I’m delighted today to be joining the blog tour for the latest book from the lovely Jennifer Bohnet, Villa of Second Chances, and sharing my review: published by Boldwood Books on 1st March, it’s now available as an ebook (free for kindle via Kindle Unlimited), in paperback, and also as an audiobook. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
I’ve been enjoying Jennie’s lovely books for quite a few years now – always the perfect escapes, set in their vividly drawn locations. You’ll find reviews of some of her earlier books here on Being Anne (A French Pirouette, The Little Kiosk by the Sea – my personal favourite! – and Rosie’s Little Café on the Riviera) and quite a few other features and guest posts too. When she joined Boldwood, it took me a while to catch up with her writing (just too many books, not because I didn’t want to…) but I finally managed to fit one in with Rendez-Vous in Cannes – a total delight, and you’ll find my review here – and again with A French Affair which I equally enjoyed (you’ll find the review here). And then I caught up again with Summer at the Chateau – another lovely read, this time set in Brittany, and you’ll find my review here. So I was thrilled to be able to pick up one of her books once more – who could pass up the chance to visit the French Riviera?
Everyone deserves a second chance… right?
Escape to the Villa in the South of France with Top 10 international bestseller Jennifer Bohnet, for an uplifting story of family, love and second chances.
Run by sisters Rebecca and Delphine, Villa Sésame is a popular venue for small intimate weddings on the sparkling French Riviera. Beautiful terraces and a horizon pool all over look the Mediterranean setting the scene to make memorable days and dreams come true.
When recently widowed Delphine unexpectedly announces her desire to retire and live a different life, Rebecca feels her own life could be slipping into free fall. How can she possibly carry on with the business without her sister at her side? Could this be the beginning of the end for Villa Sésame and Rebecca’s life as she knows it?
As the guests gather for the June wedding of Freya and Marcus, Freya’s two childhood friends bring their own problems to the villa and cousin Verity has her own agenda.
But it’s the arrival of a certain guest who throws Rebecca’s whole world into turmoil and she finds herself asking the question, where do I go from here?
Changes are coming at the Villa Sésame at Antibes on the French Riviera. Over the last twenty-five years, the sisters have turned it into the perfect wedding venue – Rebecca front-of-house and the supremely efficient organiser, Delphine creating the wonderful food. But Delphine – who’s recently lost the love of her life – has decided that it’s time to retire and do some of those things she’s never had time to do, and Rebecca’s not sure whether she can carry on without her.
But first, they must both turn their attention to the second time marriage of Freya and Marcus, and their friends and family who will be staying at the villa for the next week, and an intriguing cast of characters assembles. There are the two childhood friends who are to be bridesmaids – Clemmie in the early stages of a new relationship, Angela recently widowed and struggling with her grief and a secret that’s tearing her apart. And, as is often the case with weddings, there’s the family member that no-one really wanted to attend – scheming cousin Verity, whose presence will be uncomfortable for many – along with all the family members across the generations. But it’s perhaps best man Rufus who causes the most ripples – and gives Rebecca more to think about than the future of the villa as her past begins to catch up with her and force some difficult decisions.
I really enjoyed this one – with well-drawn characters of an age where they’ve lived a little, a nice layering of secrets and echoes from the past, interesting relationships unfolding in the present. The whole story is beautifully constructed – the introductions to all the characters and their back stories in the last week of May, the developments and relationships between them over the week of the wedding (with a few surprises and revelations along the way), then the sorting out of all the complications once the dust has settled and the wedding is over. At times, it’s primarily Rebecca’s story – but all the characters take their turn in the spotlight, every one of them with interesting depth and engagement. It’s a light read, but has the perfect emotional touch – and it all plays out against a background that’s quite beautifully drawn, where the villa almost becomes another character in the story.
Perfect escapism, an engaging and well told story, a few individuals I really took to my heart, well-drawn relationships and character development, convincing problems and satisfying solutions – and a read I’d thoroughly recommend.
About the author
Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.