Due to time restraints while I work on my own novel, reviews on this site will now comprise a book blurb and a short response.

A French Wedding - Hannah Tunnicliffe

I loved Hannah Tunnicliffe’s Season of Salt and Honey, so I was more than happy to add A French Wedding to my review list. Here’s the blurb:

Max is turning forty. All he wants for his birthday is for his six oldest friends to come to France to eat, dance, drink and laugh for one weekend. And to finally declare his secret, undying love for his best friend, Helen.

Juliette gave up her dream of owning an acclaimed Parisian restaurant to return to her tiny coastal village and nurse her aging parents. But she finds her home much changed, even the boulangerie where she first learned to love baking has fallen upon hard times. Now, as she tries to find her way to a new future, Max’s birthday weekend may just provide the new beginning Juliette is wishing for… but at whose cost?

Tunnicliffe has a knack for weaving food and feasts into her novels, so much so that you can almost taste and smell the delicious meals the characters are eating. This is certainly the case in A French Wedding, where chef Juliette serves up mouth-watering meals to her employer’s guests. The guests serve up plenty, too, but more by way of sarcasm, lies, fights and expectations. And so, as might be expected, Max’s birthday goes nothing like planned, and the friendships will never be the same again. Not all the characters are particularly likable, and some I related to more than others,  but they mostly come across as real, with all their just-below-the-surface hurts, defensiveness and unrealised dreams. The twist to the tale, was for me, easy to spot pretty early on, but perhaps I was looking for it.

Hugo looks more like her sons when he is sleeping. And, on the other hand, he could be a stranger.

Overall, while I liked the book, it didn’t have the emotional warm-fuzzy feeling of Season of Salt and Honey. It seemed a little more detached – there was so much going on with all the characters that I found it hard to fully connect with any of them.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $32.99AUD). My copy was courtesy of Pan Macmillan.




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