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Publisher's Summary

For listeners of Paula McLain, Nancy Horan, and Melanie Benjamin, this captivating novel is inspired by a little-known interlude in the artist's life.

The French Riviera, spring 1936: It's off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where 17-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Café Paradis. A mysterious new patron who's slipped out of Paris and is traveling under a different name has made an unusual request - to have his lunch served to him at the nearby villa he's secretly rented, where he wishes to remain incognito.

Pablo Picasso is at a momentous crossroads in his personal and professional lives - and for him, art and women are always entwined. The spirited Ondine, chafing under her family's authority and nursing a broken heart, is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites. Her encounter with Picasso will continue to affect her life for many decades onward, as the great artist and the talented young chef both pursue their own passions and destinies.

New York, present day: Céline, a Hollywood makeup artist who's come home for the holidays, learns from her mother, Julie, that Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso. Prompted by her mother's enigmatic stories and the hint of more family secrets yet to be uncovered, Céline carries out Julie's wishes and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met. In the lush, heady atmosphere of the Côte d'Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, Céline discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future.

Featuring an array of both fictional characters and the French Riviera's most famous historical residents, set against the breathtaking scenery of the South of France, Cooking for Picasso is a touching, delectable, and wise story illuminating the powers of trust, money, art, and creativity in the choices that men and women make as they seek a path toward love, success, and joie de vivre.

©2016 C. A. Belmond (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Intrigue, art, food, and deception are woven together in a tale of love and betrayal around the life and legacy of Picasso. Touching and true, this well-written narrative made me long for my mother's coq au vin and for the sun of Juan-les-Pins." (Jacques Pépin, chef, TV personality, author)
"Camille Aubray has created a vividly imagined tale of a young French woman's life-changing encounter with the most unconventional artist of the modern age. Intriguing and insightful, the sensory details alone will have you thinking you're reading the pages seated at a seaside café in the South of France." (Susan Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life)
"Takes the reader on a heartfelt journey to the South of France.... In prose that is wise, atmospheric, and plain fun, Aubray expertly blends fact and fiction to create a rich and memorable tale." (Michelle Gable, New York Times best-selling author of A Paris Apartment)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Becci
  • OGDEN, UT, United States
  • 01-03-17

Great book

I thought the narrator did a fantastic job with the accents. I was also happy with the fact that the book did not have the f bomb every other word and the sexual nature was just enough to be intriguing but not over the top.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Varied locations, time periods, interesting!

I liked this book. Although the author moves back and forth between generations in this family saga, the transition is easy for the listener and really very interesting. The characters are the "meat" of this book, rather than situations. Recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional

The story is wonderfully written, narrated well, French quips and pronunciations compliment all. Details of old world recipes fantastic.Three women their characters, souls, struggles, strength and humanity. Refreshing and real. Did not want to stop listening.

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Stunningly spectacular book.

One of the best books I have ever read. Engaging plot; outstanding reader; a literary masterpiece. I highly recommend this book.

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Fantastique!

A great story so captivating that will keep you not wanting to stop listening. The description of the places and the characters is incredibly real, transporting you to the corners of France and living the adventure next to Ondine, Julie and Celine and even Picasso.

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  • KJ
  • 07-17-17

Great book!

wonderful narrator. I enjoyed this take on an imaginative Picasso saga. loved the historical and art references and descriptive scenery. only disliked a few parts involving young woman being abused but overall a very nice story .

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Slow to grip one into the tale, as the simple 1st chapters are literarily, uninspired, but...

Once evolved, this is a lovely, if not predictable, tale, for easy listening, within which I was eager to continue.

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Outstanding

Wonderful descriptive writing, mixing geography, history, characterization, and suspenseful plot.
Tightly constructed, without the excess verbiage seen in so many novels.

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One of the best books I've ever read!! From narration to writing it is absolutely divine.

One of the most amazing books I've ever read, from your ration to writing the book is divine.

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Frustrating story of classic victimhood

Would you try another book from C. A. Belmond and/or Mozhan Marno?

Was so angry and disappointed in the way this book ended! Loved C. A. Belmond's A Rather Lovely series and the fact that although antagonists act outrageously the heroes eventually get justice or happiness. This book centered on three generations of women, all portrayed as weak and cowed, and unable to protect their daughters. It was very suspenseful and I was so looking forward to the third generation being smarter and stronger. Nope, the author sets everything up for a fantastic and satisfying happy ending and then yanks it out from under you leaving you feeling cheated of 9 hours and investment in the characters you thought would develop backbones over the course of the adventure.

What could C. A. Belmond have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Had Celine stand up to her father when he and his children set things up to disinherit her mother from her own money at the beginning. Hello, she has a lawyer but can't do anything to help her Mom get some justice? Or give the Mom a chance to have a happy peaceful life in her twilight years in France with her daughter? Not had such horrible things happen to the Mom when she was young? Or had Ondine have a backbone in America and figure out how to keep their restaurant open? Many many places these women could have shown half the strength of other women of their day, and this would have been an enchanting story.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger and disappointment

Any additional comments?

Not sure I'll read anything further by this author. There's enough victimhood going around, don't need to idolize it in a book that misleads people.

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