After restaurant owner Aurélie Bredin’s boyfriend dumps her via a note to tell her he’s found the love of his life, Aurélie falls into a deep depression. One night while wandering near a bridge, a police officer confronts her, suspecting she is a jumper. When she hides from the officer in a small bookshop, Aurélie impulsively purchases a romantic novel. Later that night as she reads it from cover to cover, she discovers that she is the heroine of the novel and her restaurant is the setting of the story.
Forgetting all about her ex-boyfriend Claude, Aurélie shifts her attention to finding out everything she can about the English author, Robert Miller. Standing in her way is Miller’s editor, André. Aurélie cannot understand André’s reluctance to put her in touch with Miller. Every time Aurélie attempts to meet with her new favorite author, André is there to deliver the disappointing news that Miller couldn’t make it. When Aurélie finally meets Robert Miller, it is nothing like she expected.
From the moment I saw the gorgeous cover of Nicolas Barreau’s The Ingredients of Love, I knew it would be a book I just had to read. When I read on the back cover that it was a cross between Cyrano de Bergerac, Chocolat, and Amélie, I wanted it instantly. Once I started reading, my excitement over the book gradually began to fade.
Chapters shift points of view from Aurélie to André, but aren’t labeled. I wish the chapters had been titled as either “Aurélie” or “André” so it wouldn’t have been so confusing. After I got through the first two chapters, it wasn’t as difficult to remember whose head I would be entering at that particular moment.
As I read, I couldn’t help but think this book would make an incredible romantic comedy. However, I also couldn’t stop re-writing the story in my head into one that I preferred more. Barreau had a charming idea, but the romance between the eventual lovers felt forced and even rushed near the end. I also felt unsatisfied at the conclusion; I wanted to end with Aurélie’s perspective on the situation since she begins the novel. The Ingredients of Love has all of the ingredients for the perfect romantic tale, but a different recipe would have yielded better results.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Griffin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.