Ah, a new author! Oh ok, I’m guessing we all already know that Lucy Coleman is the alter ego of the wonderful Linn B Halton, whose books I unfailingly enjoy – but Lucy Coleman it is, and her first novel for Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus), The French Adventure, was published for kindle and in paperback on 1st February. Described as a sweet romance/cosy mystery, I’ve been really looking forward to this one.
Packed full of French flavour and idyllic settings this is a romantic, heart-warming and unputdownable new novel about life and love, perfect for anyone who loves Milly Johnson, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson.
Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents’ beautiful house in France for a much-needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.
Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents’ adjoining gites into picturesque B&Bs.
But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn’t expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist…
I always enjoy a book with a strong sense of location, and this book ticked all of my boxes with most of the story set around a restored manoir in the Loire valley and an ongoing project to renovate two adjacent gites, all described in beautiful detail. Anna and Sam work side by side to make them habitable, often in companionable silence as they both struggle with their personal sadnesses. The story is narrated by Anna, and I will admit that it did take a little while for her to win me over. Until the pivotal moment that sees her joining her parents in France, I rather wanted to shake her – and later in the story I did wonder a little why she didn’t try some direct communication rather than some of her more symbolic gestures.
But she did improve distinctly in the bosom of her family, and I very much liked her relationship with her parents and enjoyed her developing friendship with the lovely Sam. Goodness, that man has a lot of baggage – but when he smiles or jokes or joins in with the singing I couldn’t help but find myself smiling too. There were a few threads to the story that I really enjoyed – Anna’s start-up of her website design enterprise was fascinating, I loved all the interior design touches that the author always does so well, the central mystery about the items found within a wall was fascinating with some nice twists and turns, and the final resolution of Anna’s personal problems was particularly satisfying. And I must add that I absolutely adored the cat… a lovely little character!
This would be a great choice for anyone’s summer holiday reading list… a good story very well told, with a welcome infusion of French summer sunshine.
Fancy trying an excerpt? My pleasure…
The L Word
Two weeks today will be the first anniversary of our first real date. Being wined and dined in a chic little French restaurant was a gigantic step forward; it signalled the beginning of a new era in my relationship with Karl. Even though at least half of the meal was spent talking about work, his intentions were clear – we were no longer simply colleagues and romance was in the air.
Since then, Karl must have told me that he loves me more than a thousand times. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I can assure you that’s not the case. He usually manages to slip it into the conversation at least three times a day. The first time he said the L word to me, it slid off his tongue so easily I could almost have missed it. It wasn’t a staring into each other’s eyes moment of discovery, just a casual ‘love you, babe’.
As the months rolled by, I pushed aside my growing fear that it was only a word to him. Because it means so much more to me, I freeze whenever he tacks it onto a sentence.
And, yes, I’m very aware that my air of disapproval does make me sound ungrateful and undeserving. But it’s all about self-preservation, you see. I’ll never utter that word again until I’m one hundred per cent certain that the man I’m saying it to believes I’m their soul mate too – the perfect fit.
The last time I uttered the L word, was six years ago. It was to a guy I’d known since childhood and the man I genuinely believed I would marry when the time was right. He was handsome in a rugged way, fired up with ambition and exciting to be around. Sadly, everyone we knew thought we were the perfect couple too, except the guy in question, as it turned out…
With thanks to Lucy and tour organiser Brook Cottage Books I’m delighted to offer the chance to win a French coffee set. No purchase necessary. Here’s the rafflecopter for entry (UK only):
About the author
Lucy Coleman always knew that one day she would write, but first life took her on a wonderful journey of self-discovery for which she is very grateful. Family life and two very diverse careers later she now spends most days glued to a keyboard, which she refers to as her personal quality time.
‘It’s only when you know who you are that you truly understand what makes you happy – and writing about love, life and relationships makes me leap out of bed every morning!’
If she isn’t online she’s either playing with the kids, whose imaginations seem to know no bounds, or painting something. As a serial house mover together with her lovely husband, there is always a new challenge to keep her occupied!
Lucy also writes under the name Linn B. Halton.