For readers of Paula McLain, Nancy Horan, and Melanie Benjamin, this captivating novel is inspired by a little-known interlude in the artist's life.
"A tasty blend of romance, mystery, and French cooking."--Margaret Atwood, via Twitter The French Riviera, spring 1936: It's off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Cafe 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 life--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 each pursue their own passions and destiny. New York, present day: Celine, 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, Celine 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 Cote d'Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, Celine 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. Praise for Cooking for Picasso "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 Pepin, chef, TV personality, author "Intriguing and insightful, the sensory details alone will have you thinking you're reading the pages seated at a seaside cafe in the South of France."--Susan Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life " A] delicious, atmospheric novel . . . You'll be glad you're along for the ride."--People (Pick for "The Best New Books") " A] colorful family saga . . . Cooking for Picasso is . . . about how people take what seems to be worthless and make it into something priceless. . . . The characters in Camille Aubray's debut novel illustrate . . . that value lies not in what you own, but in who you are."--The Washington Post "This richly crafted tale of love, trust, art and food is wonderfully evocative of the sun-kissed Cote d'Azur, while weaving in a modern-day mystery. . . . Ideal for whiling away some time en vacances on the Riviera."--France Today " A] sweet summer escape."--Cosmopolitan
About the Author
Camille Aubray is an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellowship winner. A writer-in-residence at the Karolyi Foundation in the South of France, she was a finalist for the Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award and the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. She studied writing at the University of London with David Hare, Tom Stoppard, and Fay Weldon; and with her mentor Margaret Atwood at the Humber College School of Creative Writing Workshop in Toronto. Aubray has been a staff writer for the daytime dramas One Life to Live and Capitol, has taught writing at New York University, and has written and produced for ABC News, PBS, and A&E. The author divides her time between Connecticut and the South of France. From the Hardcover edition.