FLAVOURS OF FRANCE

I have just returned from my annual visit to London for the FRANCE SHOW held over three bustling and exuberant days at Olympia, Kensington. This one was particularly special for me because I was presenting my new novel, THE FORGOTTEN SUMMER, which is to be published on 11th February. The team working on the book at Michael Joseph, Penguin, were terrific and organised advance copies to be printed up – and they looks GORGEOUS – so that we could offer signed copies for sale after each of my daily talks.

Copyright: Tim Dickeson

Copyright: Tim Dickeson

It was the book’s first outing and I was a little nervous, but we had a very large and enthusiastic audience every day and the books sold out. Indeed, we could have sold more. The most thrilling part for me was to meet so many readers from the Olive Farm series who were excited to read a new novel by me.

Advance reviews have started to come in from readers and bloggers. All appear to be, as my lovely editor, Maxine Hitchcock, wrote when she sent them through to me “glowing”, which is a HUGE relief because these lead-up days to publication are always nerve-racking.

Here are a few examples of what has been written:

  • It’s a compelling, engrossing story and really transports you to the heat and beauty of Provence.
  • A beautiful, atmospheric story of loss, family drama and mystery. The descriptions of Provence add to its charm with sights, sounds and smells transporting the reader into the heart of the Les Cigales estate. The characters are extremely well written and Jane’s raw emotions are clearly felt throughout. I highly recommend this book!
  • Carol’s love of Provence shines through in the evocative descriptions of the Provencal countryside and way of life. The characters are well-drawn and the story is interesting, with a few unexpected twists.
  • This book will be an ideal holiday read.
  • I really enjoyed the tense story… and the secret? Well let’s just say it was not what I was expecting!!

THE FORGOTTEN SUMMER is a love story between an English woman, Jane, and a Frenchman, Luc, who has grown up on his mother’s beautiful vineyard estate in the south of France. Jane and Luc have known each other since she was seven years old. So, this is a story of an enduring love; a love that has been nurtured across distant shores. The novel also narrates the slow unfolding of a secret that has been buried so long it has twisted and damaged lives; a secret that has closed down someone’s heart.

I have taken a little-known episode of French modern history (little-known outside France) and woven it into the fabric of the story and allowed it to seep through the character’s lives and personalities.

It has been a really exciting experience to write this book because I have stepped away from my own world – although THE FORGOTTEN SUMMER is set on my Provençal doorstep – and allowed my imagination to fly while remaining in a culture and environment I know so well. A different discipline and great fun.

Fruit, perfume, litres of home-produced wine,  and olive oil, (bien sûr), freshly-grown organic vegetables, passionate weekends in Paris, bicycle rides to the beach, swimming in deserted Mediterranean bays, secrets from the past, days of falling in love… THE FORGOTTEN SUMMER.

Yes, love is in the air and THE FORGOTTEN SUMMER is a perfect Valentine’s gift.

As I mentioned above, it is published on 11th February and should be in a bookshop near you very soon. Also, I will be over in the UK again at the beginning of March for four or five live events. Please check out my Events page on the website and if you are in the neighborhood, I would be thrilled to bits if you came along and said hello and gave me a thumbs up. The best times for me are when I meet readers. I thoroughly enjoy listening to what they – you! – have to say about what they – you! – have read of my previous work and what you hope to enjoy in the new one.

There is little other news because I am completely taken up with this book and the writing of the next one at present. However, we are clearing our recently acquired patch of land to plant it up with almonds and clementines as well as a few more olive trees. I have this picture in my head of spring next year when we walk out onto the upper terrace and look towards the Mediterranean and spy there, on the new plot, soft pink almond blossoms. The almond is the first fruit tree in the Med to flower. It heralds spring. It is followed, a few weeks later, by the highly-scented citrus trees…  All of these will be sweet nectar for the honeybees. We have well over three hundred olive trees and although it would be terrific to plants dozens more and begin to make a small business from our oil, I am more concerned that we offer sufficient varieties of nectar for the bees who, as we know, (see my Bee page on this website) are struggling for their existence.

And for us, those descending terraces lined with flowering trees will also offer a very beautiful springtime view.

So, an Olive Farm project for the future and a book that has completed its journey with me and is now ready and waiting for you. Do buy it, indulge your senses, inhale the perfumes of the surrounding nature, sip the rosé wines produced on Luc’s family estate: Then please let me know what you think and don’t forget if you can, to come along and say hello at one of our upcoming events.

Thanks for reading this. Have a wonderful springtime, full of good books; adventures and l’amour.

Carol

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