Pros: as other reviewers have said, this book has beautiful pictures, unique and inspiring recipes, lots of gluten free recipes and personal stories (that may be a con for some, I'm indifferent). I love french food and I was (and still am) excited to dive into this book and learn some new recipes.
1. Errors: the first recipe I tried (chocolate & plum almond cake) had a typo. The ingredients list said the plums needed 1 TBSP butter but the directions of the recipe said 2 TBSP. The recipe would probably work either way (I used 2 TBSP and it seemed like a bit much) but it was disconcerting to find an error on the first recipe I tried.
2. Some of the ingredients and equipment are inaccessible for even a well equipped home cook. That plum cake required a 13 3/4 in x 4 1/2 in springform mold. In baking, it's not unusual to run into a recipe that requires a pan I don't have, but usually the recipe will suggest an equivalent pan size or I can google and find the equivalent pan size. In this case, no amount of googling could even find a product that matches this description, much less a baking conversion.(I used an 11x7 pan and it worked out ok). It would be helpful if she included alternatives for all the specialized cookware she recommends. The recipes also call for quite a few unique and/or expensive ingredients (quinoa flakes, cardamom pods, vanilla bean, etc.). Though there are some substitutions recommended at the beginning of the book, I'm still wondering what I can substitute for quinoa flakes (which I can't find at whole foods) and I don't want to spend $20 to buy cardamom pods. It would be nice if she had some cheaper/easier to find substitutions for those cooks who don't have the 11 specialty flours she recommends or who don't want to (or can't afford to) throw a $5 vanilla bean into a recipe that serves 4.
3. Recipe sizes seems generally small. I love the idea of sweet potato and carrot pancakes, they look delicious. Do I want to go through all that effort (including pureeing the carrot & sweet potato & beating egg whites) to make 6 3in pancakes? That's like one serving for my husband. For the very fancy desserts (with multiple layers of cake, mousse, etc), I generally won't make something that complex unless I'm having friends or family over. However, most of the recipes in that section serve 4, some serve 6, which won't work for larger groups. I get it that Americans eat more than the French, but if I'm going to go through the effort of shelling and grinding pistachios, infusing butter with whole vanilla bean and cardamom pods and beating egg whites, I want more than 8 muffins (in this case, muffin sized financiers) out of the deal. And no, we're not overweight.
4. Recipes lack key details. I consider myself a decent home cook. However, when a creme anglaise recipe says to add milk to egg yolks "stirring constantly", I don't know off the top of my head if I should be stirring fast or slow. I stirred fast, got lots of foam, later ended up with a grainy (and not very nice) creme anglaise. I later learned also that I shouldn't have cooked the egg & milk mixture over "medium low" as recommended in this recipe, but rather over low heat. Also, boiling the meringue yielded soggy and ugly "islands", I will bake the meringue next time. I recognize that these are small details, but I think it's fair to assume that the average home cook might need more guidance when making some of these more complex french desserts. Also, on a similar note, the pictures don't always match the recipe. For the ile flottantes recipe, the picture has the dessert garnished with lavender flowers, not cocoa powder as recommended by the recipe. I tried the lavender flowers since I had some extras and I thought the picture looked pretty. Yuck. We ended up picking out all the flowers. Again, just details, but sometimes the details can make or break the food.
Though I've listed a lot of cons above, I think the book could still be worth it because of the unique and beautiful recipes it contains. But if you are an average American cook like me, be aware that it might take some extra work to figure out how to make these recipes work for you. Maybe also try to get the book second hand, so you have some money left over to buy cardamom pods.