Online Book Club Review

The Mysterious Bakery On Rue de Paris (7) - Copy  Check out the latest review for The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris by The Online Book Club. Then get your copy for just £1 on Amazon!

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.

UK Customers – Download my book for 99p!

The Mysterious Bakery On Rue de Paris (7) - Copy  From tomorrow (Monday 25th August), you can download The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris on Amazon UK for 99p!

The last few days of summer are always a bit gloomy, so I’m turning that frown upside down with a Kindle Countdown Deal 🙂  Forget the fact that the weather is getting decidedly chillier and the evenings shorter; think of all the wonderful things in store.  The kids are going back to school – hurray!  (I mean, aw, poor little mites) and mercifully that damned ice-cream van will no longer pollute our ear-drums with the clanging chime of ‘Popeye The Sailor Man’ as it drones around the housing estates.  The crisp and cosy season of Autumn lies ahead which means woodland walks shuffling through the fallen leaves, gathering blackberries for jam and getting stuck into a good book.

Cue the Kindle Countdown Deal!  Just for UK customers this time (now, now US, you had your turn) and for one week only, you can get your copy of The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris for just 99p.  So even if you’ve blown your budget on a new Autumn wardrobe or a last minute trip to the sun, you’ll still have a few pence left to download the intriguing story of a young woman who sets off to Paris in search of adventure, only to find that all is not as it seems and basements are sometimes better left unexplored…

Reviews of The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris

Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

When writers are asked, ‘Where do you get your inspiration from?’ and they reply with a vague, ‘Oh everywhere and anywhere really’, they’re actually telling the truth. You never know where your next idea will come from and more often than not, it finds its roots in some throw-away comment or idea that just manages to cling onto your imagination. A newspaper headline; a passing remark on a TV show; or a piece of gossip you heard on the bus, can lodge itself in your subconscious and present itself as a story begging to be told, just when you least expect it.

medium_307745952  This was exactly the case for The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris. A few years ago, I stumbled across a cookery show by Trish Deseine, an Irish woman who moved to Paris and embraced French food and culture wholeheartedly. Being a huge fan of both food and France I figured, what’s not to like?! Anyway, during one of her shows, she saunters around Paris sharing her favourite spots for shopping and eating. Then she points out a bakery, famed for its secrecy and delicious breads, whose patrons include the A-list of Parisien society. I can’t remember the story entirely, but apparently no-one was seen either entering or leaving. It was an old stone building with a basement entrance and there was something very mysterious about its clandestine operations.

A half-forgotten story about a mysterious bakery waited patiently at the back of my mind for years. Finally, I decided to write a short story about it, but it just didn’t seem to work. Then along came NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) and I seized the opportunity to breathe new life into the story. Writing a novel in thirty days is a daunting task, but it certainly focuses the mind! My bakery took on a life of its own, and lots of new characters to tell the tale. I decided to set my novel in a town that lies one hour north of Paris – the town of Compiègne, which is full of history and has very strong connections with World War II. Even though this book is not in the ‘Time-Slip’ genre like my first novel, there are still a lot of historical elements in the book and Compiègne seemed like the perfect location for the story to unfold. I really enjoy tracing the influence of the past through my stories and exploring its effects on my characters, and so the bakery’s story really begins during Nazi Germany’s occupation of France.

I also wanted this book to retain a light-hearted quality and I relished being able to describe the culture shock that is ‘la vie en France’. Having lived in Toulouse for a year in my twenties, I had a lot of personal experience to draw from. My protagonist, Edith, also brings a lot of warmth and humour to the story. A woman in her thirties, who is trying desperately to recapture her ‘student years’ by flitting off to a job in Paris, but needless to say, nothing goes according to plan (which is usually when you have the most fun!)

The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris is a blend of all my pleasures in life: Pastries, travel, history and a good old fashioned story about finding yourself, your bliss and hopefully, some romance. Where do you find your ideas and how do you translate them into your writing? I’d love to know 🙂


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The Joy Of E-reading

I read a great article recently in my local Galway Advertiser newspaper written by Des Kenny, a long-respected book shop proprietor in Galway City about the advent of the E-Reader.  You can read it here.  As a writer, the opportunities arising from the growth in popularity of E-books has opened a whole new world of self-publishing, that gives the author a direct route to the reader.  E-books have changed the face of publishing, but what does this mean for the reader?

While the E-book has been around for a quite a few years already, many people are still getting to grips with E-readers such as Kindle and Kobo.  Being of a certain vintage myself, my love of print books is also deep-rooted and I doubted whether that connection would ever be swayed by advances in technology.  However I quickly became hooked and I now see E-readers not as a threat to books, but as just another tool to make reading more convenient.  As Mr. Kenny writes, most people catch up on their reading lists while on holidays, so the most convenient way to travel with your books is to load them onto your E-reader.

However that is just the tip of the iceberg.  E-books are significantly cheaper to buy and instantly available to download.  Also, there are hundreds of thousands of E-books out there that just aren’t available in traditional bookshops.  You still can’t beat a trip to the local bookshop for a mooch, because that’s the kind of sensory experience you just can’t get in an online bookstore.  (Especially in Kenny’s!)  So again, it’s a matter of choice.

But then I watch my niece (who has a voracious appetite for books) switch seamlessly from her worn old paperback favourites like Enid Blyton to her beloved Louisa May Alcott on her Kindle.  For her, there is no distinction between page and screen, just a story to be discovered and rediscovered.  So it seems to me that one does not replace the other, but as with most modern conveniences, the E-reader simply offers us more choice.

Speaking of choice, it’s worth doing some research into which brand of E-reader you would like to buy, as you will be purchasing all of your E-books through that distributor.  Irish author David Gaughran’s article Amazon Holds Back The Growth Of E-Books Around The World makes for very interesting reading in this regard.  But whatever your device, The Cross Of Santiago is available to buy in all formats – the choice is yours!

For Free Or Not For Free…

We’ve all seen them, perhaps even downloaded a few, but do we ever read them?  Free ebooks, whether they are part of the Kindle Select program or a promotional drive, are a controversial aspect of self-publishing.

As a new author, it’s a difficult decision to make.  Do I list my book with Kindle Select and give it away for free for a couple of days, thereby boosting my title in the sales ranks and hopefully increasing my profile?  It’s a tantalising carrot to dangle in front of a newbie, but the real figures would suggest that these kind of promotions do not have a lasting impact.  Many authors report a drop in rankings as soon as the promotion ends, meaning that they’ve just given away hundreds or thousands of free copies to eBook hoarders, who may not even read their book, never mind leave a review.  Of course there are the success stories out there, authors who blind you with algorithms and whatnots, swearing by the success they’ve enjoyed after having given their book away for free.  There is evidence that free days can work for books that are part of a series, but who’s got time to write a series, eh?!

I believe there is a much greater argument here, that of value.  If every new author feels pressured to give their book away for free, readers will start to expect free books.  Eventually, this could mean a world where readers are unwilling to pay for books, which would be very bad news for anyone trying to make a living out of writing.  Too much free content threatens to devalue the whole business of writing.  If a reader sees a book priced at 99 cents or less, they will automatically assume that the book isn’t’ worth much.  However, if a book is priced from 2.99 to 4.99 (the alleged ‘sweet spot’ for eBooks), there is a belief that this book is ‘worth’ something, that the author believes in this work and has priced it accordingly.

Still, the bottom line is sales and let’s face it, after spending X amount of months or years writing a novel, you want people to read it.  Which means sales.  And if the world and its dog are telling you that the only way to increase your sales is to give your book away for free at the start, you’re bound to be tempted.  Still, I have decided that this is not the route for me.  Of course I’ll be giving away some free copies as part of my book launch and tour, I’m not Scrooge after all!  But listing my book on Amazon for free?  That would be inconceivable.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this… have you tried the freebie route and has it worked for you?