Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

"Welcome to the most celebrated patisserie competition in Paris – ready, steady, bake!

Watching snowflakes settle on the Eiffel Tower, Rachel Smithson’s cosy English village feels very far way – as, thankfully, does her commitment-phobic ex, probably already kissing someone else under the mistletoe. But Rachel hasn’t come to Paris to mope she’s come to bake. Hard.

Because the search for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice is about to begin! And super-chef judge Henri Salernes is an infamously tough cookie. But Rachel isn’t about to let her confidence (or pastry) crumble. She’s got one week, mounds of melt-in-the-mouth macaroons and towers of perfect profiteroles to prove that she really is a star baker.

As well as clouds of flour, and wafts of chocolate and cinnamon, there’s definitely a touch of Christmas magic in the air… Rachel hasn’t come to Paris looking for a fairy-tale romance, but the city of love might gift-wrap her one anyway…

Not even a dusting of icing sugar could make The Parisian Christmas Bake Off a more perfect Christmas treat!"

This is the second Jenny Oliver book I have read within a month, and the second one that I will advise you not to read whilst you are hungry!  Jenny Oliver is the best at writing about the most delicious creations.  There is another theme that links the two books as both see someone leaving the comfort of their own home in the lead up to Christmas because of a man!  You can read my review of the equally wonderful The Little Christmas Kitchen here.

I loved this festive delight from Jenny Oliver, as she whisks us off to Paris to conjure up some Christmas magic.  It is set mainly in the lead up to Christmas, as Rachel tries to avoid all things Christmassy, but part of the story takes us to the following summer.  I have to say it isn't the MOST christmassy book I have ever read, but there is plenty of snow and some festivities along the way. However, in my opinion, it could definitely be enjoyed at any time of the year though!

You do not need to have watched (and loved) The Great British Bake Off to enjoy this book.  Yes, it involves a cooking competition but you meet some wonderful characters along the way and the cooking delights are an added bonus.  As a girl who loves cake, they left me wishing I had my own Rachel Smithson to whisk me up some of her fabulous creations.

I found The Parisian Christmas Bake Off to be an emotional journey.  My eyes welled up so many times that I lost count and there were times when I found myself full on blubbing!  Jenny Oliver manages to combine the light and fluffy cakes and romance with the hard realities of real life exceptionally well.  This book in particular focuses on the loss of a parent and the way it changes not only you but also your relationship with the surviving parent as well as the relationship you tell yourself is fine when really you know, deep down, that it is not fine.

I was worried that this book might be "overly French" but it isn't, it is just perfect as it is.  The ideal book to settle down with this Christmas in front of a fire, on the sofa, with a large mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows and whipped cream) and a massive slice of cake.

If anything, this book ended too soon and I would have liked to have seen the ending elaborated slightly more.  I had not expected it to end so soon as the paperback I was reading had so many pages left but they are packed full of festive treats (a chat with Jenny, Jenny's childhood christmas memories, ten things Jenny loves about Christmas, some recipes from the book (!!!) and an extract from The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver)

Would you like to win yourself a copy of The Parisian Christmas Bake Off? Well it must be your lucky day, because a lovely lady at Carina UK has offered readers of Book - Love - Bug the chance to win a paperback copy this festive season. To be in with a chance of winning, follow the rafflecopter instructions below....

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have read her The Vintage Summer Wedding. I must admit it took me a while to get really into the story but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can relae to Anna a little as I too went of to start a new life, career elsewhere but eventually ended up back in my hometown when things didn't work out as planned!

  2. I've read The Vintage Summer Wedding and The Little Christmas Kitchen, both were lovely books xx

  3. I haven't read any of Jenny Oliver books yet,but this book would be great start :)
    Thanks for the lovely giveaway :)

  4. I am not familiar with her books so having read this review want to start. Off to Waterstones!

  5. Not read any yet but will now keep a look out. Happy New Year 3:)

  6. I have just finished reading The Vintage Summer Wedding - loved it! One of my favourite romantic books I have read for some time.

  7. I have had The vintage summer wedding bought me for christmas but havent yet started it, But looking at the reviews i will be starting it tonight

  8. i have been given The Vintage Summer Wedding and look forward to reading it soon


I'd love to hear what you think! Leave me a comment here: