Member Reviews

Set in the beautiful Perigord region of south western France, The French Cookery School brings together an eclectic mix of characters. The story is light and humerous throughout, but it is also a story to immerse yourself in. The characters are wonderful and author Caroline James has obviously had a lot of fun creating each of them. Waltho Williams, lapsed artist and owner of the beautiful Maison Du Paradis where the cookery school is located is a generous and caring host who is easy to like and empathise with. I didn’t warm to Caroline Carrington at first. She comes across as entitled and a snob, however as the story unfolds, it is clear there is much more to Caroline and her behaviour than first meets the eye. Francesca, a brash but lovable fish and chip store owner, is an absolute hoot, but she is also passionate about learning how to be a chef, no matter her mistakes along the way. Michelin-starred chef Daniel Douglas de Beer is another character that didn’t appeal to me at first, and to be honest, his transition from aloof to likeable was a bit abrupt. The story itself kept me turning the pages. It ended with a satisfying happily ever after for one couple and the possibility of something in the future for two other characters. All in all, this has been a very enjoyable read.

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I was so excited to read this one as I went on a cookery course last year and absolutely loved it. Although it was only for a day and in Yorkshire, rather than in France.

This is a hug of a book. It’s probably a bit of a cliché to say it made me want to pack my bags and go on a cookery holiday in France, but it really did! There is a lot of food in this book – as you can guess from the title – and this was one reason I enjoyed it as I’m a bit of a foodie. But I also loved the French setting and the characters – they were very relatable. Waltho especially stole my heart – what a dear man. Caroline’s writing is easy to read and fun, and whilst this would be a good novel to take on holiday with you, it’s also an excellent choice on a grey and rainy day when you feel in need of a bit of escapism.

Thank you for the ARC. I was delighted to be part of the blog tour for this book.

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This book had a fun cast of characters with a lot of heart, who all supported each other so much. Each person had a satisfying conclusion to their individual story lines. I would love to see a movie adaptation of this book!

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Waltho Williams has no idea what he’s letting himself in for when he opens the doors to his beautiful French home, La Maison du Paradis. But with dwindling funds, a cookery school seems like the perfect business plan…

Divorcée caterer Caroline needs to be able stand on her own two feet. While warm-hearted Fran hopes to help her beloved husband fulfil his lifelong dream. And for food journalist Sally it’s a PR opportunity – until a certain celebrity chef gets under her skin…

But will the eclectic group be a recipe for success, or will the mismatched relationships sink like a souffle?

This was such a lovely and fun book. Easy to read, fast paced which transported me to La Maison du Paradis and the French countryside. This book is a great, relaxing read perfect for a summer read. It will not disappoint.

Thank youto Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC.

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Such a cute read. Loved the setting, could imagine myself being at the cookery school. The characters are very different with various reasons to be there. Enjoyed it a lot.

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It really felt like I spent a week in France at a cooking school with a celebrity chef and lots of special characters. Sadly I did not feel as engaged with these characters as I had with characters in Caroline's previous books and I did not laugh as much, but I still really enjoyed the story and was moved by it.
There were moments where what was happening was so easy to picture and had me giggling, but overall it was just a gentle read about mature characters having a break from their own lives while they learn to cook with a celebrity chef and meanwhile gain new friends and do some self discovery.

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A fun sweet read! Highly recommend.

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for my ARC.

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Review for 'The French Cookery School' by Caroline James

Wow!! Check out this absolutely heartwarming , fun and perfect summer read!!!

I absolutely loved this absolutely fantastic feel good book! Caroline's evocative writing skills ensures the reader disappears into the storyline with the are and characters coming ito life all around you. She leaves you smelling the delicious foods, feeling the sun on your skin and leaves you with a smile on your face and feeling much lighter and happier than before you started. It is one of those books that are rammed with feel good moments, laughter fun, friendship and absolutely everything that you could ever want in an addictive must read! The storyline is realistic and down to earth and the setting is picturesque. I was absolutely sucked in from the first to the last page of this laugh out loud feel good page turner. On several occasions I had to remind myself I was actually in the house and not in France myself as I was that lost in the storyline!! It is one of those books that I just could not put down and I ended up walking around with my kindle glued to my hands. Every time I thought I will just read one more chapter and then get on with some chores it ended in a way that there was no way I could leave it there so I had to read another and then the same happened until I very sadly came to the last page and its absolutely fantastic ending. I genuinely felt like I was on holidays and I was devastated when I came to the end and realised I'd have to pack my suitcase to leave the beautiful surroundings in France. Each and every one of the characters are strong and realistic and thanks to Caroline's evocative writing skills they all came to life, jumping of the pages and sucking me deep into their lives. Whether I loved them or hated them they all came together to make a perfect story.

A stunning story of friendship, romance, second chances and being true to yourself. I absolutely love, love, LOVED it!!

The characters are all realistic, a mix of strong personalities, memorable and larger than life. They had completely different personalities but they compliment each other perfectly. Each of the characters that came on the cooking class had completely different personalities when they left it and I absolutely LOVED IT!! All of these characters and more make this an unforgettable, stunning book that will have you putting on your sun cream, grabbing yourself a cocktail and being whisked away on a fun filled French Cookery class! They all came to life before my eyes and I am really hoping we get to meet them all again!!!

Caroline congratulations on an absolutely fantastic novel and this is why you are om my top author list. Your book is a page turning laugh out loud and soul lifting success and I cannot wait to get stuck into more of your books!

Overall an absolutely gorgeous book that will whisk you off on a cruise ship and lift your heart and spirit. A page turning, addictive compelling novel that will leave you wanting more

#TheFrenchCookerySchool #CarolineJames #OneMoreChapter #RachelsRandomResources #rararesources
@CarolineJames @OneMoreChapter @Netgalley @RachelsRandomResources @rararesources

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This ragtag group of people come together to learn cooking from a famous chef at a luxury cooking school. Add a hot chef and you have an adventure. Everyone brings their own baggage along for the ride. This was just exceptional! I was sad when it was over as I wanted to keep reading about these characters. There is laughter, joy, pain, everything you could possibly want in a story that was impossible to put down.

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An absolutely delightful read, filled with interesting characters and their back stories.
For various reasons they've all enrolled in a cookery course at a French cookery school. As the days go we learn more about each character. Particularly loved Fran.
Really enjoyed this book and was sad when it finished. It was not without drama, humour and a little intrigue. Highly recommend

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The idea of going to France to take a cooking class is very appealing. At a lovely old estate is even more appealing. The students were all about my age so I could sympathize with the point of life & some wondering what to do next. There were characters I liked and others I didn't. The local students weren't delved into, just called expats. I saw myself in 2 of the characters, Caroline & Bridgette, especially so I was interested in their endings. Fran was too much for me & I'm not sure I could have cozied up to her like the others did. I dinged a star for the way I thought the plot plodded along & I expected more cooking. I think they spent too much time outside of the kitchen for a supposedly expensive trip.

#Netgalley #TheFrenchCookerySchool #CarolineJames #OneMoreChapter #contempary #cooking #France

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A well written and engaging story, the characters and their different traits are enjoyable. With serious elements and good humour. A great weekend read.

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Books involving baking and food should come with warnings to arm yourself with copious amounts of sugary snacks whilst reading.

This was such a fun read, I mean what could possibly go wrong with a bunch of people wanting to learn to cook? Poor old Waltho, he had no idea what he'd let himself in for.

It's got the whole Masterchef meets Bake Off vibe going on, with added hilarity and romance.

The characters are wonderful, the friendships made, the dialogue between them and their likability.

Thoroughly enjoyable and a delight to devour.

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If you want to travel to exotic destinations without leaving your comfort zone, Caroline James is the person to take you there.

This is a very funny story with quirky characters and hilarious scenes. It is captivating from start to finish as we are drawn into the lives of students/guests at the school.

With older characters, this book takes us on a journey to France where macarons, jelly beans and even a dashing car make an appearance.

There is vivid imagery of the village in Western France alongside some of the recipes and the cooking done.

You will fall in love with quirky and relatable characters with real life personalities, issues and problems.

If you love women’s fiction with a dash of romance then you will enjoy this.

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Waltho Williams lives in a beautiful home – La Maison du Paradis – in the small village of Poutaloux-Beauvoir in Western France. It is July and the opening of his French Cookery School. He has a Celebrity Chef – Daniel Douglas de Beers – from the Cotswolds to teach the classes, ably assisted by Sous chef Tomas, while Waltho himself has help from the hostess Angelique.
We soon get to know those on the week’s course, meeting some of them on the journey and others as they arrive. They are a mixed bunch and include:
Caroline Carrington, who is 61, from Kensington in London. She is getting a divorce from her husband Stanley and she owns a catering company.
Francesca (Fran) Cartwright, who is also 61, a loud and vibrant woman from Blackpool, who has been married to Sid for 40 years and owns a fish and chip shop/café.
Then we have identical twin sisters – Jeanette and Pearl - who own a gift shop in Bath.
Ahmed Singh – a slim, smartly dressed, retired dentist from Solihull.
Bridgette Haworth from Lancashire, a widow in her seventies, an expert gardener and owner of Flaxby Manor.
Sally Parker-Brown – a fifty-year-old journalist and food writer. She is single, has bright pink hair and is trying to get over splitting up from boyfriend Ross. She owns a Mercedes sports car and has a free place at the cookery school in exchange for writing some articles to get some publicity for Waltho’s new venture.
Everyone wants to get something out of the trip and it’s interesting following their journey and seeing how the week away changes them. There are a great mix of characters and I always love a book with older characters in it. I liked Fran straight away, as she is really down to earth and relatable. I found Caroline too snobby, she is hard to like at first as she turns her nose up at lovely Fran. But of course, things soon come to light and you understand why she is like this.
The story is set in France, of course and is very evocative, especially with the descriptions of the food and the pretty scenery in the area. I found it a bit too descriptive for my taste, with a lot of mention of how things looked and lots of details of flowers and sounds, but that’s just me.
There are lots of laughs in the book, many comedic moments and the reader feels a whole mixture of emotions as all the characters reveal more of themselves and their situations. It is definitely worth a read and some of the characters will stay with you a long time after you’ve read the last page.

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When I first read the blurb for The French Cookery School I just knew I needed to be on the blog tour and I was not disappointed! The story starts with a beautifully descriptive prologue which really made me feel like I was in the French countryside before jumping forward in time as we meet the cast of characters about to descend on the stunning La Maison du Paradis.

My favourite character was Fran from the get-go - she may be from Blackpool but she certainly appealed to my Essex girl heart! Caroline was a little bit more of a difficult character for me to like and it took me a while but by the third act, I really liked her (especially her realisation and transformation). Sally was a firm favourite too, any girl who drives around in a luxury sports car to get over her ex is always going to get me going 😂

I enjoyed watching Caroline go up against Fran and found their unlikely friendship to be really sweet. I could really tell how much Caroline needed a female friend who wasn't judgy or snobby!

Waltho himself is a delightful host and my heart really went out to him and the difficulties he was facing, I'd also love to see some of his artwork especially the special piece unveiled at the end 🥺

Its worth noting how amazing the descriptions of food is. Our cast spend a large amount of time in the kitchen cooking up dishes and also attending foodie excursions - I wouldn't read it on an empty stomach! Even the way an escargot dish was described sounded delicious.

The French Cookery School is a tale of self-acceptance and transformation, perfect for reading as the days get longer and the days get warmer (that might be wishful thinking with how rainy its been the last few weeks!). Definitely recommend if you're in the mood for a fun and heartwarming read.

Thank you to Caroline and Rachel's Random Resources for having me on the tour

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Widower Waltho Williams opens the doors of his home Le Maison du Paradis to the first French cookery school. Attending is an eclectic group of students who attend the initial cookery class with celebrity chef Daniel. They all came to the class for different reasons.

I loved the descriptions of the villa, the beautiful area of France, the cooking lessons, and the relationships among the students. The whole week sounded fun and made me want to sign up for a French cooking class. There was an eclectic group of characters, mostly senior citizens, warm and brash Fran, who runs a fish and chip shop with her husband, aloof Caroline, who’s getting over a loss of her own, glamorous puss Sally, who’s there to promote the class, widower Bridgette the twins and others. It was a great story of a group of strangers that got together for a cooking class and left changed. It was a funny story with some romance as well as some serious stories as well. I want to read more by this author and sign up for a cooking class in Europe as well.

Thanks to @harpercollinsuk @onechapter @rachelsrandomresources as well as the author for this ARC

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Set in beautiful France, this is an uplifting story about moving on and getting out of a rut. Vividly portrayed, senior characters , cook delicious food and learn about second chances.
An emotional and very enjoyable tale.

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Some books shouldn't be read on an empty stomach. Case in point: author Caroline James, in her newest novel The French Cookery School, plops a hodgepodge band of adult students at La Maison du Paradis, the titular school, and then lets the food start flowing. Chicken livers and chanterelles on toast. Steak au poivre with wilted spinach. Baked custard tart with strawberries. Cheese "from the region". Blini with cream cheese, cheese puffs, chocolate macarons, an assortment of other hors d'oeuvres, and buckets of wine, champagne, and even jelly babies. And that's just what's featured during the welcome banquet.

But, while James's rich descriptions throughout the book are mouthwatering, the dishes aren't the real meat here.

Instead, James leaves that up to her ragtag coterie of cooks. There's Caroline, somewhat posh and reserved, who wants a week in the French countryside as a distraction from her falling-apart life. Fran, loud and proud and the life of the party, wants to learn from the best to transform her fish and chip shop to a fine dining experience. Journalist Sally may be on assignment, but that won't stand in the way of some flirting and fun. While James mostly bounces around these viewpoints (along with the school's owner, Waltho), she rounds out the cast with a pair of twins, a retired dentist, a no-nonsense scouting leader, some various locals, and the celebrity chef they all hope to learn from. They're all a bit off-kilter, and James gives each of them a moment to shine—there's certainly drama galore in these pages—yet she also manages to keep things grounded. With alternating perspectives and so many roles, it would be easy to feel dizzy, but instead I found myself nothing short of charmed by this quirky bunch and their individual reasons for attending classes.

That might stem from James's commitment to cooking up such a perfect backdrop. Her lush descriptions aren't limited to the food, and the prologue alone, with its exploration of the house, had me ready to pack my bags for France. By a few chapters in, I could practically feel the warm summer breeze on my face and smell the abundance of lavender plants plotted around the property. Pretty remarkable since I'm writing from rainy Missouri, but James found a way to gently lull me into the story. Now if only I could taste the ravioli.

It's part of why I wasn't quite ready for this one to end. It's not that there's an abrupt ending—or that James left any loose threads. No, this is a technically sound novel. There are a ton of laughs, a hint of romance, and a heaping helping of heartfelt moments. But as each member of the group slowly found their way, with pages running out, I realized I wouldn't mind spending another entire book with them.

But all good books, just like all good meals, must come to an end. The French Cookery School is an utterly charming, completely satisfying read. Just maybe make sure you've had a quick snack before digging in.

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Walto Williams has opened his doors to his cookery school in his idylic French home. As with all of Caroline’s books we get to meet wonderful characters of the older generation.
We get to meet wonderful characters such as larger than life Fran who currently owns a fish and chip shop but wants to help her Husbands dream become a reality, journalist Sally who is there to review the cookery school and Caroline who has just found out her Husband wants a divorce.
During the book we get to understand the backgrounds of the characters and see friendships develop and understanding of how the past has impacted on them.
As with all of Caroline’s books she brings the characters to life so you feel you get to know them well and would love to be part of the group. Full of affection, new friendships, humour and of course lots of food I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend reading this book.
Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK for an advance copy and all opinions are my own.

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