Member Reviews

A group of adults sign up for a cooking course in France. Some are there to learn and some are there to escape life. Cooking soothes the soul, so they say, but will it soothe all that ails this group?

Well written and truly touching. I enjoyed the more than I thought I was going to.

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I loved Caroline James’ The Cruise, but I think I like The French Cookery School even more. The author draws on her extensive knowledge of recipes and celebrity chefs for this title and I found that I wanted to be included as a guest at some of the meals described.

It took me a few chapters to get to grips with the many characters in this book but once I had, I loved living the cookery school students’ experiences in France at the exclusive La Maison du Paradis the venue for the course.

The characters of this novel rapidly get under your skin with their own unique back stories adding to the action. I found myself wishing I was as flamboyant as Fran, although I think if I could choose I would be Sally with a healthy dose of Fran thrown into the mix.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, but just to warn you – it may make you hungry with all the talk about food.

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A delightful summer read with all the right ingredients! Full of love, laughter and finding relationships when you least expect it

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This book took me quite some time to finish.. I felt that it moved slowly in its plot and character development. I also thought that if these students were going to a cookery school for a week that there would be a lot more cooking involved! There certainly was a lot of eating and traveling to sites and restaurants.

I received this ARC from the publisher for my honest opinion. This book wasn’t for me, but the characters were well developed and it ended well.

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I really enjoyed this book. It was light and fun to read. The food was described in great detail. I loved all the characters. Great ending. If I could add one thing would be to include a few of the recipes at the back of the book.

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The recipe for a fabulous Caroline James novel

Step 1: Have Caroline James write the novel, which she did in this case with total accomplishment, and had me feeling as though I really had been to a cookery school in France.

Step 2: Have a fabulous group of characters attend the cookery school.. Well we certainly had those, a huge variety of those more advanced in age, including Caroline and Fran who are worlds apart. Caroline is our main character, and it took me a while to fully warm to her, whereas Fran, who Caroline seems to dislike instantly, was incredibly likeable.

Step 3: Ah handsome men, well there were certainly a few of those including Waltho the host of the course, plus the celebrity chef and his assistant. I really enjoyed getting to know Waltho, and spent a fair bit of the story with my fingers crossed that he would end up with the ending he deserved. And it was better than I would have imagined.

Step 4: Fill a book with food, friendship, and trips into the local area in France. I loved the excursions almost as much as I loved the food descriptions. And there was plenty of both of those!

Step 5: Mix all of the above up, in a carefully considered way, in order to produce a truly entertaining story, that seemed to have emotions, drama and a whole lot of heart and love.

Step 6: Pick this book up off the shelf and devour it, enjoying every last word, just like I did! It can't fail!

Thank you to One More Chapter and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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Thank you to @rachelsrandomresources for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Another absolute corker by Caroline. I loved the previous books by her and this one didn’t disappoint either. Once I started, it was hard to put down.

We meet Fran and Caroline at the airport, and they couldn’t be more different. You could tell straight away they weren’t going to get on, despite Fran’s repeated attempts. There are so many characters that are simply fabulous dotted throughout, and no bad ones! The week progresses and so much happens, certainly not a dull moment!

A bit predictable in places, but an excellent cosy read that comes with one warning - do not read when hungry!!

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Having loved the previous book I had read by this author I was eager to read this one and it didn’t disappoint. Loved the eclectic mix of characters and the fact that we got to see some characters back from the previous novel the cruise.

Loved the descriptions of the setting and of the food as it made you feel like you were there in person soaking up the sunshine and atmosphere while reading.

This was a story of finding happiness and friendships when you least expect to and how it is never too late to follow your dream.

If you are looking for an uplifting and escapism read then I highly recommend.

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I absolutely loved this book, particularly the friendships that develop between the women on the cookery course. The descriptions of the food and French countryside are beautiful. It would make a great holiday read for anyone going to France, and it brightened up a couple of grey days in England for me!

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With a great bunch of characters and a beautiful setting this is about finding friendship and second chances with a bit of romance thrown in. All the characters had their own stories of which the details come out throughout this. This group of very different and interesting individuals come together for a week to attend a French cookery school at La Maison du Paradis. It is hosted by Waltho who has his own reasons for opening up his home , with top chef Daniel doing the teaching. I found this had love, laughter and some quite serious moments but overall it’s such a lovely, heartwarming read that shows the best in others and how when needed everyone can pull together. One thing that does appeal to me in Caroline James’s books are how many of her characters are more ‘mature’ and how she proves in her writing that you don’t have to be young to have fun! Many thanks to One More Chapter and Netgalley for the ARC

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In this fast-paced, fun-packed novel, I loved being transported to La Maison du Paradis, where the cast of mature characters came together to create tantalising culinary delights that were as sumptuous as the beautiful French setting.

The new and recurring characters were likeable and created a good mix. I enjoyed watching them develop through the novel as their reasons for attending the cookery school were revealed, and they faced their personal difficulties.

With a perfect blend of humour, heart, and realism, The French Cookery School was my favourite Caroline James novel to date (and I have greatly enjoyed many of her previous novels). Proving that it's never too late to find joy, fulfilment, and a sense of purpose, the story left me with a big smile and a sense of warmth.

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The French Cookery School by Caroline James is a positively delightful contemporary novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.
All the characters were well drawn, realistic and likable. They were an eclectic mix who traveled from England to the French cookery school. There are larger than life characters, salt of the earth characters, a brow beaten woman, a newly widowed woman and more, plus a Michelin starred chef and the owner. Everyone has a back story.
We witness that branching out alone after losing a partner to cancer, takes much bravery, as the late partner’s dream is realised. As he lets a little light in, he finds the strength to live again.
The reader cannot help but like a bubbly northern lass who always has a smile and a kind word. She is hoping for a long-held dream to become a reality.
Our hearts break for a character who has been forever squashed by her husband who is a philanderer and a gambler. She fears the future. She is also caught in the grip of anorexia. A near miss helps her to open her eyes to the possibility that the second half of her life can be better than the first.
Caroline James really treats the reader’s senses. Our taste buds are tantalisingly tempted by the cuisine. Our eyes and ears are awakened to the vibrant French landscape.
The French Cookery School is a really fun, light-hearted read, with characters who are the other side of sixty. There are some serious themes too, which are counter balanced by the carefree nature and camaraderie of the French cookery school. I loved it.
I received a free copy via Rachel’s Random Resources for a blog tour. A favourable review was no required. All opinions are my own.
A note to readers: if you are affected by any of the themes, please talk to someone and get help.

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Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to the cookery school in France that Caroline James sent me on.

I loved the characters, each one different, funny and friendly. It was so nice to be surrounded by them and enjoying the gorgeous dishes they prepared.

The setting was also gorgeous, made you feel as though you was there too.

The perfect book for a holiday read.

I highly recommend this book.

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This was a fun, quick read!

Loved the setting, the mansion sounded gorgeous and the idea of a cookery school there sounds like a Hallmark movie! The characters were just that - a bunch of fun, interesting characters. Fran was hilarious, but caring. Sally was fun to get to know. They all blended together at the school perfectly and make a fun story! They all come with their problems and find their solutions, it's a caring group.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.

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In The French Cookery School, author Caroline James serves up a delectable tale that blends the perfect ingredients for a summer read. Set against the picturesque backdrop of a luxurious cookery school in France, this novel takes readers on a culinary adventure filled with laughter, love, and delicious recipes.

Step by step, James expertly crafts a narrative that begins with the mixing together of a diverse group of characters. From mature students seeking new beginnings to a handsome host and a seasoned celebrity chef, each character adds their own flavor to the story. As the plot simmers, tensions rise, friendships form, and unexpected romances bloom.

At the heart of the story is Waltho Williams, who opens the doors of his beautiful French home, La Maison du Paradis, in a bid to turn his dwindling funds into a successful cookery school. Alongside him are a cast of characters including divorcee caterer Caroline, warm-hearted Fran, and food journalist Sally, each with their own motivations and dreams.

As the group navigates their culinary challenges and personal dramas, readers are treated to a delightful feast of emotions and experiences. From the sizzle of a hot pan to the delicate rise of a soufflé, James' vivid descriptions bring the world of French cuisine to life on the page.

But beyond the delicious dishes and picturesque settings, The French Cookery School also serves up a poignant exploration of friendship, resilience, and the pursuit of dreams. Through laughter and tears, the eclectic group of characters learns valuable lessons about life, love, and the importance of following one's passion.

With its irresistible blend of romance, humor, and mouthwatering recipes, The French Cookery School is sure to leave readers as delighted as I was.

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The French Cookery School is a life-affirming story of second chances for our cast of 50+ characters set in the heat of Franch in the mid-summer, as well as the heat of the kitchen. Our main characters, and there are really four of them (Fran, Sally, Caroline and Waltho), all have their own struggles to overcome or ambitions to achieve, which sets the scene for a story of facing grief and loss and moving beyond the comfort of how lives have been led for so many years.

It is an engaging, quick read that is sure to appeal to fans of cookery, France, and second-chance stories who are looking for a more 'serious' take on the genre.

(With all that said, this novel is not a comedy—I am unsure why it's even described as a rom-com because it's not light-hearted or funny. As such, while I can praise the story, I am a bit annoyed that it's not, as they say, 'what it says on the tin.' I was expecting some light-hearted humour mixed in with some cookery lessons - this story is certainly not that, and I wouldn't have chosen to read it if I'd known it wasn't a comedy.)

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alright. this book was real good. i super enjoyed it. the characters are chef's kiss. the plot is mr. darcy level fantastic. the writing is tortured poets department wonderful. all the things and more for this book. read it!!!

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Caroline James has brought me on the best summer holidays to a little French cookery school with a cast of characters who were funny, warm and well rounded! I could almost see the northern humour and the southern reticence - I really enjoyed spending time with them. The location is vividly drawn, so much so, that this is like a lovely holiday with humour and heart thrown in as part of the package.
Bravo Caroline James - a fantastic summer read - one for the beach bag for sure!

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I have previously read another book by this author and I enjoy the fact that she uses 'mature' people to be the characters in her stories. It shows that they can still follow their dreams no matter what age. I loved that an ageing tabby cat is also an important character! What completes the book is having a '12 months later' section which brings the story strands to completion. This is a really great book and I'd highly recommend it.

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A fun light read set in a part of France I know well from visiting friends in the region annually. Caroline really captures the essence of the area and I found myself visiting Montmorillon and St Savin with the characters. A diverse set of older characters from extrovert northern Fran to reserved Londoner Caroline, one seems to know them already from general life. They all meet at a cookery school in idyllic surroundings with glorious weather, lavender and, of course, food and wine in abundance. Lots of personal issues amongst the group but they find their way resulting in an utterly joyous heartwarming read. This is the first book I've read by Caroline James but it certainly won't be the last as it was a very relaxing read, ideal for holiday or when one wants a break from more intense books

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