Thursday, July 09, 2020

Simone LaFray and the Chocolatier's Ball

Book Review: Simone LaFray and the Chocolatier's Ball by S.P. O'Farrell
Version: Amazon Prime Kindle-free ebook

Don’t be late to the ball -- to reading Simone LaFray and the Chocolatier’s Ball by fine storyteller S.P. O’Farrell. It’s an enthralling YA suspense tale for young and older readers alike.

Simone is a twelve-year-old sleuth in training, following in her mother’s footsteps to becoming a master spy. While mother is away “on business” outside of Paris, Simone helps her father run the family’s famous chocolate patisserie and watch over her sister Mia, a dancer who loves being the center of attention, really the opposite of Simone. Mentoring Simone is Elaine, head of the French spy ministry, and ready to spring a trap on everyone is "The Red Fox", a notorious art thief, who has an eye on a major piece of art in a Paris museum, Simone, and her father’s busy shoppe. Simone spends 150 clever pages trying to catch "La Volope Rossa" who is here, there, and everywhere, while trying to help her father escape the scowls of his penniwise accountant-cousin always going on about the miserable financial shape of the otherwise most desirable patisserie of Paris, while also helping him avoid the clutches of a ruthless chocolate magnate intent on securing his book of secret family recipes. Then they are stolen in the dark of night, plunging the patisserie into disarray -- and the only answer is crafting a winning entry in the infamous Chocolatier's Ball of Paris.

How all this plays out is the well imagined story in Simone LaFray and the Chocolatier’s Ball. For as with all tales of suspense, nothing is as it seems which plays out until the final suspenseful page.

As much as this is a great story, it is also a well crafted tale. You will find it easy to read but hard to put down, with it's breezy chase scenes and lost umbrellas and suspenseful reveals. O'Farrell engages your senses in each stroll or run or stationary view of the streets and districts of Paris, and there is the busyness of the patisserie with its many delectable smells and chaotic sounds. You've got to be there, surrounded by chocolate.

Now I'm looking forward to O'Farrell's next novel.

No comments: