wouldn’t say that I loved him, because there was nothing charming about him that caught my eye, I liked him. I am so confused right now trying to decipher my feelings for Serge.
This isn’t a plot driven book, it’s all about the characters. But then there was this addition of two characters that contributed nothing to the plot: Jean Pierre and his mother. I found this addition confusing and unnecessary and really both these characters were weird! Apart from comic relief, I can’t discern any other tangible reason for their existence in the story.
The romance in this book was cute 😍 I can’t get into the details of as it will give away spoilers! But read this
Nobody had ever called me “their girl” before and it felt so perfect.
If you are looking for something fast-paced, this isn’t the way to go. This is a, as they say it, ‘slow-burning’ book. A cute contemporary getaway for days when you are buzzing with happiness and want to bask in the glory of a gorgeous city. This is your ticket to Paris!