I was reading this book in that heatwave we had last week. It was the hottest day of the year when Edinburgh actually had the top temperature of the day in Scotland, quite unusual since we are on the often cooler East Coast. I felt as though I’d actually been transported to France! Many years ago I spent a few weeks on holiday in Provence and just loved it. This book brought back many memories of the beautiful countryside, the pretty villages, the delicious wine – and the heat! With so much about making rosé wine in the book, I just had to pop a bottle in the fridge which we enjoyed later.
Ava’s world has crumbled when her husband Mark drops a bombshell or two. She loses her home and her marriage and is reduced to staying with a friend. Her husband was a really horrible character, I found it impossible to find any redeeming features in him. Their daughter Sophie wasn’t much better! She was so self-absorbed and showed little sympathy towards her mother. At least by the end, she was showing more kindness and understanding.
Things begin to look up when Ava hears she has inherited her grandfather’s vineyard in Provence. She heads there with every intention of selling and solving her money worries. When she gets to the vineyard, she finds it and the house very different to her childhood memories, but as those memories flood back she becomes rather attached to the place.
All those A Home in the Sun type programmes make it seem like a dream to move to a hot country and live a life of leisure. This book showed that it’s not always that easy and it can sometimes involve a lot of hard graft. The village near the vineyard sounded just like the places I remember from when I visited Provence. It was full of quirky characters and one thing I enjoyed about this book was that Ava became involved with the people in the village. She didn’t keep to herself or just befriend ex-pats as so many people seem to do when they move abroad. Mind you, I’m not sure she had much option as the area was most definitely very French and didn’t appear to have many foreign residents. When she meets hot young waiter Jacques, there is more than a hint of romance.
There was a mystery to be solved in this book too. Why had Ava’s mother taken her away from her grandfather’s vineyard so suddenly when she was a little girl and why had there been no contact since? Ava clearly had fond memories of a loving grandfather and it was touching to read about how her grandfather had always loved her and about the secrets which had been kept from her.
What I really enjoyed about this book, apart from the wonderful setting, was Ava discovering what she wanted in life, the strength within her and doing what she wanted for once. The Little Vineyard in Provence is perfect for summer reading with a glass of something chilled close by. Just the thing to read in the garden or by the pool on a lazy day. And if it’s not a hot, sunny day? Well, this book will make you feel like it is.
My thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blogtour and for arranging my review copy of the book via Netgalley. The Little Vineyard in Provence is published by Trapeze available now in paperback and ebook formats. You can order a copy online here: The Little Vineyard in Provence
From the back of the book
Ava needs to escape.
Stuck in a dead-end job, her husband Mark has left her with a mountain of debt and no clue as to when he’ll be back.
When she receives the news that her grandfather has passed away, Ava is shocked to learn he has left his entire vineyard, Chateau Saint Clair, to her.
Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, a glass of red with the handsome local waiter Jacques; Ava starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her marriage, to take a chance on a place she fell for as a child – wouldn’t it?
About the author
Ruth Kelly is an award-nominated journalist, who has ghosted a string of Sunday Times bestsellers.
Ruth has had over ten years’ experience in print journalism and television. She has a background in newspapers, having trained as a news reporter. Ruth then went on to freelance for the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror and The Sun. Her magazine experience includes covering as news features editor for Grazia, deputy features editor for Look magazine and helping More magazine relaunch, as features editor. She also worked in TV as a news producer for Richard and Judy, and a writer for Endemol. Working as a ghostwriter has allowed Ruth to capture the voices of celebrities as well as ordinary people with extraordinary stories.