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Carol Cram
Author
Love Among the Recipes

When a foodie with abandonment issues flees to Paris to escape her failed marriage, she rediscovers love in all its flavors.

Paris may be for lovers, but cookbook author Genna McGraw is definitely not looking for love. She’s looking for escape and she's looking for a good runny Brie to pair with a smooth Bordeaux. Where better than Paris?

In Love Among the Recipes, Genna goes to the City of Light to get away from her philandering husband and write a “crossover cookbook/guidebook” that matches Parisian sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre with recipes for bistro-style French dishes. All goes well…for a while. Genna dabbles in romance with dishy French lawyer Pierre Leblanc and makes friends at her French class with New York transplant Marsha Renfrew.

And then there’s big, blunt Bill Turner from Australia. Does he really eat crocodile steaks for tea?

But when Genna’s family crashes her new life in Paris, a crisis forces her to choose how she wants to live. Will she have the courage to embrace an uncertain future and risk losing everything?

 

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Quirky meets the genteel in this dynamic book about art, food, and ultimately, expression. Cram’s writing interacts with its reader on many levels: the author’s narrative of Genna’s life in Paris and the character’s narrative created for culinary enthusiasts. A world exists within the texts, where Genna is inside the contextual world, but continues to reach out.

Prose/Style: The Australian and British slang, mixed with the French exchanges, season the book with a cultural breadth, similar to Roddy Doyle’s narratives and their Irish lingo. As Genna interprets ingredients through art, the words undergo a metamorphosis, where their meanings nimbly shift in translation and function.

Originality: Revealing impressive knowledge of her topics, Cram’s combination between art and food creates a lovely unity, where culinary art, sculptures, and paintings are all connected. With an impressive amount of art history and flavor combinations, readers will eagerly digest every word, while still walking away with empty stomachs and awaiting recipes.

Character Development/Execution: Genna is wholly relatable, and therefore, instantly likable—a tainted past, lofty dreams, and a dogged disbelief in obtaining them. She is obstinate yet sheepish, an ordinary woman that manifests her Parisian fantasies.

Date Submitted: April 29, 2021

Reviews
Cram (The Muse of Fire) serves up a deliciously inspiring romance. When cookbook author Genna McGraw learns of her husband’s infidelity, she hightails it to Paris, where she spends six months researching her newest project, a travel cookbook pairing recipes with Parisian landmarks. Genna quickly hits it off with a group of friends who encourage, assist, and inspire each other. Among them is Australian widower Bill Turner, who quickly becomes Genna’s love interest. Things get a little sticky when Genna’s adult children, Becky and Michael, unexpectedly show up in Paris, as neither knows about their father’s infidelity and instead think it was their mother who betrayed the marriage. Cram pulls off the familial conflict with more quirky humor than heartache, as the usually sour Becky is quickly won over by Bill, and Michael falls for Tessa, Genna’s protégé in the kitchen. Loaded with wit and charm, Cram’s bighearted romance successfully balances unassuming characters and raw passions. This fabulous jaunt through the City of Lights will leave readers breathless and longing for more from Cram. (Self-published)

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