Christmas Chocolat

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For Maggie Arnaud and her siblings, childhood Christmases meant lavish feasts and beloved rituals. The day began with hot chocolate and cougnole de Noel—the sweet, rich bread traditional in their parents’ native Belgium. Those special holidays ended with their mother’s death, and their father has grown more distant each year. But now, he has summoned his grown children once again. And none of them is eager to expose their imperfect lives to his scrutiny…

Jacqueline is an opera singer living in Brussels—outwardly successful but yearning for a deeper fulfillment. Near Philadelphia, cookbook writer Maggie’s career and marriage are in turmoil. Colette, an aspiring clothing designer in California, lost her boyfriend and her savings in one blow. And roving younger brother Art is still searching for something—or someone. Armed with their insecurities, rivalries—and their mother’s most delicious recipes—the Arnauds gather in Pennsylvania. But a good meal does more than feed the body—it awakens memories, nurtures bonds, and might even bring a family back together.

Includes classic Belgian recipes


“I really enjoyed this book. With a cast of flawed characters, a story that will move you and delicious recipes, this is the perfect book to get you into the holiday spirit.” — Marlene Engel, Book Mama Blog

“A delicious novel from Defrise, who inserts knowledge of her Belgian heritage to give this book a fascinating dimension….A family saga with very messed-up protagonists, this tale fits the bill and is a satisfying treat.” — RT Book Reviews

Christmas Chocolat is like a cup of chocolat chaud on a cold day. It is both funny and sad, hilarious and heart-warming. A terrific debut from Defrise” — T. Greenwood, author of Bodies of Water

“Like sitting down to a favorite meal with a close friend, Kate Defrise’s debut novel is many kinds of wonderful at once: warm, nourishing, irresistible. I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious story.”— Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times bestselling author of Secret Daughter

“A confection of a novel, Christmas Chocolat is filled with the sugared scents of a holiday kitchen, forgiveness, and the endurance of family love. Fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Dana Bate will gobble this up!” — Heather Webb, author of Rodin’s Lover