The French Village Diaries: top Francophile book reviews – The Forgotten Summer
We love discovering interesting new books on all things French. Lifestyle, cooking, travel – you name it, we’ll check it out. In this new series, Jacqui Brown reviews and shares her top picks when it comes to French-themed books. This week, she’s reviewing ‘The Forgotten Summer’ by the actress and author, Carol Drinkwater.
The Forgotten Summer: a Provençal drama
My review today is for the brand new novel The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater, available in both hardback and ebook format.
The Forgotten Summer is set in Provence on a family run wine and olive estate. When a devastating drama hits the family, a web of hidden secrets come to light that cast doubts on the past and threatens the future of the business. Someone needs to step in, but who will be strong enough to take control?
From London to Provence: the characters’ journey
Jane and Luc Cambon appear to be a close couple from different backgrounds, who split their time between their life in London and Luc’s family estate in Provence, where helping with the harvests is something they always look forward to.
The estate is a special place for them both, but a difficult relationship with Luc’s mother Clarisse, leaves Jane emotionally exhausted and although Luc tries to reconcile the differences between the two women, they have an old secret neither have shared with him.
Clarisse is the matriarch, hard and cold on the outside, set in her ways and with a strength that comes from a difficult past. I found her a very interesting character to get to know.
A forgotten summer – not a forgotten read
This book is intriguing from the start. Carol is an excellent storyteller; layering the story from the beginning with lots of little morsels of family secrets, feuds, family history, and French history, all dotted in and built on throughout the book.
My mind was often running ahead and supposing what was coming next and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a very emotional read that did make me cry, but following the initial despair and heartbreak comes the rebuilding and back-tracking into the past, solving the mysteries that will eventually enable them to move on to a better future.
Set with a backdrop of Provençal vineyards and olive groves, with scents of the French countryside and sunshine to warm you, Carol will take you away as you become immersed in the unusual life of the Cambon family, where no one is quite who they first seemed to be. I’m sure readers will love it.
Are you a Francophile who has been gripped by the inviting Provençal backdrop of this story? Or just swept away by the excitement of the plot? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below.
- © Jaqueline Brown
- Château La Nerthe, Provence, France, by Anna & Michal via Flickr
- Oliviers et restanques, by Veronique Pagnier via Wikipedia
You can also read the interview with Carol Drinkwater the author of – The Forgotten Summer – the book reviewed above.
This article was first published on The French Village Diaries and republished here with permission as part of our content collaboration with Jacqui Brown.