Shortly after moving her family to the South of France, Sophie Reed finds a lacy bra in her husband’s luggage….and it’s not hers. Her husband admits it: he’s having an affair. So what should Sophie do? Should she give up on her dream of becoming a winemaker and move back to
with her three kids? Or embrace her inner French woman, carry on and start a new life? Well clever thing that you are, you can probably guess which path our heroine takes, her journey eased considerably by the love and support of family and friends, bright sunshine, just-baked bread, local wines, lots of yoga—and a French lover or two. England
Author Helena Frith Powell is a journalist who contributes regularly to the Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph. Love in a Warm Climate is her sixth book—she wrote the best-selling Two Lipsticks and a Lover—and her first novel. She says it’s semi-autobiographical and it came out last week.
The publisher, Gibson Square (
), alternately calls Love in a Warm Climate “a novel about the French art of love” and “a novel about the French art of having affairs”— leading one to wonder, of course, if we’re meant to believe that these are one and the same. Each chapter begins with a “rule” such as “Pick a lover who has as much to lose as you do” or “Remember that nothing has to last forever, or even for an afternoon” and so forth. The sub-plot is all about being sexier, more confident, more seductive….more French. What’s much more amusing, however, are all the vignettes about French village life, the travails of hunting for the perfect “old stone,” the behind-the-scenes peek into the world of French winemaking and all the challenges and culture shocks encountered on the road to becoming a contented and well-adjusted expat. London
The story is set in a fictitious village in the Languedoc-Rousillon, a region the author knows well. She and her family (husband Rupert; children Olivia, Bea and Leonardo), left their home in
and bought one in Pezenas in the year 2000. They lived there full time, until decamping for Sussex in 2008, and they now return each summer. Abu Dhabi
The description of the house early in the book,
tells me, perfectly describes her own when she first saw it--and other scenes were also drawn from first-hand experience. Fictional character Johnny Fray is based on real-life bad-boy chef Marco Pierre White, who, Helena reports, once gave her the snog of her life in a restaurant kitchen. Her friend and neighbor Jean-Claude Mas, of the highly rated Arrogant Frog, generously taught her all he could about winemaking in the South of France so she could sound convincing. Helena
And lucky you: the kind folks at
Gibson Square have given me two copies to give away. You know how this works: leave a comment below and we’ll choose the winners next week. If you have experience in “the French art of love” or pursued your own change-of-life fantasy or love the wines of --feel free to share! And make sure to leave us an email address; simply signing in with your web address is not enough. Or, of course, you can buy the book on Amazon here. Languedoc
Bon Chance! Cheers! Santé!