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Cooking for Picasso: A Novel Audiobook, by C. A. Belmond Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: C. A. Belmond, Camille Aubray Narrator: Mozhan Marnò Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2016 ISBN: 9780735286702
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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.

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 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 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: 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.

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 Pépin, chef, TV personality, author

“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

“[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 Côte 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 Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Charming. Muses & Visionaries
  • This richly crafted tale of love, trust, art and food is wonderfully evocative of the sun-kissed Côte d’Azur, while weaving in a modern-day mystery. . . . Ideal for whiling away some time en vacances on the Riviera. France Today
  • [A] tasty blend of romance, mystery, French cooking, and the hairy old painter himself. Margaret Atwood
  • 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
  • “The novel alternates between Ondine’s encounters with Picasso and the repercussions of that brief affair, and Céline’s adventures with cooking, love, and history along the Mediterranean. The real meat in this novel is the details (both real and imagined) of Picasso’s fascinating life. Publishers Weekly
  • "Romance cum mystery—full of art, family bickering, and of course, fabulous food—fully enjoyable. Audiofile
  • Aubray produces a vivid and interesting picture of Picasso and doesn’t shy away from his personal entanglements. Historical Novels Review

    "In this delightful journey, a woman’s kitchen skills blossom while Picasso struggles with the next steps in his career.
  • A love of Gallic gastronomy—and especially the food of Provence—is one of the passions shared by the three generations of French women who are depicted in this intriguing psychological portrait, which doubles as a page-turning thriller based on the search for a missing masterpiece. Alexander Lobrano, author of Hungry for Paris and Hungry for France
  • Fans of Peter Mayle’s fiction will love Cooking for Picasso, a warm and spicy combination of art, family intrigue, food, and romance, set in sun-drenched Provence. Erica Bauermeister, bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients
  • Aubray brings Picasso brilliantly to life. Her intriguing intertwined narratives are utterly spellbinding and deeply touching—as rare as a page-turner with soul. Anne Fortier, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Sisterhood and Juliet
  • 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 bestselling author of A Paris Apartment
  • 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
  • [A] sweet summer escape. Cosmopolitan
  • [A] delicious, atmospheric novel. You'll be glad you're along for the ride. People
  • [A] colorful family saga . . . Cooking for Picasso [is] a novel about how people take what seems to be worthless and make it into something priceless. Whether it’s a woman who creates meaning from sad circumstances or a genius who finds his way through a fallow period to create his masterwork, the characters in Camille Aubray’s novel illustrate how essential bad is to good, life is to death and work is to art. . . . Aubray slowly reveals that value lies not in what you own, but in who you are. The Washington Post
  • This touching and delectable novel invokes the breathtaking scenery of the South of France and the Cote d’Azur. . . . Aubray paints a beautiful story of love, art, food, and the enduring romance of the Mediterranean. Fodor’s Travel
  • Two delicious love stories held together by the bonds of family unfold through Aubray’s lyricalprose as she paints a portrait of Southern France, haute cuisine and the thrilling hunt for a missing masterpiece. With the skill of an artist, she describes Picasso at a crossroads in his life. Romantic Times
  • “Aubray produces a vivid and interesting picture of Picasso and doesn’t shy away from his personal entanglements.”

    Historical Novels Review

  • An entertaining getaway for art lovers and Francophiles . . . The novel's descriptions of food are mouthwatering, and Picasso himself is bold and engaging, a man of outsized passions. Shelf Awareness
  • A quest for the missing Picasso worthy of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn . . . an amuse-bouche filled with secret ingredients, covert liaisons, and hidden compartments. Kirkus Reviews
  • With lively characters and a twisting plot, Aubray’s novel is a smart and satisfying tale of family, creativity, romance and intrigue. Booklist
  • “Mozhan Marno narrates this dual-time-period audiobook…Marno’s impeccable accents bring authenticity to the women’s stories, which focus on both culinary skills and love. She sympathetically conveys Ondine’s and Celine’s very different emotional circumstances…Humor lightens the mood, making this romance cum mystery…fully enjoyable.”

    AudioFile

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About the Author

C. A. Belmond 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, as well as with her mentor Margaret Atwood at Humber College School for Writers Workshop in Toronto. She 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.

About the Narrator

Mozhan Marnò is an Iranian American film and television actress, most notably appearing in Charlie Wilson’s War and Bones. Her audiobook narrations have won several AudioFile Earphones Awards.