Fromage à Trois
by Victoria Brownlee
In a haze of heartbreak after splitting up with the man she thought she was going to marry, she makes the only decision that seems rational and buys a one-way ticket to Paris, embarking on a pilgrimage of food, wine, and joie de vivre.
After arriving, Ella struggles to grasp the nuances of French manners and friendship. She soon finds herself caught between two men who inhabit opposite ends of the Paris food scene, getting wined and dined by one, and inadvertently making a bet to try every type of French fromage with the other.
As the seasons change, Ella realizes that there’s more to life in France than champagne and cheese. At some point the Eiffel Tower stops sparkling and she needs to decide where her heart truly lies.
This was such an easy story to read because the main character, Ella, is so likeable. The soon to be 30 Australian shrugs off a broken relationship and heads for France for a year of adventure à la Française! And who can blame her? Her former boyfriend of almost a decade has decided he needs to “find himself”, a statement that comes as quite a shock when she really expects a marriage proposal.
The idea of returning to live with her mum and carrying on in the same old job drives her to pack up her things and apply for a one-year working visa in France. What’s the worst that can happen?
Finding a job is not easy, nor is finding somewhere to live. Life in France is much more expensive than she anticipated, especially in Paris. When she finds a room-share in an upmarket part of the city, she feels she has turned a corner. Sharing the apartment with a mother and son is not ideal, especially as the 40-year-old son seems to develop a crush on her. Another move is on the cards, and a new friend at the coffee shop offers her a solution -and a wonderful one at that.
Fortunately, despite a rocky start, the one constant in her life is cheese. and a bet with the owner of the fromagerie sets her a challenge to try all French cheeses during her year-long stay. This is a challenge she readily accepts, after all she’s a cheese-a-holic and there can’t be more than a hundred or so, can there?
Ella’s life begins to revolve around cheese, but steadily she makes friends, finds a French ‘boyfriend’ and her job prospects multiply. She is living her dream life. Isn’t she?
This is a feel-good story, with believable characters and a gorgeous cheese-filled insight into a Parisian lifestyle. There is romance, deception, fun, family, heartache and love – and more cheese than you can imagine. A really enjoyable light read.