Summary: Evie is going through a rough period. Her marriage is on the rocks. She is mourning the loss of her daughter, who was stillborn. After her husband (and partner) left, her restaurant closed. He is getting a lot of media attention as his TV career takes off. He is seeing someone else. Evie’s passion for food has deserted her.
Alarmed at the extent of her depression, Evie’s friends come up with a drastic solution. They send her to France, to a cottage in the middle of nowhere for Christmas. She gladly accepts, hoping to get past the holiday season without any celebrations. Armed with her French grandmother’s tattered notebook of recipes, she goes there to try to cope with the changes in her life and to revive her love of cooking.
The cottage is in a hamlet among the Bordeaux vines that is home to only three others: an older couple Mathieu and Eliane, and the village doctor, Didier. Evie soon realises that she isn’t the only one suffering from heartache.
This book by Fiona Valpy is about how friendship and a shared love of good food slowly heals Evie’s anger and depression and helps her find her way back to romance and life.
My thoughts: I love books about characters who get up, dust themselves down and stay upright after being knocked down flat. This is one of them.
Add wonderful descriptions of the countryside, food, vegetable gardens, friendship, unconditional love and wisdom to that and you have my version of a comforting book. This is one such book.
The book also deals with the serious issue of stillbirth or miscarriage in a compassionate, gentle manner. I also appreciate that Fiona will be donating 10% of all royalties from this novel to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
It is not all emotion and tears. There is humour too; the ‘pig’ scene is an example.
This is a great heart-warming and uplifting Christmas story, with a wonderful mix of festivities, food, wine, friends and family, happiness and love.
I am planning to read the two previous ‘French’ novels by Fiona. Her writing reminds me of Rosamunde Pilcher, one f my favourite writers.
Note: The publishers, Bookouture, gave me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank them for that.