Friday 28 August 2015

Guest Review: A French Affair by Katie Fforde

Another fab review from my mum today-since she's broken her toe this summer, she's been storming through her (and my) book collection, reviewing as she goes! 

Gina and Sally Makepiece have inherited a stall in the French House - an antiques centre nestled in the heart of the English countryside.

Gina is determined to drag the French House and its grumpy owner into the twenty-first century. Bearing all the attributes of a modern-day Mr Rochester, Matthew Ballinger is less than happy with the whirlwind that has arrived on his doorstep.

The last thing either of them want is to fall in love.

But will a trip to France change their minds?

I found this book a really good read and, as it says on the cover, "deliciously addictive".  I have read and enjoyed a few of Katie Fforde's other stories, and this definitely lived up to them. I didn't know in advance what the subject matter was, but with its antiques background it was especially enjoyable for me, as someone who is a regular viewer of  TV programmes like Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip.

The main character in the story, Gina Makepiece, along with her sister, Sally, has been left a stall in The French House, an antiques centre in a quaint little English town and has to decide whether to try to keep it running or just sell up and allow someone else to take the space. Their aunt from whom they inherited the stall stipulated that they should enlist the help of the owner of the antique centre, Matthew Ballinger, initially a grumpy and unapproachable character. There is a great deal of drama as Gina helps Matthew in his fight to keep the failing antique centre running and at the same time break through his crusty exterior.

I really liked Gina. She had great determination and lots of patience in the face of Matthew's resistance to her attempts to help make a success of the antiques centre using her talents gained in her career in PR. Her sister was also an amazing character, juggling being a wife and mother to young twins with her artistic skills. There are also some much less likeable characters in the story of course.

I would recommend this book to anyone, not just those interested in antiques. It is full of wonderfully descriptive writing that brings alive the characters and places within its pages for the reader.

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