Cooking for Picasso

Cooking for Picasso - Camille Aubray This is the story about two women of the same family, living in different times and separate continents, who are connected by blood in history. The narration alternates between 17-year-old Ondine, a cook at her family's café in a small town on the French Riviera in 1936, and Celine, Ondine's granddaughter, who lives in present day California and learns from her ailing mother that Grandma Ondine once cooked exclusively for the great and notorious Picasso. With her mother's health in rapid decline, Celine finds herself traveling to the small town of Juan-les-Pins, France, in hopes to uncover the mysteries of her family's history and determine what part the great painter, if any, played in her grandmother Ondine's life and legacy.

This was my first introduction to author, Camille Aubray, and I was pleased to find she is an absolutely exquisite writer. I listened to the audio version of 'Cooking for Picasso' on CD and it was such a beautiful and relaxing experience that I was truly sad when the book was over. I primarily listen to audiobooks while driving in my car and I found myself purposefully taking longer routes and remaining in my vehicle even after reaching my destination in order to continue listening to this eloquent novel. Aubray's descriptive style and attention to detail made me feel like I was on holiday in the French Riviera, at a café in a little seaside village, enjoying authentic French cuisine, cooked to order and prepared with love.

My boyfriend is an inspiring chef who recently returned to school for a degree in culinary arts and he listened to most of this book along with me (which isn't at all typical behavior for him) and he was completely captivated by all the references to food preparation and cooking and all the detailed descriptions of French meals and the ingredients included to make them, as was I.

Overall, this book was an absolute joy and I feel I must give credit not only to the author, but also to the talented narrator, Mishandled Marino, who did a wonderful job giving voice to these three-dimensional, complex, characters and really bringing the story to life. The only complaint I have is a very minor one and more of a technical issue then one with the writing itself and that is that I felt like the narration speed was extremely slow and I would have liked the narrator to pick up the pace significantly because at times it felt like it was being read in slow motion to me. However, after a while I was able to adjust, somewhat, but I normally get my audio books from Audible, where I have the option of adjusting the narration speed and I normally set it to x1.5 or x2, when listening. But again, that is just a personal preference and, of course, no fault of the authors so it did not affect my ratings for this book to which I happily gave five out of five stars! I highly recommend this book, especially to those readers who enjoy beautifully descriptive writing, art lovers, or "foodies."
Bon appéti!

I received a complimentary copy of 'Cooking for Picasso' from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.