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The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath #Review

  We travel back to the 12th Century for this gorgeous historical novel, The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath . It was published by Headline Accent on 18th July. 1191 and the Third Crusade is underway . .  It is 1191 and King Richard the Lionheart is on crusade to pitch battle against Saladin and liberate the city of Jerusalem and her lands. His mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine and his promised bride, Princess Berengaria of Navarre, make a perilous journey over the Alps in midwinter. They are to rendezvous with Richard in the Sicilian port of Messina. There are hazards along the way - vicious assassins, marauding pirates, violent storms and a shipwreck. Berengaria is as feisty as her foes and, surviving it all, she and Richard marry in Cyprus. England needs an heir. But first, Richard and his Queen must return home . . . The Lost Queen is a thrilling medieval story of high adventure, survival, friendship and the enduring love of a Queen for her King.   My Thoughts

Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas #Review

We're off to the lavender fields of Provence for Jo Thomas' latest novel, Escape to the French Farmhouse which was published on May 7th by Transworld.
Can she find her recipe for happiness?
Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier… a new life in France – without Ollie.

Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

A heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence. Perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

My Thoughts

The setting for this romance is glorious and you can absolutely picture the beautiful fields around the farmhouse and the village nearby. This is not a chocolate box description of the village life. You see the tensions between the french and the ex-pats who do not try to integrate and the difference between the respectable side of the village and the rougher areas and indeed, the homeless. There are some vividly drawn villagers who crop up during the story.

    Giving others a second chance and starting over are major threads through the story and apply to more than the central characters. del herself has a few demons and problems with her self -image and a running sore caused by childlessness and the menopause. Finding an alternative family and accepting people for themselves are also lessons learned. For a lovely escapist read which involves the reader to the end, do give this one a try.

In short: Starting over and giving a second chance.  

About the Author

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

You can read my review of Jo's The Honey Farm on the Hill here 
and Coming Home to Winter Island here. 

You can follow Jo here:  Twitter   |  Website   |  Facebook

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Jo Thomas, Transworld and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

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