At 35, Edith Lane feels like life is passing her by. Having recently lost her mother and working a dead-end waitressing job, she feels like her life is going nowhere. In the throes of a midlife crisis, Edith responds to an advertisement for the job of a manager at a little bakery in Compiègne, France.
Believing she will be starting a new life in Paris, Edith packs up her belongings and leaves her home of Ireland for the first time to board a plane to France. However, her dream is quickly shattered when she arrives in Paris to discover Compiègne is actually one hour north and not in the City of Love at all.
Edith gets off to a rocky start with her boss, Madame Moreau, who’s cold demeanor makes Edith regret her decision to leave Ireland and her father behind. Despite the cold welcoming, she befriends a local French hairstylist, Nicole, and her husband Johnny, and meets an attractive man whom she quickly falls for.
Just as Edith is feeling like she’s settling in and making a life for herself, she learns her new boss may have some secrets that threaten to take that away and an even bigger secret that Edith struggles to believe. Will Edith be able to overcome her fears and help her seemingly distant boss or will she run back to the safety of Ireland, leaving the mysterious bakery behind?
I liked this book a lot, although it did have a slow beginning. I struggled at first to get into the book and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish. I also initially didn’t really like Edith; I thought she whined too much and made everything into a bigger deal than necessary, however, as the story went on I really grew to love her and all the other characters as well.
The character development for Madame Moreau is the most impressive because once the reader learns about her history everything begins to make sense and the reader can really understand why she seems to hold everyone at arm’s length.
What I loved most about the book was the description of this tiny town in France. I could almost see the old, antique houses, cobblestone alleyways and the cozy cafés serving fresh cheese, baguettes, and wine. It was these descriptions that really began to draw me into the story.
Once I got into it and, along with Edith, began to uncover the history of Compiègne and of Madame Moreau I found there was much more to this story than I thought. It is about love, dedication, family, and friendship and despite the bumps along the way gave the happy ending I was hoping for.
Overall, I’d rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The reason I give it that rating is because I did find the beginning a bit slow and some parts a little unbelievable, but I still think it was a sweet story that ultimately made me smile at the end. This book would be ideal for someone who likes a bit of mystery alongside romance, but also travel as well.