At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.
But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.
Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.
The story in this book alternates between 1988 in England and 1910 in Paris.
In 1910 we have Gui and his story, whilst in 1988 we have Petra an academic who find amongst her deceased Grandfathers papers a photograph from Paris in 1910.
To begin with I found it a little slow in 1988 and was glad when the book went back to 1910, but slowly the pace picks up in 1988 as the mystery deepens and Petra becomes a sleuth. I did find there was equal suspense in each of the decades and a cliffhanger ending left you want more.
I presume the author chose the 1980s as with modern day technology and social media this mystery would have been solved much quicker! So the 1980s suits the pace of the tale and has a little mystery of its own too.
I loved the social history aspect of the book regarding Paris in 1910 - so much that we take for granted today was simply a scandal back then. I was also glad I had watched the Great British Bake Off as otherwise I would simply not have been able to visualise some of the patisserie that were created other than choux buns.
All in all a good tale with an ending that I will not spoil for you. Suffice to say it had a sweet little twist!
My thanks to Netgalley for a free e copy of the book to review.