I unexpectedly completely fell in love with this book! I purchased it on a whim when in Hocking Hills, Ohio because I had finished the other book I was reading and didn’t bring another. I almost passed it up because I am normally not big on romance novels, but this one completely changed my mind about them. In the beginning I was a bit confused because every other chapter transfers from the woman Aurélie Bredin to André Chabanais point of view. I wanted to let any interested readers know this first because there is no notice that this will happen. There is also a lot of French places and phrases in the book, if you’re not familiar it may throw you off. However, you do start to catch on throughout the book of all these French things they are talking about.
As for the story itself, it is about a chef that owns her own restaurant in the Rue Princesse of Paris called Les Temps des Cerises. She has just gotten out of a relationship and is wandering throughout the city when she ends up in a bookstore. She is not a big reader but is trying to avoid a certain someone and picks up the first book she sees and buys it. She ends up starting to read it that night and realizes that she is the heroine of this story. Not metaphorically, but literally her. Down to her favorite dress and the tablecloths of the restaurant she owns. Her head spins as the mystery fills her of who the man was that wrote this book and if she knows him. She immediately looks up the author and tries to get in touch with him. Its then you find out from André’s point of view that this author does not exist, simply because they made him up so the real author could keep out of the public eye. So Aurélie is looking for someone who does not exist. You soon find out that André is the real author and in love with Aurélie. He tries to figure out the best way to win her over, even though she seems to be in love with this imaginary man he created. The ending is wonderful and something I never would have guessed! In my last review of The Paris Wife I mentioned that being my favorite book, and although I did love the read my mind has changed. This is my favorite book to date!
Another twist I love to the story is that the author of this book, Nicholas Barreau, is not the real author of this book either. The author’s note in the end tells how she watched the real love story happen between Aurélie and André happen and although many things in this book were invented some of it is true, down to the restaurant with the red-and-white-checked tablecloths although it is not called Les Temps des Cerises. She leaves the real restaurant to our imagination as readers so it can be “A place where wishes come true and anything is possible”.
Here is a link to purchase the book if you are interested in reading it –> The Ingredients of Love
Also if you have read this book before and have something to add please comment in the link under the title of this post!