My enormous thanks to Sophie Claire for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for her latest book, An Escape to Provence and to Oliver Martin at Hodder for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share that review today.
An Escape to Provence was published by Hodder and Stoughton on 21st July 2022 and is available for purchase here.
An Escape to Provence
Where there’s a will, can love find a way?
When cynical divorce lawyer Daisy Jackson unexpectedly inherits a ramshackle farmhouse in Provence, she sets off for the French countryside to oversee renovations herself.
But Gabriel Laforet has other ideas. A local builder with ties to the property, Gabriel is determined to see Daisy off and preserve the characterful, charming farmhouse – which, but for a missing will, he knows is rightfully his.
When the two meet, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different: Gabriel has lived in the small country village all his life; Daisy is a city girl whose career means everything. He is laid-back and messy; she is used to being in control. As they begin to work together, sparks fly. Yet they’re inexplicably drawn to each other and, in the heat of the Provence sun, secrets begin to spill. Perhaps Daisy can trust him with her carefully guarded heart after all?
But Gabriel is still searching for the missing will that proves the farmhouse belongs to him – and in doing so, risks upturning everything he and Daisy have started to build together . . .
My Review of An Escape to Provence
Daisy Jackson has inherited a run down house in Provence.
My goodness, An Escape to Provence was a delight to read. Sophie Claire whisks the reader away to her Provençal setting just perfectly, with the heat, the aromas, the weather, the food and just enough smatterings of simple French to make to story feel completely authentic. Reading An Escape to Provence made me want to be in the region immediately and I certainly felt transported to the setting.
The plot in An Escape to Provence is very much a ‘will they, won’t they?’ romance, but that only enhances the enjoyment of reading the book as it is sheer escapism. I think I found myself as much in love with Gabriel Laforet as any fictional character I’ve ever read about. He embodies the perfect fantasy hero so that there’s real interest in how his relationship with Daisy might develop – and not a little day-dreaming on my part too! That isn’t to say he is stereotypical or two dimensional. Far from it. He has his stubbornness, his intractable sense of morality and his temper too that add to the layers in his personality, making him all the more vivid.
Daisy works so well as a character because there is genuine change and development over the course of the narrative. Her demons from the past are satisfyingly, gradually, revealed giving her a complexity that makes her all the more real. I think the pressure she feels to exceed her own expectations is something so many women feel and I found myself increasingly drawn to her as a person as I read.
Because An Escape to Provence is so clearly set in a warm, vibrant and realistic community, the story seems to unfold more convincingly. I enjoyed meeting the secondary characters, and especially the catalyst of the deceased Jeanette, every bit as much as Daisy and Gab.
An Escape to Provence crackles and fizzes with sexual tension in the heat of the summer and yet there is genuine romance here too that engages the reader. I loved the underpinning themes of moral and legal right, family and community, self-preservation, truth and self-knowledge that gave An Escape to Provence added layers of interest alongside a smashing summer read.
An Escape to Provence is a lovely summer story and you need to pack it in your suitcase immediately! I thoroughly enjoyed it.
About Sophie Claire
Sophie Claire, born to a French mother and Scottish father, grew up in Manchester where she still lives with her husband and two sons. She writes stories centred around sunny Provence, where she spent her summers as a child.