Review: The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

A disgraced chef rediscovers her passion for food and her roots in this stunning novel rich in culture and full of delectable recipes.

French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she’s dreamed of.

Until her career goes up in flames.

Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.

My Thoughts:

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant est magnifique! This book is a joy to read. If you love food, you’ll love the book. If you love celebrating women’s achievements, you’ll love the book. If you love second chances—whether in love or life in general–you guessed it…you’ll love the book.

This is not a heavy-handed ode to feminism, but a fantastic celebration of women. It is a lovely story of Sophie, who happens to be a chef, and her grandmother Odette, who is a chef and entrepreneur. During the story set-up, Sophie seems rough around the edges. Just when she believes she is about to get closer to her dream, she is served a life-shattering dish of sabotage that sends her spiraling downwards. Her grandmother’s ill health seems like the nail in Sophie’s coffin, but it is the catalyst for a life-changing affirmation of Sophie’s past and present passions.

I loved how Sophie blossomed while under the influence of a positive and supportive group of women. I loved that the château was primarily operated by women. I loved that Sophie was finally surrounded by people who believed in and encouraged her. Sophie might not have achieved her goal, but she is clearly on the right track. The one thing I was hoping for but didn’t get my need for Odette and Sophie to thoroughly discuss Sophie’s mother and put that nightmare to rest, but peut être one doesn’t need to rehash the past in order to have a fantastic future.

About the Author: Samantha Vérant is a travel addict, a self-professed oenophile, and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, French chef. Over the years, she’s visited many different countries, lived in many places, and worked many jobs— always on the search for the one thing that truly excited her. Then, one day, she found everything she’s been looking for: a passion for the written word and true love. Writing not only enabled her to open her heart, it led her to southwestern France, where she’s now married to a sexy French rocket scientist she met over twenty years ago, a stepmom to two incredible kids, and the adoptive mother to one ridiculously adorable Charteux cat. When she’s not trekking from Provence to the Pyrénées, tasting wine in American-sized glasses, or embracing her inner Julia Child while deliberating what constitutes the perfect boeuf bourguignon, Samantha is making her best effort to relearn those dreaded conjugations.

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