Sunday, May 12, 2019

Book review of Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers' Ball by S.P. O'Farrell

French Village Diaries book review Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers' Ball by S.P. O'Farrell
Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers' Ball
by S.P. O'Farrell

Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball

This book, set in a patisserie in Paris, is aimed at 10 to 11-year old’s, but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying it, in fact, with a main character who is a little bit different, plenty of mystery and lots of chocolate; I would have loved to have read this as a child.

Simone LaFray is not your average 12-year-old girl. She prefers to blend into the crowd, to see everything, but not to be seen; for Simone is an undercover agent and a pretty good one at that. Following in her mother’s footsteps (she is a top international spy) and with the backing and assistance of the ministry, there are always plenty of mysteries for Simone to solve, as well as looking after her little sister Mia and helping her Father in his patisserie. Who is the Red Fox and why is he back in Paris? Who stole the ancient recipe books from her Father’s patisserie? What has suddenly made her Father lose his culinary perfection?

Things come to a head at the Chocolatiers’ Ball, a prestigious event that this year will be showcasing her Father’s work, but with sabotage and theft hanging over them, what must Simone do to save the day?

I loved Simone’s character and enjoyed her daily life in Paris, from strolls in the park to helping out in the patisserie, to working undercover in the art galleries. Her attention to detail, the way her eyes expertly sweep a room and mentally take everything in; calculating how many people, who is acting suspiciously and who is genuine, was matched only by the attention to detail in the author’s descriptions. There is a lot that makes Simone unusual and different, including her love of routine and precision, but these were the things I enjoyed most about her. As a children’s novel, her quirky perfection will I’m sure strike a chord with those kids who maybe don’t feel they fit in with the norm.

This first book sets the scene perfectly and left me wanting more from the extraordinary life of Simone LaFray.

Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball by S.P. O’Farrell will be published by Brandylane Publishers on Monday 13th May, available in hardback, paperback and ebook versions. Links to Amazon can be found below. I was kindly sent a review copy by the author.

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