"A tasty blend of romance, mystery, and French cooking."--Margaret Atwood, via Twitter The French Riviera, spring 1936: It's off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Cafe Paradis. Read more...
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"A tasty blend of romance, mystery, and French cooking."--Margaret Atwood, via Twitter The French Riviera, spring 1936: It's off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Cafe Paradis. A mysterious new patron who's slipped out of Paris and is traveling under a different name has made an unusual request--to have his lunch served to him at the nearby villa he's secretly rented, where he wishes to remain incognito. Pablo Picasso is at a momentous crossroads in his personal and professional life--and for him, art and women are always entwined. The spirited Ondine, chafing under her family's authority and nursing a broken heart, is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites. Her encounter with Picasso will continue to affect her life for many decades onward, as the great artist and the talented young chef each pursue their own passions and destiny. New York, present day: Celine, a Hollywood makeup artist who's come home for the holidays, learns from her mother, Julie, that Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso. Prompted by her mother's enigmatic stories and the hint of more family secrets yet to be uncovered, Celine carries out Julie's wishes and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met. In the lush, heady atmosphere of the Cote d'Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, Celine discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future. Featuring an array of both fictional characters and the French Riviera's most famous historical residents, set against the breathtaking scenery of the South of France, Cooking for Picasso is a touching, delectable, and wise story, illuminating the powers of trust, money, art, and creativity in the choices that men and women make as they seek a path toward love, success, and joie de vivre. Praise for Cooking for Picasso "Intrigue, art, food, and deception are woven together in a tale of love and betrayal around the life and legacy of Picasso. Touching and true, this well-written narrative made me long for my mother's coq au vin and for the sun of Juan-les-Pins."--Jacques Pepin, chef, TV personality, author "Intriguing and insightful, the sensory details alone will have you thinking you're reading the pages seated at a seaside cafe in the South of France."--Susan Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life " A] delicious, atmospheric novel . . . You'll be glad you're along for the ride."--People (Pick for "The Best New Books") " A] colorful family saga . . . Cooking for Picasso is . . . about how people take what seems to be worthless and make it into something priceless. . . . The characters in Camille Aubray's debut novel illustrate . . . that value lies not in what you own, but in who you are."--The Washington Post "This richly crafted tale of love, trust, art and food is wonderfully evocative of the sun-kissed Cote d'Azur, while weaving in a modern-day mystery. . . . Ideal for whiling away some time en vacances on the Riviera."--France Today " A] sweet summer escape."--Cosmopolitan
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-27
- Reviewer: Staff
In 1936, Céline’s grandmother Ondine Belange was a beautiful 17-year-old girl living in a tiny village in the south of France. The daughter of café owners, Ondine is sent to cook for a mysterious man who has rented a villa in Juan-les-Pins. When the temperamental 54-year-old turns out to be Pablo Picasso, known to have intense love affairs, Ondine’s life (and ultimately Céline’s) is changed forever, especially once she begins posing for him. In the modern day, Céline has come to France under the guise of taking a cooking class to search for the painting that her mother has told her Picasso gave her grandmother. She enlists the help of a celebrity chef, Gil Halliwell, to look for the painting that she is sure holds the key not only to her past but her future. The novel alternates between Ondine’s encounters with Picasso and the repercussions of that brief affair, and Céline’s adventures with cooking, love, and history along the Mediterranean. Both plot lines include a romance—one too sensationalized and one that climaxes without enough buildup. The real meat in this novel is the details (both real and imagined) of Picasso’s fascinating life. (Aug.)