Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Blog tour: One French Summer by Gillian Harvey

Last year I read A Year at the French Farmhouse by Gillian Harvey and I knew that I wanted to read more from her.  And now, having read her new release, One French Summer,  I was not disappointed.

Katy is in denial. She has been separated from her husband Will for months. Whilst her friends know, her 19 year old daughter Adrienne, who is currently living in Australia, doesn't. When Will announces that he needs to talk to her, she knows that he is going to say the temporary separation is over and he's coming back to her. Unfortunately, he does say the separation is no longer temporary - he wants a divorce. And Katy is devastated.

This is where her long time friends Ivy, Sam and Vicky step in and stage an intervention. They arrive at her house and basically order her to pack some essentials as they are going to France. With nowhere near enough clothes, she finds out that they are going to an art retreat near Bordeaux. Katy used to love art but it was one of the many things that went by the wayside when she was busy being Will's wife and Adrienne's mother. Now her friends are trying to show her that art isn't the only part of her that's she has lost along the way.

The house they are staying in is a gorgeous house, owned by a glamorous artist, complete with pool, amazing food and fantastic locations nearby. Oh, and the owner's handsome brother Valentin has come to stay as well. Can he help Katy see herself differently?

I really enjoyed the dynamics between the four friends. Whilst this is Katy's story, each of them was dealing with their own issues such as impending menopause and loneliness. They had their moments where they were grumpy with each other and where they needed their own space, but they were reallyy there for Katy and for each other.

If there is one flaw in this book it is that Will is a bit one dimensional at times. Then again, I have known some people who were pretty much like him!

I really want to say how much I liked the ending of this book, but it is pretty hard to talk about an ending without spoilers so I am going to be somewhat vague. I really loved that the ending of this book was, for want of a better word, sensible. The decisions made reflected maturity and what would be more realistic decisions than you might otherwise read in a book like this. 

The author lives in France, and both of the books that I have read by her clearly show how much she loves it. That love is evident in the descriptions of the places and the food. Having just spent some time in a different part of France ourselves this year, I have to say that the description of the food had me reminiscing over one place we stayed in the Loire Valley which was a beautiful home that had several rooms for people to stay in, and had the most amazing breakfasts. Whilst I wouldn't go to an art retreat because I can't draw a straight line to save myself, the idea of spending a couple of weeks or maybe longer sounds really tempting. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this, and will definitely be reading whatever Gillian Harvey writes next!

Rating 4.5/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Rachel's Random Romance for the review copy.

About the book

Discover the brand new escapist read from the author of A Year at the French Farmhouse.

Only child out of the house – so far out that she’s gone all the way to Australia! A husband, who has requested a break. Life isn’t quite going as planned for Katy.

​She’s suddenly at a loss, but she still has her friends Sam, Vicky and Ivy. The girls have been there for her through thick and they’re not about to stop now. However, they think Katy might need more than boot camp . . . so they kidnap her and head off to France on a last minute retreat.

​Can a reset give her a new lease on life or help her win back her husband? Or could there be a new love in her life?

She went for a holiday, but it could become the start of a second chance . . .

About the author

Gillian Harvey is a freelance journalist and the author of two well-reviewed women’s fiction novels published by Orion. She has lived in Limousin France for the past twelve years, from where she derives the inspiration and settings for her books. 

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