Surprise! Today it isn’t a thriller but a nice book that I’d recommend for when you need some downtime and to engage with people whose problems aren’t about somebody trying to murder them. Oh, and in the Riviera…
Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera by Jennifer Bohnet
Escape the winter blues with Jennifer Bohnet’s deliciously heartwarming read. A summer of taking chances! Rosie Hewitt’s dream of opening a little French cafe on the Riviera is finally coming true. She’s giving up on love and instead chasing her own perfect recipe for happiness…Only, she never expected the oh-so-sexy, award-winning chef, Sebastian Groc, to set up his restaurant next door – or for his freshly-baked croissants to smell quite so delicious. But with just a few days until she opens her doors and all her sugar-coated dreams crumbling around her, Rosie isn’t prepared to give up without a fight! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Ellen Berry and Caroline Roberts. Praise for Jennifer Bohnet: ‘A beautiful book, a perfect read for when you need a little bit of sunshine to help you through your day.’ – Book Worm Mummy ‘Jennifer Bohnet took me away into a sunny world full of surprises! I read the entire book in one sitting.’ – Urban Book Reviews ‘A great holiday read to chase away the winter blues.’ – Lesley Newton (Good Housekeeping) ‘I loved it so much that I read it in one sitting!’ – Alison Alcroft (NetGalley Reviewer) ‘A fun, feel-good story to lift the gloom of an English winter!’ – Bev Humphrey (NetGalley Reviewer) ‘A perfect holiday book, I felt like I was in the South of France sipping a glass of wine!’ – Alison Robinson (NetGalley Reviewer)
About the author:
Jennifer is English, originally from the West Country but now living in the wilds of rural Brittany, France. She’s still not sure how she ended up there! The saying ‘Life is what happens while you’re deciding what to do’ is certainly true in her case. She’s always written alongside having various jobs: playgroup leader, bookseller, landlady, restauranteur, farmer’s wife, secretary/p,a – the list is endless but does provide a rich vein of inspiration for her stories.
For three years she wrote a newspaper column in The South Hams Group of Newspapers (Devon)where she took a wry look at family life. Since living in France it is her fiction that has taken off with hundreds of short stories and several serials published internationally. if you like stories set down on the French Riviera, Antibes, Cannes and Monaco, then take a look at Follow Your Star and Rendezvous in Cannes. Her other books too have passing references to the South of France.
Allergic to housework and gardening she rarely does either but she does like cooking and entertaining and wandering around vide greniers (the French equivalent of flea markets) looking for a bargain or two. Her children currently live in fear of her turning into an ageing hippy and moving to Totnes, Devon.
To find out more about Jennifer visit her website:
or chat to her on Twitter: @jenniewriter
I was provided with an ARC copy of this novel by the publisher through NetGalley and voluntarily decided to review it.
The French Riviera is the setting of this story that follows a few months in the lives of several British women who’ve adopted France as their home. Rosie, a chef who had worked in yachts for a few years, finally takes the plunge and opens her own café. She dreams of making a go of the business although people tell her she’s going to fail (trying to convince French people they should eat British food is not going to be easy). She has quite a few difficulties to conquer (the hotel next door opening soon, and owned by a chef with not one but two Michelin stars, Seb, a complaint of food poisoning, an ex-boyfriend who never gives up, her mother and her younger boyfriend, and other family issues). Erica, a widow with a young daughter, finds it difficult to move on and make sense of life without her husband. GeeGee, an estate agent whose boyfriend upped and left cannot make ends meet and has to get inventive.
Most of the characters in the novel face personal losses and changes in circumstances they have to deal with as best they can. They are very different and face their problems in different ways, some by taking time and reflecting, going slowly, others by asking for advice and help and others still by jumping into action and never stopping to think. Apart from two very minor characters (both exes, a male and a female), all the rest are sympathetic (or eventually they become so) and are people most of us wouldn’t mind meeting and spending time with. There are family secrets revealed, happy moments and sad ones, dogs, wonderful food and scenery, a beautiful setting, amazing properties we’d all like to live in, and of course, romance, plenty of it.
All of the characters learn that you must let go (of your preconceived ideas, of the past, of the fear of having to be independent, and also of the fear of being in a relationship…) and that sometimes you have to reinvent yourself and re-evaluate what’s really important. We all make mistakes but it’s important to try and learn from them and make amends when the opportunity presents itself.
The book is written in the third person, from the alternating points of view of the three women, and it flows well, moving with ease from one character to another, with engaging descriptions of locations, objects and food. There are no psychological depths to explore and although there are obstacles to be overcome, there is no excess of drama and the characters’ emotions and reactions feel natural, credible and not forced.
The story is a feel-good read, with some sad and darker moments and with many stories intertwined (that means not all the characters are fully developed but it’s easy to find somebody to root and care for). A light-hearted story, recommended for the icy days of winter (meteorological or emotional) and a good substitute for chocolate and/or a holiday. (Also a good holiday read.)
Thank you to NetGalley and to the publishers for the novel, thanks to all of you for writing and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!