Saturday, 18 February 2017

Book Review & Giveaway - The Promise of Provence by Patricia Sands - Back Catalogue Books

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

The Promise of Provence is the first of the Love in Provence series by Patricia Sands, and I suspect you will be seeing more of this series on my blog in the future! 

Amazon UK
Title:  The Promise of Provence
Author: Patricia Sands
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 6th October 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

On the evening of her twenty-second wedding anniversary, Katherine Price can’t wait to celebrate. But instead of receiving an anniversary card from her husband, she finds a note asking for a divorce.

Fifty-five and suddenly alone, Katherine begins the daunting task of starting over. She has her friends, her aging mother, and her career to occupy her, but the future seems to hold little promise—until, after a winter of heartbreak, Katherine is persuaded to try a home exchange holiday in the South of France.

In Provence, bright fields of flowers bloom below medieval hilltop villages with winding cobblestone streets. Charmed by the picturesque countryside, the breathtaking Côte d’Azur, and the enchantment-filled boulevards of Paris, Katherine feels life opening up once again. Lavender perfumes the air, and chance encounters hint at romance and passion. But memories of heartbreak and betrayal linger—and her former life waits for her back home. Can she find the courage to begin again?

The Promise of Provence is the perfect mix of women's fiction but also travel writing, with a fair amount of delicious food descriptions too.  This is a story that starts with some reasonably heavy topics for the first 20% and then after that once Katherine is in France, I found myself enjoying the book even more. 

Katherine is going through a large amount of change in this story, her husband divorces her very early into the book, and she moves back in with her aging mother. We soon learn just what happened to her mother, in her childhood and it was an experience that no one should ever have to endure, but yet its not unique either, unfortunately.  That whole chapter rang so true with me, with my own knowledge of a certain period of history, and doesn't make for the most comfortable of reading, but its written rather matter of fact so, I was able to cope with it. 

Katherine's cousin encourages her to register with a house exchange website, and given Katherine is recovering from a rather controlling marriage, where she has barely left Canada for many years, she is nervous but also excited about the possibilities of  international travel, especially when enquiries come in from France, as she is a keen Francophile. 

Over the course of the book, you are treated in great detail to the history and region of Provence and also the Cote D'Azur, as Katherine explores, and is shown various little towns and villages. She befriends assorted men, so there is always the hint of romance on the scene, but on the whole it is more a journey of discovering its good to spend time with yourself, and how empowering solo travel really is. 

Travelling around the Cote D'Azur with the descriptions of the coastal train, took me back to my own day trip to the South of France, and being on that train. The details are so accurate its breathtaking, as are the views from windows! 

We meet a Goat farmer, and learn all about different cheeses, Katherine takes part in a wine harvest, she cycles, she explores and generally over the course of her home exchanges immerses herself in French culture and life. 

It is incredibly clear from the writing, how much Patricia Sands must love France, as the book in places reads as almost a love letter to Provence and the French way of life. 

I enjoyed Katherine's friendships with her cousin and best friend, and loved it when Molly (best friend) was away with Katherine, as the extended exposure to each other, really altered the dynamics of the book for a bit. 

The Promise of Provence I found to be a steady paced read, that I really enjoyed dipping in an out of. It took me a few days to read this, which is slow for me, but whenever I was reading, I was entertained by what I was reading. I am already eager to see what happens in the next book of this series. 

Thank you much to Patricia Sands for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Giveaway to Win Love In Provence Trilogy (Ebooks) (Open Internationally)

The lovely Patricia Sands is giving away a full Love In Provence trilogy in ebook. The books are The Promise of Provence (reviewed above), Promises to Keep and finally I Promise You This. 

Giveaway is open Internationally, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 25/2/2017. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.

Win Love In Provence Trilogy (Ebooks) (Open Internationally)

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