Lately I’ve been longing for a mental Mediterranean getaway, so when I picked up this novel, I was begging it would do the trick while my travels were on hold. When I initially began reading Camille Aubray’s Cooking for Picasso, I was eager to see how the novel’s title would unfold in the story. Would there be romance? Adventure? Recipes? Or would it be a simple yet satisfying summer read as I daydreamed about my own French Riviera?
The novel switches between two viewpoints, Grandmother Ondine and her granddaughter Céline. Through their two different stories, the reader follows their worlds and discovers with the protagonists how time is not always on our side. The chapters that reflect on Ondine as a young woman carry the essence of innocence, young love, and a headstrong willpower. In contrast, Camille Aubray wrote Céline’s chapters through the eyes of an adult woman: instead of daydreaming and hoping for promises, romance is cast aside and reality is her backbone. Despite the contrasts in characters and settings, it was eye-opening to see how time educates us, and how women’s thoughts are formed in varying points in life.
With mother-daughter relationships at the forefront of this novel, I was hoping I would be able to share this novel with my own mother, but still thinking twice about it. There was hardly anything harsh about the novel, but a few love scenes made me blush and I just can’t bear the thought of my mother reading those paragraphs. Overall, Aubray’s novel was a light easy read that provided just enough romance, French Riviera, and sunshine for me to get over my summer blues.