Wednesday 6 May 2020

Guest Review: Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas

Can she find her recipe for happiness?
Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie.
Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

Review: I was thrilled to be reading a new book from Jo Thomas. I have only recently discovered her books, and have been catching up on all her stories. They always transport me to somewhere exciting. This book took me on a journey to a small town in the dusty French countryside, where, in addition to providing a gripping story, I was introduced to the ways in which lavender could be used in the dishes of Provence.

At the beginning of the story, we are introduced to Del and her husband Ollie, who are preparing to leave the peaceful French town where they have lived for only a short few weeks and return to the UK. At the last minute, Del decides not to leave their lovely old, if crumbling, farmhouse with adjacent lavender fields, having tired of a marriage she feels is dead. Having made the decision to go it alone, and needing a way to make a living, she begins cooking typical bakes and dishes of the area incorporating the lavender growing literally on her doorstep. She is well aware of the importance of fitting into the community, and quickly finds good friends amongst locals, including Carine the estate agent, Henri the local restaurant owner, homeless girl Stephanie and her young son, and, especially, local market owner Fabian. Can she make a new home and perhaps find love again in this little town?

I have really enjoyed this book and can thoroughly recommend it; it may even be my favourite Jo Thomas book thus far. I loved the characters in the story, good or bad. They are all completely believable. It is marvellous to watch as Del begins to gain in confidence and believe in herself as she seeks to blend in with the locals in the town rather than stick with a group of ‘ex-pats’, all the while meeting new challenges. Of course, we are treated to some wonderful descriptions of the town itself, with its fields of lavender, little river and market place. I could picture myself sitting in the sunshine in front of Del’s house with a bottle of wine and listening to the river flowing past. There is also frequent mention of the scrumptious dishes that Del and Stephanie prepare, always with a touch of lavender; it made me feel like trying some of the recipes myself. I’m sure that, like me, other readers will enjoy escaping to this particular French town with its lovely farmhouse.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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