Thursday, May 2, 2024

Excerpt: The French Cookery School


Mix together a group of mature students:

A culinary Sloane, a take-away cook and a food journalist.

Add in:

A handsome host

Season with:

A celebrity chef

Bring to the boil:

At a luxurious cookery school in France!

Waltho Williams has no idea what he’s letting himself in for when he opens the doors of La Maison du Paradis, his beautiful French home. But with dwindling funds, a cookery school seems like the ideal business plan. 

Running away from an impending divorce, super-snob Caroline Carrington hopes a luxurious cookery holiday will put her back on her feet. Blackpool fish and chip café owner Fran Cartwright thinks she’s won the lottery when her husband Sid books her on a week working alongside a celebrity chef. Meanwhile, feeling she is fading at fifty, journalist Sally Parker-Brown hopes her press week covering the cookery course will enable her to boost her career.

But will the eclectic group be a recipe for success, or will the mismatched relationships sink like a souffle? 

Whip out an apron, grab a wooden spoon and take a culinary trip to La Maison du Paradis, then sit back and enjoy The French Cookery School!

Purchase Links:


‘Life is like chocolate, savour it before it melts.’

Fran watched Caroline leave the room. With a superior air, she reached into a posh leather bag and placed enormous sunglasses on the bridge of her perfect nose before disappearing outside. As Fran ate a salmon savoury, she sat down and wondered if Caroline had eaten. Her rake-thin figure suggested it unlikely and, licking mayonnaise from her lips, Fran considered why someone so svelte would choose to spend a week at a cookery school, where guests would be encouraged to indulge each day.

Maybe she has a speedy metabolism, Fran thought. Perhaps Caroline was one of those athletic types who could eat whatever they liked and never put a pound on. She wore her clothes well on her slim body, and her gorgeous white jewelled sandals were obviously very expensive. Fran bit into a blini with cream cheese and chuckled. She only had to look at a cupcake and she went up a dress size.

‘Would you like a confection?’ Tomas appeared and held out a porcelain platter. 

Fran stared at the assortment of delicate treats. She dabbed at her mouth with a napkin, leaving a faint pink blot. ‘These look lovely,’ Fran said, ‘what have we here?’

‘These are macarons.’ Tomas smiled. ‘A type of almond meringue.’

‘Yummy,’ Fran replied and picked out a strawberry flavour. 

‘They are sandwiched together with a filling, and I am sure Chef will instruct, in a lesson, this week.’

‘Smashing.’ Fran smiled and bit into the smooth exterior. The slightly crisp texture melted on her tongue.

‘You notice the lightness and délicatesse?’ Tomas asked.

‘Oh, yes,’ Fran sighed, ‘bloody lovely.’ She spied a chocolate macaron and reached out. ‘But if I eat too many of these, you’ll have to hoist me onto the bus to go back home.’

‘Life is like chocolate, savour it before it melts.’ 

‘I like that expression.’ Fran smiled again. ‘I like these too, they are gorgeous.’

‘C’est bien, faites-vous plaisir.’

Fran had no idea what Tomas had said, but her eyes studied his luscious lips and his velvety words sounded like the purr of a satisfied cat. 

‘I could listen to you all day,’ Fran giggled. ‘Has anyone ever told you that you are handsome and have a very sexy voice?’

‘Mais, oui.’ Tomas’s grin was wicked. ‘And I cook how I look.’

Fran almost choked on her chocolate macaron. ‘Get away with you.’ She playfully slapped Tomas on his arm. 

Laughing, Tomas turned away.

Taking a sip of her cordial, Fran watched the young man glide across the room. She thought being young, naturally charming and drop-dead gorgeous would ease Tomas through life and she silently wished him well. But what would Sid think if he saw his wife of forty years going weak at the knee? At least she still had a romantic pulse, and there was nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of youth. 

‘Oh Sid,’ Fran sighed as she watched Tomas offer his plate to the twin sisters who giggled like schoolgirls as they accepted a macaron. ‘What am I doing on a cookery course like this?’

Celebrity Chef Daniel Douglas De Beers had his back to Fran and was surrounded. As she watched him meet and greet the sisters, she remembered why she’d made this trip to France. 

Her husband idolised Daniel. 

Sid considered the chef one of the most skilled on the culinary scene. He always made sure that he watched Daniel’s shows and said that the chef was “a man’s man” who liked a drink and was often seen at rugby matches and horse racing meetings. But as Fran heard Daniel charm the pants off the two sisters she thought he was very much a ladies’ man. 

Fran suddenly felt very tired; it had been such an early start. Placing her drink down, she yawned, ruminating on her husband’s plans. Her head fell forward, and closing her eyes, she began to daydream. In moments, Fran was asleep.

* * *

Caroline James always wanted to write, but instead of taking a literary route, followed a career in the hospitality industry, which included owning a pub and a beautiful country house hotel. She was also a media agent representing celebrity chefs. When she finally glued her rear to a chair and began to write, the words flowed, and several novels later, she has gained many bestseller badges for her books.

The French Cookery School is Caroline’s tenth novel. Previously, The Cruise, described as: ‘Girl power for the over sixties!’ was an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller. Caroline’s hilarious novels include The Spa Break and The Best Boomerville Hotel, depicted as ‘Britain’s answer to the Best Marigold Hotel’.

She likes to write in Venus, her holiday home on wheels and in her spare time, walks with Fred, her Westie, or swims in a local lake. Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the SOA, ARRA and the Society of Women’s Writers & Journalists. She is also a speaker with many amusing talks heard by a variety of audiences, including cruise ship guests.

Visit Caroline online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Other Books by Caroline James:
The Cruise
The Spa Break
Hattie Goes to Hollywood
Boomerville at Ballymegille
The Best Boomerville Hotel
Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me
Coffee Tea the Chef & Me
Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me
Jungle Rock

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for sharing the excerpt with us.

Visit all the stops on Caroline's blog tour:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

Listen to this book on Speechify!

1 comment:

Caroline James said...

Thank you so much for hosting an extract from The French Cookery School on your lovely blog. I hope that you and your followers enjoy it. Wishing you many happy reading hours, warmest wishes, Caroline James xx