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?
Bubby: It sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Being in a cottage in the French countryside for Christmas? But for me, the holidays are all about family. I remember one Thanksgiving that I had to spend all alone – back before I was married – because of work conflicts. It was awful. Granted, a good part of that was because I hadn’t learned how to cook yet and I ate a turkey pot pie for dinner, but the bigger part was being alone. And poor Evie is completely alone, because she thinks that’s what she wants. Luckily for her, fate has other plans in mind and her Not-Christmas takes her places she never could have seen coming. (My alone Thanksgiving took me nowhere, in case you were wondering. And yes, I am still a little bitter!)
Sissy: It does sound tempting to run away from everything to a quiet place (especially if that quiet place is in Southern France), but Evie was running from her own heartbreak, and we all know you can’t run away from yourself. What is magical about this story is the beautifully described scenery, food, and people who Evie encounters, laced with lyrical French words and phrases. I loved the Not-Christmas apple tree in the backyard of Evie’s cottage still dotted with red fruit and a cardinal in residence that is the first thing to stir up a holiday feeling in her heart. No matter how hard she tries to escape it, the human and non-human surroundings in her “alone” spot conspire to put the joy back in her life. And Bubby, if I could go back in time I would never let you spend Thanksgiving alone.
Bubby: Ah, that’s so sweet, Sissy! Thanks! I loved the slow, gentle progression of healing that took place in The French For Christmas. It was beautiful to watch two wounded characters finally find joy and solace through meeting each other. Reminds me of how I care for Sissy when she has one of her “episodes”. It really brings us closer.
Sissy: Yeah, it’s just too bad you don’t look like Bradley Cooper, who our love interest Didier happens to strongly resemble. Yup. Whilst reading this I was having flashbacks of the movie “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. Only that was the English countryside, and the handsome guy was Jude Law, but what the heck. I’ll take him too. Anyway, The French for Christmas by Fiona Valpy is a wonderfully pleasing read, even if you have to read it someplace boring that is not France, like my living room.
Bubby: Completely satisfying and entirely delightful. The French for Christmas made me ever so happy.
Sissy: Me too. I had just started and discarded a different Christmas-themed book that had seemed promising but turned out to be a lusty mistletoe infested bodice ripper. I’m so glad The French for Christmas was next on my list!
Click HERE to buy The French For Christmas by Fiona Valpy at Amazon.com
We were given a copy of this title by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review
Copyright 2014 Bubble Bath Books