It’s a pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for A Leap of Faith at the Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock: the third and final book in the Domaine des Montagnes series, this one was published on 25th August, and is available both for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback. Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support.
I was incredibly impressed when I heard Julie talk about her writing at the Deepings Literary Festival a couple of years ago. I went on to thoroughly enjoy The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge (review here) – and I then read (and very much enjoyed) her debut on its fifth birthday, From Here to Nashville (review here). I unfortunately just couldn’t manage to read The Vineyard in Alsace, the first in this series (you’ll find details of the whole series here), and I read the second, Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace, as a standalone (you’ll find my review here). I really would recommend starting this series from the beginning, although there’s nothing to stop you dipping in as I did – but this time round I again just couldn’t fit in the reading, so I’ll have to await whatever Julie does next, knowing how much I love her writing.
But let’s take a closer look…
It’s winter at The Vineyard in Alsace, and wedding bells are in the air
How do you know when you’re ready for love?
Ellie Robinson has spent her life running from commitment following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage when she was young. She doesn’t believe in happy ever afters and the last thing she wants is to settle down in one place when she could be travelling the world.
Having moved from place to place throughout his childhood, Henri Weiss now calls the vineyard in Alsace home, and he loves the stability the vineyard and the people on it give him. While he enjoys travelling, it’s always good to come home again.
Following an extended travelling trip together, Ellie and Henri find their differences more marked than before, despite their love for each other being even stronger. Then a series of shocks in Ellie’s personal life throws things into turmoil, leaving Ellie unsure as to how to get everything she wants. And Henri facing the loss of the future he has dreamed of.
Can Ellie and Henri reconcile their very different desires and take a leap of faith on their love for each other? Will they get the happy ever after they’ve both been longing for?
Escape to The Vineyard in Alsace once again for this uplifting, romantic read and enjoy Christmas at Domaine des Montagnes.
So, no review this time – but I’m delighted to welcome author Julie Stock as my guest to tell us more about the Christmas markets of Alsace…
We’re all very familiar with Christmas markets these days, with almost every large town and certainly most cities in the UK and beyond having a Christmas market at some point over the festive period. But the ones in Alsace are still among the most wonderful I’ve ever been to, and not very far away now either. It takes about five hours from London by train, although it is quite expensive but if you want to do your bit for the planet and have the time to take a relaxed approach, the train journey is certainly worthwhile.
In Alsace, the Christmas markets usually open around the end of November and carry on either to Christmas Eve or to the end of the year. One of the things that makes the Christmas markets in Alsace so magical is that some of them have been taking place for a really long time.
The Christkindelsmärik in the Alsace capital of Strasbourg has been going for four centuries now and is said to be the oldest Christmas market in France. It usually has something like 300 wooden chalets spread out across the whole city for visitors to wander round. In A Leap of Faith at the Vineyard in Alsace, Ellie takes in just a small part of the market by the river, but she manages to experience some of the most traditional parts of an Alsatian Christmas market visit, including the spicy mulled wine and some bredele, Alsatian biscuits.
Strasbourg is also beautifully illuminated at night throughout the Christmas market period, and it really is an amazing spectacle to see the enormous Christmas tree and all the decorated streets and houses. So much of the joy of the market is wrapped around the place itself, which is such a beautiful city and easily reached from London nowadays on the TGV as Ellie and Henri find out in the story.
The other place worth going to in Alsace for their Christmas market is Colmar, an even more fairy-tale setting than Strasbourg. Although much smaller than the capital, they still have around six markets going on all at once in the town. Each market has a particular theme, encouraging you to visit them all – as if you wouldn’t!
So, this love of the Christmas markets in Alsace is what led me to include a scene in A Leap of Faith where Henri takes Ellie to their own version of a Christmas market. He wants her to see how much a part of the community it is, and she falls in love with all the stalls and the decorations just as he hopes she will. As I was writing the scene, I was able to remember all the lovely Christmas markets I’ve visited over the years, both at home and abroad, but especially the magical ones in Alsace.
All in all, there are nearly 200 Christmas markets taking place in Alsace each year so there are plenty of places to choose from, even during a short stay in the region. As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve even persuaded myself that it might be time to try and go back to Alsace this Christmas for another visit to the many markets. It could be just the thing to lift our spirits after all that we’ve been through over the past couple of years.
With thanks to Julie and Rachel, I’m pleased to be able to offer the chance to win a signed copy of A Leap of Faith at the Vineyard in Alsace plus some festive goodies (open for entries from the UK only).
The prize contains the following:
- a signed paperback copy of A Leap of Faith at the Vineyard in Alsace
- a sachet of Galaxy instant hot chocolate
- a tin of RHS stem ginger cookies
- a RHS Christmas bauble with a snowdrop decoration on it.
Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Terms and Conditions UK entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the author
Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in 2015, after starting to write as an escape from the demands of her day job as a teacher. A Leap of Faith at the Vineyard in Alsace is her eleventh book, and the third in the Domaine des Montagnes series set on a vineyard.
Julie is now a full-time author, and loves every minute of her writing life. When not writing, she can be found reading, her favourite past-time, running, a new hobby, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, glass of wine in hand.
Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors. She is married and lives with her family in Cambridgeshire in the UK.