Novel Of The Week - Menu d'Amor by Nicolas Barreau

You thought I forgot about this column, didn't you?

I know it has pass a while since my last book review, so here's to you a brand you one!
After "The ingredients of Love" and "One evening in Paris", Mesdames et Messieurs. once again, is with us Nicolas Barreau and his Menu d'Amor!
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This is the story of a boy and a girl who couldn’t have more opposite characters: there’s
Henri Bredin, shy and calm literature student at the Sorbonne, who loves to cook and lives in a tiny appartament with a roommate, Georges, and Coquine, Geoges’ black cat. And then there’s Henri's classmate,Valérie Castel, a funny and cheerful girl, who’s always and inevitably late at every appointment she takes.
The two of them quickly become friends and, as usually happens, Henri starts to have feelings for her…

So the first year passes without Henri reveal his feelings to Valérie and now he has to spent summertime holidays in the beautiful Paris… alone, since his roomate is going home in Normandie and Valérie is going in Italy with her family.

After those hot three month, Henri has decided to come clean and say to Valérie he loves her. 
Confident and determined, he goes at Gare de Lyon station to pick her up, but the moment Valérie goes off the train he can tell there's something's wrong...
She can’t stop smiling (and Henri knows that’s not just because she’s happy to see him) and….is that a scarf what she’s wearing??  She never wears scarfs!!
The mistery is quickly solved as Valérie reveals Henri she met someone, Alessandro Di Forza...he is Italian, charming, 10 years older and owner of an luxurious hotel in Italy.
How could Henri compete to that?

Broken hearted, Henri starts avoiding Valérie, in classes as well as with their common friends, but reality is that he misses her.

One day, he is walking on the bank of the Seine and found on a bookstall a little book with the recipes for the Menù d’Amour…a little skeptical, Henri bought it and, since he has nothing to lose, he decides to give it a try and invites Valérie to dinner at his place.

He spends all the afternoon to cook and even if Valérie won’t fall in love with him thanks the love elixir from the book, Henri’s confindent that at least she would eat well. The exact moment he is deciding whether to put or not the “love ingredient” in the main dish Val rings…she’s actually early!!
Henri gets anxious everything is ready an forgets the about the elixir…

The dinner proceeds well, Valérie is happy she and Henri are friends again and she’s really surprised he can cook that good. They talk about the funny moments they spent together and that’s when Valérie understand how much she missed Henri and the evening gets a plot twist, the one Henri hoped for!

Henri wakes up in the middle of the night, thanks to the noise of a broken glass and when he sees that Valérie is beside him, sleeping, he couldn’t be happier…Enters in the kitchen to see what was that noise and sees Coquine, the black cat, near the broken bottle where there was the love elixir: the only problem is that the bottle is empty…

The novel itself is simple, a brief love story but, once again, the characters that Nicolas Barreau creates give to the story its je ne sais quoi, the charm that makes you read it!

My vote: 7/10

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