Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?
When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.
Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.
Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.
Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?
Bookouture are publishing the most wonderful books at the moment – I want to read every single one as it’s released, but sadly have to accept my limitations. But I’ve been awaiting The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard since I first heard about it, it’s publication day today (kindle and paperback), and there was no way I was going to miss it. You know the way you can sometimes eagerly await the release of a book, and find it a bit of a disappointment? Well, this one most certainly wasn’t! I loved every moment of it, and really didn’t want to leave La Cour des Roses any more than Emmy did.
I wasn’t feeling very well at the weekend – nothing serious, just the tummy bug everyone seems to have had – but I really felt I needed a cuddle. And that’s exactly what I got from this perfect book as I read it from cover to cover in one glorious sitting. The author creates the most wonderful characters. Emmy fast became my very best friend – I raged on her behalf at Nathan’s behaviour, had one too many glasses with her as she put the world to rights with the wonderful Rupert, shared her admiration for Ryan’s rippling muscles and way with his hands, admired her new hair-do and her new friendship, gazed into Alain’s cinnamon eyes, and felt her pain as the time came to return home.
But it wasn’t just Emmy – every single character in this book was quite beautifully drawn, from Madame the elderly cleaner to Framboise the inquisitive dog. And La Cour des Roses and its French countryside setting was also simply perfect – clearly pictured and vividly described in every detail, from the gardens through to the interiors to the goods on the stalls on market day.
The author writes quite beautifully – easy to read, flowing, with really natural dialogue, a gentle humour and real warmth. I’m not going to make out that The Little French Guesthouse is a work of great literature, but for sheer escapist entertainment with a really involving, enjoyable and feel-good story I think you’ll find it hard to beat. And I’m willing to bet that you’ll race to the end like I did to discover how it all turns out – then wish you hadn’t because you really don’t want it to end.
More, please, Helen – and as quickly as you can make it, because I’m getting withdrawal symptoms…
My thanks to netgalley and publishers Bookouture for my advance reading e-copy.
As a child, Helen had a vivid imagination fuelled by her love of reading, so she started to create her own stories in a notebook.
She still prefers fictional worlds to real life, believes characterisation is the key to a successful book, and enjoys infusing her writing with humour and heart.
Helen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
You can follow Helen on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads: she also has an excellent blog.