Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Giveaway: Sex! Sun! Syrah!

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 England 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.

Author Helena Frith Powell is a journalist who contributes regularly to the Sunday TimesDaily 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 (London), 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.

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 Sussex and bought one in Pezenas in the year 2000. They lived there full time, until decamping for Abu Dhabi in 2008, and they now return each summer.

The description of the house early in the book, Helena 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.

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 Languedoc--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.  

Bon Chance! Cheers! Santé!


  1. First comment maybe! I just got back from a wonderful week in Provence. Glorious! My first post about it:

  2. I would love to win....I am a huge fan of all things Frence, especially Provence.
    (email address is on my profile)

    Thank You!!

  3. Food? Yes. Wine? Of course. Sun? Always. Delightful people? Amazing!
    Yes, that is a wonderful beginning to a story, especially in the Languedoc. The book? A wonderful way to continue my visit.

  4. I am living in Provance on an off with a French boyfriend and exploring the French love and just would love to win this book. Wish me luck.

  5. This seems to be a very interesting book. Thanks a lot for sharing.
    Monika from Germany

  6. Seductive -- as all life is :) !

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  7. That sounds like a great read on a plane TO France!!!!!!I love this!I might check out the Lipstick one too.... As a writer yourself I try to check out all of your reccomenndations! Thanks julie!Maryannexo

  8. Just when I was thinking of looking for another beach-summer read... And, I love anything to do with decamping to France. Ah-h-h. If only we would just take the plunge! It'll be fun daydreaming the experience.

  9. I have stayed in that area a few times when not in my beloved Provence.
    But, since I cannot afford to travel these days, the book will be a good fix.

  10. I've visited Languedoc several time when not staying in my beloved Provence. Since I can't afford to travel these days, that book can be my fix!

  11. Fiance after FranceAugust 14, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    Bonne chance to all commenters, but you see, I MUST WIN.. I need this book... once my heart was so broken -- I took off for provence.. that was if I count correctly.. 10 years ago.. took his camera came back and we remained friends - patched things up and became engaged - 4 years later! ONLY for him to walk out 5 days before our huge engagement party and to break my 7 year old's heart. Now he's back again, and it's not close to easy... do I win the book... or what ?? You can all vote...

  12. Always fun to read about adventures in the French countryside, complete with food, wine and frolic. Since I can't make it there myself this year it would be great to explore the region through the joy of curling up and reading a good book while enjoying a glass of wine.

  13. Oooh, as someone who did take the plunge and is fascinated by the subtle shifts of all that is considered "love" in this country, I would be delighted if chosen!

  14. I love this book and I would be glad if I had it!

  15. I left Provence for love of the Languedoc Roussillon and for a man who is from the beautiful town of Sète (considered to be the Venice of France). The only trouble is that I now only have the Languedoc Roussillon left to love - we broke up shortly after I arrived. I need a good book to read to liven up my spirits.

  16. Finger crossed I might get lucky this time. The book sounds most entertaining!

  17. I need to escape my dreary existence and would love this book!

    judith313 at yahoo dot com

  18. This fracophile needs to win, needs a great read, needs a diversion from college tours,job searching, and this darn recession. Pick me!!!

  19. Dear Julie,
    I bought the book The House of France on your recommendation. It's going to be my plane read on the long haul flight from Melbourne to Paris next month. Love in a warm climate sounds delightful and would keep me company for the return trip.

  20. Sophie's escapades sound like they have the makings of a perfect summer read... Exactly what I need in my valise for my upcoming Corsican vacation!

  21. I want to win! I read lots about France. Somehow I haven't read that much about seduction. Actually this scares me. I am just getting divorced and do not want to deal with any seduction, thank you. Just want to make friends when I move (yes, I plan to move soon, when divorce is final and house sold). So I need to win and see if I will be able to make friends and influence people without any seduction once I get to France!

  22. I have been waiting for someone to distill into fiction that mesmerising and succulent joy that the French inject into life and love. Could this be a skill that is learnt and if so, could this be the book to teach it? Fingers and toes crossed....

  23. Is it possible that someone could finally distill the succulent joy of life and love into fiction.

    Could it be true that this joy is a skill that can be learnt and that this is the book that could teach it?

    My fingers are crossed...

  24. I'd be thrilled to win this book! I'm a former French teacher working in Study Abroad now at a major US university......lifelong francophile!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win,



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