Thursday, July 24, 2014

The French for Always by Fiona Valpy

3.5 Star

Leaving the grey skies of home behind to transform a crumbling French Château into a boutique wedding venue is a huge leap of faith for Sara. She and fiancé Gavin sink their life savings into the beautiful Château Bellevue – set under blue skies and surrounded by vineyards in the heart of Bordeaux.

After months of hard work, the dream starts to become a reality – until Gavin walks out halfway through their first season. Overnight, Sara is left very much alone with the prospect of losing everything.

With her own heart breaking, Sara has five weddings before the end of the season to
turn the business around and rescue her dreams. With the help of the locals and a little courage can she save Château Bellevue before the summer is over?

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I read Fiona Valpy’s The French for Love last fall and was enchanted by its’ sweet nature so I was pleased that The French for Always was equally alluring.  I think I’ve read a few other novels set in rural France recently so perhaps I’m yearning for some summer cicada sounds and that dry heat I remember from childhood times in Provence. Regardless of my own dreaminess surrounding this area of the world I think that Valpy’s novels will charm those looking for a summer read to warm the heart.

As I felt with her previous novel I wasn’t astounded by the twists and turns of the plot (although I was a bit taken aback by the abrupt departure of chateau’s co-owner within the first couple of chapters) but I felt that the author had a good grasp for creating people who are likeable and relate-able. I was sympathetic towards them and yet they were not soppy or downtrodden.

My heart was pulling for Sara to be able to keep her chateau wedding venue- she was so relaxed and calm with all of her various wedding parties and her demeanor made sure that each nuptial was executed without a hitch (despite various interferences and her own troubles).  I think I fell in love with her home, her business and Sara herself a little more as each wedding was completed and I appreciated all the little details about the wedding parties that Valpy included.  She packed a lot of description into few words and it was felt across the pages.  Sara’s captivating staff made me smile many time also and I was silently cheering her on with her love interest- he was obviously a much more compatible man for our leading lady and the cameo appearances of some of the characters from The French for Love were a very nice addition, so lovely to meet some people again (yes, I know they’re fictional- but such is the nature of a novel as sweet as this that you want them to be real).

I do love Fiona Valpy’s writing and her ability to bring across the natural surroundings without it seeming heavy handed- a delightful summer read!

Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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