Frédérique Farmer was the consummate diplomat’s wife for much of her adult life. When her husband died unexpectedly, she bought a castle in Brittany and converted it into a Bed & Breakfast. Well, more than just breakfast, as much of the book is spent in the kitchen, describing the delicious meals that Frédérique makes every day for her guests. Despite the fact that she owns a B&B, Frédérique loves solitude and rarely accepts reservations. She has a graduate student, Severine, staying with her, exchanging free room and board for helping out with the guests. Severine is doing her graduate work on Alix de Montôt, a 15th century woman who lived in the castle Frédérique now owns. Severine’s presence turns out to be more problematic than helpful when she starts getting moody and disappearing for periods of time.
Frédérique’s solitude is shattered for good when Robert Cranwell, a best-selling American author, moves in. He’s writing a novel about Alix and more or less invites himself…then extends his stay for months. Needless to say, Frédérique finds Cranwell attractive, especially as she gets to know the man behind the celebrity.
This book is a very enjoyable read, transporting you to a part of France very different from the rest. Brittany has its own legends and myths, its own cuisine and culture, more linked to the Celts than the Franks. There are recipes at the end for those interested in the cuisine, and a long bibliography for those interested in the culture. Pick up this book when you’re in need of an escape, and bon appétit!