White Truffles in Winter: A Novel

( 7 )

Overview

“Rich in sensory delights . . . the kind of masterpiece readers will want to savor.”—Minneapolis Star-TribuneAuguste Escoffier (1846–1935) was the unparalleled French chef whose impact on restaurants and high cuisine is still with us. He was also a complicated man—kind yet imperious, food obsessed yet rarely hungry, capable of great passion and inscrutable reserve. In this lushly imagined new novel, N. M. Kelby transports us into Escoffier’s private world, weaving a sensual story of food and longing, war and romance.The novel opens near the end ...

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White Truffles in Winter: A Novel

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Overview

“Rich in sensory delights . . . the kind of masterpiece readers will want to savor.”—Minneapolis Star-TribuneAuguste Escoffier (1846–1935) was the unparalleled French chef whose impact on restaurants and high cuisine is still with us. He was also a complicated man—kind yet imperious, food obsessed yet rarely hungry, capable of great passion and inscrutable reserve. In this lushly imagined new novel, N. M. Kelby transports us into Escoffier’s private world, weaving a sensual story of food and longing, war and romance.The novel opens near the end of Escoffier’s life, as he writes his memoirs. He has witnessed a tumultuous sweep of history from a unique position, and he recounts his days as a cook in the Franco-Prussian War, a chef for the beau monde in Paris and at the London’s Savoy, and a confidant of royalty and world leaders.The heart of Escoffier’s story, however, lies in his love for two very different women: the famously beautiful and reckless actress Sarah Bernhardt, one of the most adored women of her day, and his wife, the independent and sublime poet Delphine Daffis, whose hand in marriage Escoffier gambled for, only to live apart from her for much of his career.Now Escoffier has retired and returned to Delphine. She requests just one thing: that he produce a dish in her name as he has done for so many, including Bernhardt and Queen Victoria. Yet how does one re-create the complexity of love in a single recipe? The great chef has no idea. Aided by a headstrong young cook who looks remarkably like Bernhardt, Escoffier must rediscover food’s emotional capacity, its ability to communicate passion, regret, grief, forgiveness, and love.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“[Kelby’s] descriptions of food are exquisitely detailed. She makes delicious drama out of acts as simple as Escoffier teaching his protégé how to make fried eggs. . . . Never less than entertaining, and just as often captivating.”
St. Petersburg Times
“Kelby’s descriptions of food are sublime, and her evocations of Paris, from artists’ spare studios to restaurants’ lavish dining rooms, delightful.”
Top Fiction Pick BookPage
“Foodies will no doubt enjoy the lush epicurean treatment as well as the historical elements of the novel. . . . Ultimately this is a classic romance.”
Diana Abu-Jaber
“Beautifully layered and lovingly detailed, White Truffles in Winter is a tale of extraordinary people entangled in a captivating love story. Filled with lush and decadent longing, this novel will dazzle the mind as well as the senses.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393343588
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/8/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 949,177
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

N. M. Kelby is the critically acclaimed author of In the Company of Angels, Whale Season, and the Florida Book Award winner A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts, among other works. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2012

    I absolutely fell in love with this book. I never wanted to stop

    I absolutely fell in love with this book. I never wanted to stop reading and did not want it to end. The story of Auguste Escoffier, the first world-renowned chef who changed cooking forever, is a great story in itself----his theories on cooking, cooking tips (I took notes at times), recipes, dinners, grand events, his kitchens and staffs, his great hotels and restaurants, his famous customers, and his most cherished ingredients. All fascinating and luscious! Then there is the story of his life and loves: his wife, Delphine the poet, and his lover, Sarah Bernhardt, the great actress. Complex, passionate and painful, and beautiful at the same time. Then there is the story of the times: great change in Europe, the leaders of the world (who Escoffier fed), the slow but certain run-up to war, the fears of the people, and how food and fine dining played a role in it all. And there is the story of the end of life, a life very fully lived, the need to tell his own story before it's too late, and the need to end his life the way he wanted to end it. Food, love, celebrity, success, heartbreak, history, life, death, all wrapped up in passion and food in this wonderful book. Along with his amazing story, I learned some great things about cooking and I'll keep trying some of his methods. And I want to know more. What a fascinating man! I know, it's a novel, but this story really brought Escoffier to life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Just OK

    I chose this book for book club. I didn't love it, despite the many glowing reviews. The food descriptions are very detailed and yummy and it lends itself to a French-themed book club meeting quite well. Otherwise, just eh.

    If you are really into gastronomy, Sarah Bernhardt, or French history between 1880 and 1945, go for it.

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  • Posted November 11, 2012

    This book made me extremely hungry. I have never heard of Escoff

    This book made me extremely hungry. I have never heard of Escoffier and so this book opened new doors for me. His relationship with his wife Delphine is a bit odd and a tad complicated. Maybe because he had an affair with Sarah. The character that spoke to me the most was the maid, Sabine. Although she was slow and not really wanting to work, I like how much she worked at the end and was learning about cooking.

    Every page was a picture anew, full of plates of food, images of things unique. I appreciate the author's details in every page. The description of the Red Dinner was beyond amazing, I felt as if I could feel each thing as he said it. Kelby is a very talented author and I wish to read more!

    I did give it 4 stars because, in some parts I just felt a bit lost, other than those moments, I was so engrossed in this novel, I felt bereaved when it ended.

    I received a copy of this novel from first reads on Goodreads in exchange for my honest opinion.

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    Richly imagined tale of the man who revolutionized the culinary

    Richly imagined tale of the man who revolutionized the culinary world. Haven't enjoyed a book about food so much since Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone and Julie and Julia. Readers looking for a tightly-woven plot will be disappointed. This is a different sort of book, but decidedly satisfying in context. Four stars for imagination and for making me very hungry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

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