The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant (2020)
With her career as a chef sabotaged, Sophie heads to France to help her ailing grandmother with running her chateau and finds her dreams for the future may be changing. A foodie book set in France? I couldn't resist, although I didn't love this one as much as I'd hoped to. The thing I enjoyed most was Sophie's journey and growth - she loses so much confidence after being sabotaged by a coworker that she can't even trust herself in the kitchen, but as she takes on more responsibilities at the chateau, she realizes her capabilities and begins to think that France is actually the place she is meant to be. The food descriptions were also mouth-watering! However, I wasn't crazy about the one-dimensional side characters, and while there were bits of drama, they were overcome way too easily. It lacked depth at times. 3.5 stars
The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant (2020)
Bri works in a small-town bakery in Kansas, and Gerard works for a travel magazine. He is sent to write a piece on her bakery after its love lock wall (modeled after the one in France) goes viral. Gerard isn't impressed by love and romance, but maybe Bri can change his mind. This book had some cute moments but still suffered from some misses. I loved the small-town feel, where everyone knows everyone else's business. I loved watching Gerard's feelings for Bri evolve over the course of the story, as he gets to know her better. I didn't realize this book was Christian fiction when I picked it up, but the religious tones weren't too overwhelming. I though Bri's character was a bit erratic - overly emotional while making poor decisions. I wanted more background of her parent's marriage; she seems to hold them up on a pedestal as the perfect couple, yet what little we learn of them didn't sound all that happy. Overall, it's a pretty predictable story that still holds some charm. 3.5 stars
* This post contains affiliate links; I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.