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26 December 2014

Review: 'The French for Christmas' by Fiona Valpy (2014)

Evie used to LOVE Christmas, but this year she can’t wait for the tinsel and presents to be a distant memory. 

When her best friends offer the use of their cottage in the beautiful French countryside, Evie jumps at the chance. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband, celebrity chef Will Brooke, plastered over the news with his latest ‘love interest’, leaving the country seems like the perfect plan.

Armed with her French grandmother’s tattered notebook of recipes, Evie is determined to ignore Christmas altogether and bake herself back to happiness. 

And when Evie meets her next-door neighbour – the très gorgeous doctor Didier she finds a very willing taste-tester. But is it possible that he could be interested in more than just her Tarte Tatin? 

With snow falling, a special Réveillon dinner and a little Christmas magic in the air, could Didier even be the one to thaw Evie’s heart? Or will a visit from the ghost of Christmas past change everything?

Another festive read with a lovely Christmassy cover, published by the wonderful people over at Bookouture! I was really excited when I got the chance to read and review Fiona Valpy's 'The French for Christmas', not only because of the great cover and interesting blurb, but also because I was already introduced to Fiona Valpy's work earlier this year. I reviewed her novel 'The French for Always' for my blog (click here to read my review) and I loved it. It was a novel I highly recommend to any chick lit fans, and I personally really enjoyed Fiona Valpy's writing style. So, when I discovered she was releasing a Christmas novel this year, I couldn't miss it!

Evie has had a rough year and she's ready to turn her back on it, but it seems she's standing still and not able to come to terms with things. After having given birth to a stillborn baby and her marriage falling apart because of that, Evie knows she needs some time by herself. Especially since she's confronted with her ex-husband's face everywhere, since he's now a famous TV chef with a new glamorous girlfriend. When a friend offers her a stay at their holiday home in France for Christmas, Evie can't say yes quick enough in order to get away from everyday life and all the memories. In France, Evie discovers the cottage is in quite a deserted area, with only two neighbouring houses inhabited by an elderly couple and a handsome young doctor named Didier. Will Evie manage to put the past behind her this Christmas and start over, even when the holiday season has a few surprises in store for her...?

Personally, I'm just not a big fan of France, but somehow Fiona Valpy manages to make me fall in love with it as soon as I'm reading one of her novels. Just like 'The French for Always', the other novel of hers I've read, 'The French for Christmas' is a wonderfully captivating story with a great cast of characters at its core. Evie is a lovely main protagonist and incredibly easy to warm to. She's been through so much and I really enjoyed seeing her get back on her feet again, trying to find new things in life to make her happy. It almost felt like the author matched the writing style with Evie's character development; the start of the book is quite slow, but as soon as Evie starts to feel better, the pace quickens and different things start happening. It somehow seemed to be linked, which made it even easier to connect to Evie and really dive into the story.

Next to Evie, I loved the other characters as well, especially Evie's lovely neighbours in France including Bradley Cooper lookalike and handsome doctor Didier. Evie used to love cooking, which is why all kinds of delicious food also feature throughout the book; perfect for a Christmas read, of course! Fiona Valpy's writing style is a true joy to read and mixed together with a captivating and hopeful storyline, a great group of characters and a good dose of romance and festivity, this makes for a wonderful read for this time of year! 
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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