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September 10, 2023

A Bakery in Paris by Aimie K. Runyan ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

A Bakery in Paris
 is a captivating historical novel set in nineteenth-century and post-World War II Paris follows two fierce women of the same family, generations apart, who find that their futures lie in the four walls of a simple bakery in a tiny corner of Montmartre.

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book cover of historical fiction novel A Bakery in Paris by Aimie K Runyan
August 2023; William Morrow; 978-0063247710
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); historical fiction

I love books about Paris during any time period and I have enjoyed previous books by this author so I ordered it from Amazon and started reading it as soon as I took it out of the box.  I wasn't disappointed and this author has moved to my list of must-buy authors.  

The story is told in two different time periods.  Sometimes in books with dual timelines, one of the stories is much better or more interesting than the other but A Bakery in Paris was fantastic in both time periods with well-written characters and plot lines that kept me turning the pages.  Both women had to deal with the effects of war and the loss of family members.  The main similarity between the two women is that they both liked to bake and spending time in their kitchens helped them overcome the fear that they lived with every day.

1870 - The Prussian Army has reached Paris and set up a blockade to try to starve the Parisians into surrender.  Lisette is from a rich family and the blockade doesn't really change their lives on a day-to-day basis.  They still feel that they are better and more deserving than the lower classes.  Lisette is friendlier with the kitchen help than she is with her family and one day on an errand, she meets Theodore who is in the national guard.  He is definitely a lower class than her family is but love doesn't pay attention to social classes and they fall in love.  Even though he knows that he can't provide her with the kind of life she has lived, she runs away from her family to marry Theo.  As food becomes even more scarce, she opens a small bakery and bakes bread to give away to the people who are starving.  As life for the lower classes gets even more difficult, she has to decide if love will be enough or if she should return to her family and their life of luxury.

1946 - Micheline is 19 years old and takes care of her two younger sisters since her mother disappeared right after the end of World War II.  She continues to look for her mother and tries to find out what happened and is overwhelmed with all of the things that she's now responsible for.  Their father died during the war so Micheline is solely responsible for the family.  Thanks to a well-meaning neighbor, she is enrolled in an elite baking academy.  At first, she fails miserably and just can't seem to do anything right.  With the help of a new friend,  Laurent, her baking gets better and she starts thinking about re-opening the bakery that her great-grandmother Lisette started.  Using her great-grandmother's cookbook, she is able to re-discover the happiness in her life.  Laurent wants to be more than a friend and becomes a very important part of her family life.

Both women are faced with huge obstacles brought about by war but both are stronger than they realize and able to find their way to happiness through their baking.  The women were both very well-written and  Micheline was more like her grandmother than she ever realized.

Warning -- Don't read this book if you are hungry.  The author has included recipes for some fantastic desserts that will make your mouth water.  If you are a really good baker, you might even want to try some of the recipes.  I am not a good baker but went on a search for a French bakery in my area.

This fantastic and well-researched is a book that you don't want to miss.  It's about family and love, community and friends, and has the perfect ingredients to make this a fantastic book. 

Buy A Bakery in Paris at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  You can connect with her on Facebook.

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