I can’t believe how long it is since Carol Wyer featured on Linda’s Book Bag. Last time we were celebrating the publication of Carol’s The Missing Girls in a post you can read here. I have also been lucky enough to interview Carol about her writing here to mark the publication of Carol’s Little Girl Lost.
Today, with enormous thanks both to Carol and Ellie Pilcher at Canelo I am reviewing What Happens in France.
What Happens in France will be published by Canelo in early 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
What Happens in France
In What Happens in France, Bryony Masters isn’t one to shy from a challenge, so when her father falls sick she makes it her mission to find her long-lost sister and reunite their family. With the help of handsome friend Lewis, she snags a coveted spot on a primetime game show set in beautiful France – the perfect, public platform to launch her search!
With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.
Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish…
My Review of What Happens in France
With their father having suffered a stroke, Bryony is desperate to find her runaway sister Hannah before it’s too late.
What Happens in France is a hugely entertaining read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t know if it’s a case of the right book at the right moment but I had been feeling very depressed and low and a couple of days immersed in the events in France brought the smile back to my face, even if I did shed a small tear too.
I thought the concept of the game show for What Happens in France worked brilliantly because it resonates with the kind of programmes to which we all seem to be addicted. It gave a super insight into the gameshow process and I loved the way it linked to traditional quizzes and treasure hunts too so that there was a smashing blend of expectation and surprise in the plot. The French setting was lovely and has made me want to visit the places mentioned and I have to confess to feeling quite hungry at times reading Carol Wyer’s descriptions of the food.
I found all the characters vivid, lively and engaging except for a certain Professor Potts who was still lively and realistic but not at all engaging. Rather, I wanted to punch him – hard. I’m not usually a great fan of dogs in stories but Biggie Smalls totally captured my heart because of the quality of Carol Wyer’s writing. He was an absolute hoot and I could just picture the expressions on his face. I hope I’ll be seeing more of him in future books.
What appealed to me most about What Happens in France, however, was indeed Carol Wyer’s writing style. I thought the contrast between past and present tenses distinguished the different sections highly effectively but most of all I loved what I saw as a kind of honesty in her writing. It’s difficult to define quite what I mean but I found the narrative accessible, easy to read and, well, congenial I suppose. It made me feel as relaxed reading What Happens in France as Bryony is in her relationship with Melinda.
Speaking of relationships, I thought the interplay between the characters was deftly handled so that I believed utterly what happened between them. I am definitely hoping there will be more adventures for them in future books. I don’t want to say too much as it will spoil the read for others, but there is so much to enjoy in the dynamics between Bryony and Lewis in particular.
Given that What Happens in France is essentially quite light-hearted, Carol Wyer explores some weighty themes too. Hannah’s story is one of guilt, responsibility and identity whilst the power of social media, television and celebrity underpins much of the action. Love and trust, families and friendship are all woven in too so that there’s a good layer of depth to this story that I found very satisfying.
What Happens in France is comic, romantic, entertaining and, at times, a little bit bonkers, so that it really is feel good fiction. I had enormous fun reading it and I really recommend it.
About Carol Wyer
As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published by Safkhet and journalism in many magazines.
Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.