A Year at the French Farmhouse by Gillian Harvey
Escape to France with this warm, witty romantic read.
After ten years of loyal service Daisy Butterworth has been made redundant. Like any clever woman, she knows the cure to redundancy is a little too much wine and her best friend.
Only the next morning, Daisy has more than a hangover . . . she has a whole new house – in France!
Seeing this as an opportunity instead of a disaster, she’s excited about finally moving to France, just as she and her husband always dreamed of. However, Daisy is in for another surprise. Despite planning to move there for over 20 years, her husband never actually intended to go.
So begins a year in France, alone, renovating the gorgeous old farmhouse that is held together by wallpaper and wishes.
Will a year at the French farmhouse be just what Daisy needs? Or could it be the previous owner, Frederique, that is the answer to Daisy’s dreams?
Daisy and Ben’s lives are suddenly thrown into a turmoil neither of them could have anticipated. First Daisy is made redundant, then she mistakenly buys the cottage of ‘their’ dreams in rural France, and then Ben admits he can’t follow her to the new life they had been talking about for decades.
What follows is at the same time sad, funny and full of promise, as Daisy throws herself into completing the purchase of a cottage she hasn’t seen and begins the first steps in making a life for herself in France.
Daisy was a character who was easy to warm to. I felt her sadness at the changes thrust upon her, but her enthusiasm for her new adventure shone through, despite the frustrations as she tried to adapt to the French ways.
What stood out for me the most was the Frenchness of this book and especially the characters we meet. It was obvious that the author has extensive experience of life in rural France, and she has cleverly crafted some lovely characters that I could imagine bumping into in my corner of France, which isn’t too far from where she and her family now call home. She has created a clever mix of keeping the romance of a new life in France alive, for those who read books like this to fuel their dreams, as well as not shying away from the challenges a move like this invariable throws you. Add into the mix a complicated family situation that needs resolving and storyline that highlights the importance of friendship, and this book had a lot to keep me turning the pages.
If you are looking for a book to read this autumn that is sure to keep the memory of summer alive as the nights draw in, why not pick up a copy of A Year at the French Farmhouse.
Gillian Harvey is a freelance journalist and the author of two well-reviewed women’s fiction novels published by Orion. She has lived in Limousin, France for the past twelve years, from where she derives the inspiration and settings for her books. Her first title for Boldwood, A Year at the French Farmhouse, will be published in September 2022.
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