I was one lucky lady to win a copy of Hidden in Paris , by Corine Gantz on the France Daily Photo blog (see here); not only was it a book I had wanted to read for a while and I’ve now got myself a signed copy, but also because it was a great read.
I will warn any of you gentlemen readers out there that it probably won’t be for you, but ladies you’ll love it. Hidden in Paris has a great mix of ‘screwed up’ (in the nicest possible way) characters, all running from something, who find themselves in the bosom of Annie’s house in Paris. Annie is lovely and I’m sure she and I would be great friends; she is a home bird who loves to cook (and to eat). But she too has issues to resolve in her life, and it’s the financial ones that she tackles by renting out rooms to strangers, offering them the chance to start over in Paris. Who could refuse an offer like that? In the six months they are together things change for them all as they learn to let go and move on in a bid to find happiness. It’s a book about life and Annie’s house coming back to life by filling it with other people.
Corrine writes about emotions with a heartfelt honesty that is very personal and raised the odd tear at times too. There is a sexy Frenchman on hand for flirtatious entertainment, but for a book set in Paris I would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been. It was the sort of book that had me agreeing to accompany Ade on a three hour round trip (to collect another iMac), just so I could get three sneaky hours reading in on a Saturday morning without feeling guilty! It is also about food, good home cooked family food. Which leads me onto Hidden in Paris -- The Cookbook , which I actually read before the novel - one of my better finds from trawling Amazon Kindle for anything with a French theme and also my first eCookbook. All the dishes in the cookbook appear somewhere in the novel. None of the recipes are difficult; from the humble croque-monsieur to the famous coq-au-vin to a scrumptious mousse au chocolat, they are simple French home cooking recipes, with photos too. I can really recommend getting both of these books together.