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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.2 out of 5
5 Stars
32 reviews have 5 stars
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  • Take a trip to France.

    Summer in Provence is a story about self-realization, discovering hidden aspects of oneself, stepping out of one’s comfort zone. When Fern and her husband Aiden win a lottery prize, he suggests they use the money to explore their singular interests separately...a gap year in their marriage. Aiden loves to travel and go camping, a hobby Fern doesn’t share. But Fern has always been the peacemaker, the problem solver, the one everyone in her family depends on, so she reluctantly agrees. Her childhood interest in drawing leads her on a retreat in Provence where she discovers her love for painting... and so much more. The author has created a “family” at the retreat where everyone pitches in and supports the group. The multiple characters are well defined, each one searching for...well let’s just say searching. No spoilers! There are life lessons to be learned as personalities are uncovered, secrets revealed, and talents discovered. The story is mostly about Fern’s experience, but as readers are given glimpses into Aiden’s path the question about the survival of the marriage becomes a very real one. I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. Most highly recommend.

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  • Lovely book of love, discovery and passion

    Thank you to Netgalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion. This a lovely book of discovery, love and passion. A sudden windfall leaves Fern and her husband Aiden in a position to better their lives, but Fern is devastated to learn that what Aidan wants is to take a year apart from one another and discover things about themselves that they’ve never had a chance to. They have been together since high school, and he says that this could be their gap year to discover themselves and be a better couple in the long run, Fern is not sure about his motives but she eventually agrees goes along with the idea and is pushed into taking time out to discover if she really enjoys drawing and art. Fern volunteers for the next year at a retreat in an isolated area of Provence. Right from the minute she gets there, she feels that she fits in. Nico the head painter takes her under his wing and it discovers that she is quite talented with painting and as we follow her through the year and see her grow as a woman, sister, friend and spouse. She and Aiden try their best to keep in touch and Fern worries about him a great deal as he treks around the world enjoying new experiences. But is their distance going to help or hinder them in the long run. How easy will it be to go back to their regular lives when this is all over? Will they really grow as a couple or grow apart? I really enjoyed this book and in this time of pandemic when travel is banned, it was lovely to escape to Provence, I could almost smell the roses and herbs in the herb garden.

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  • An Injection of Sunshine & Warmth!

    It's that time of year when we've had our fill of chilly mornings, interminable grey days and rain which seems like it will never stop; what's needed more than anything is an injection of sunshine and warmth - and that is exactly what this novel brings. Fern and Aiden are a young, hard-working professional couple; when they have an unexpected cash injection Fern hopes they can bring forward their plans to start a family. Aiden, however, sees it as an opportunity to spread his wings and travel the world. And so begins their year apart, each pursuing their own interests before getting back together again and continuing on with their lives . . . I wasn't quite sure how this was going to work - but work it did. As we follow Fern to Provence, we begin to understand how much she misses her husband, parents and siblings and just how much they each mean to her. In some ways, a year is no time at all whilst in others it's an eternity; her year unfolds at different paces but what clearly shines through is that it's her year. I found this a very comfortable and soothing read; the author really does full justice to the scenic area of Provence, creating a fabulous group of really appealing characters, each with their own history. I can't say I expected where it went - I didn't really expect anything at all, happy to just go with the flow. A novel really worth reading from a writer who understands her characters and lets the story lead the way. I was happy with how it 'ended' - the final bits, wrapping up each character's future, was a nice idea but, for me, unnecessary. A memorable read, and one I'm very happy to give 4.5*.

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  • Self discovery in a dreamy setting🌄

    🎨Gorgeous setting for Fern's year of self discovery: a bit long on details🌿 Author Lucy Coleman must have an artistic soul; the portraits she paints of the flora, fauna and landscapes of Provence are loaded with details seen through an artist's eye. It's a lovely backdrop (maybe even a minor character) in this story of twenty-something married woman Fern, off to volunteer at a retreat and, in the process, discovering herself and her untapped skill as an artist. The family she leaves back in England and the staff and visitors to the magnificent chateau retreat that becomes her temporary home are well-drawn. Fern's husband remains a pretty sketchy character considering his key role in her life and her year-long hiatus from her normal commitments. Although love and longing are part of the story, I would characterize the plot as more self discovery than romance, with challenges faced and conquered by Fern and the friends she makes in her supportive role at the retreat. Fern is a natural worrier and fixer; with her family hundreds of miles distant, she transfers her fixer skills to the residents of the retreat. As to her marriage, I can't imagine how much it frustrated her to be so remote and out of the loop on where her own relationship was headed!🙁 Overall, it's a compelling story, though I found the novel a bit long, mostly thanks to the detailed background descriptions, and Fern gets a bit preachy at times and ready to take control. The complex relationship between Fern and her artistic mentor juxtaposed against her confused interactions with her travel-hungry husband made for some drama, surprises, clean romance and, eventually, a satisfying ending. I really liked the addition of mini epilogues for some of the main characters after the conclusion and before the afterword. Thanks to publisher Boldwood Books and NetGalley for providing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.

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  • Great Place To Visit

    Have you ever wondered what you would do if you won a million dollars? Would you put it in savings, take a trip or buy something you always dreamed about? In SUMMER IN PROVENCE, the couple decides to drop out of their regular life for a year, and do something they always wanted to do. The only problem is, their dreams aren't the same. The couple go in opposite directions to follow their dreams. While Aiden dreams of traveling the world, Fern goes to an art retreat to volunteer. The characters she meets are well written and so real, that it is easy to get involved in her adventure. Fern's growth as a person and artist adds so much to the story. What happens when the time comes to go back to their real life? I was surprised by that answer myself. This is the first novel by Lucy Coleman that I have read. I found it enjoyable and very entertaining. Special thanks to Netgalley and Boldwood Books for the advance copy.

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