One French Summer – Gillian Harvey

Only child out of the house – so far out that she’s gone all the way to Australia! A husband, who has requested a break. Life isn’t quite going as planned for Katy. She’s suddenly at a loss, but she still has her friends Sam, Vicky and Ivy. The girls have been there for her through thick and they’re not about to stop now. However, they think Katy might need more than boot camp.. so they kidnap her and head off to France on a last minute retreat.

Can a reset give her a new lease on life or help her win back her husband? Or could there be a newlove in her life?
She went for a holiday, but it could become the start of a second chance.

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It was with great excitement that I seized the opportunity to review Gillian Harvey’s latest novel, ‘One French Summer’, having previously enjoyed both the passion throughout the books and the author’s obvious zeal for those same books. From the very beginning I found myself enchanted by this book’s cover, inviting me to ‘come in’ and enjoy it.

I genuinely felt for Katy, with all that was going on in her life; how dreadful to have misread the situation with her estranged husband, getting it so terribly wrong! Nevertheless I thought that she couldn’t be in better hands, than with her stalwart group of close friends looking out for her.

I didn’t need to learn much about Katy’s ex, Will, to discover that he was controlling; to my mind, abusively so, for example, not ‘allowing’ her to put the bins out, unless she was wearing lip gloss! Whilst some might not read too much into Will’s ways, this type of controlling, coercive behaviour, quite honestly makes my skin crawl! If I wasn’t already fond of Katy’s group of girlfriends, I loved the way that they ‘seized the moment’ to take Katy away on a last minute break. I fervently hoped that this would be enough to enable Katy to envisage a life without Will.

The French Art Retreat that Katy’s friends had booked, sounded utterly idyllic, my only concern being that Kate still talked about going back to Will when she got back home. It was strange, as though Katy was the only person amongst all her Friends and the readers of this book, that considered a reconciliation a viable option! I must confess to wishing I could confiscate Katy’s phone, when she texted Will from France – and then felt ridiculous, that I was finding myself so caught up with the lives of a fictitious group of people. Full credit to the author, for writing about a group of people, such that I found myself caring so – I felt fully immersed in the whole terrible situation.

The arrival of Bob bought a change to the mix, but there seemed to be something about him…..and Cecile didn’t seem particularly fond of him. Was there some kind of history there? The arrival of Cecile’s Brother Valentin augured well however, as he seemed to blend in seamlessly with the existing group and provided some much needed male good looks!.

I felt really sad as Katy seemed to turn against her friends – doubting their motive – it was almost as though she knew they were right about Will, yet not wanting to admit it to herself, let alone them. I just hoped that their friendship would survive.

I really enjoyed this book, from start to finish, so I throughly recommend that you read it for yourself, to find out what happens – whether Katy’s eyes are opened to the ‘real Will’, whether her relationship with her friends is restored, and whether or not Katy finds a bit loving (or even a bit of ‘hot passion’ in France! I felt a rollercoaster of emotions – despair at Katy’s reluctance to accept the ‘Will situation’, tears at the fracture of the group of friends, and much laughter, for example the life drawing class! In all I thoroughly enjoyed a well written, rounded book, with a group of characters with whom I thoroughly empathised and bought into their individual outcomes.

My only note of warning with this book, would be not to start reading it too late in the day, lest you fall into the trap to which I succumbed, and end up doing another ‘all-nighter’ glued to its bewitching pages.


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