A spy thriller set in 1980s America and the Scottish Highlands
Some of your favourite books set in France…
29th April 2016
As the European holiday season rapidly approaches (hurrah!), we are pleased to publish the first in a series of posts that lists some of your favourite books set in some of your very favourite holiday locations. Ideal reading on your travels… First up is magical France. We set out below ten of the most highly rated titles set in this fabulous country – as scored by members of the TripFiction community. The books cover a broad mix of well described locations and genres – something for everyone. Just click on the title to be taken through to the individual book page.
1. Second Harvest by Jean Giono
Set in the South of France. Genre – Historical Fiction Panturle lives in the nearly deserted village of Aubignane, in the Provencal uplands. That autumn, Gaubert, the blacksmith, “a little man all moustache”, had left; and before the winter was out, the well-sinker’s widow had left as well. Then only Panturle remained, a man made morose almost to the point of madness by his solitude. He gave up planting and lived off what he could catch. Then out of the blue a woman arrived, someone to live for, someone to till the soil and plant new seed for. Even a village can be raised from the dead.
2. Quiet Corners of Paris: Unexpected Hideaways, Secret Courtyards, Hidden Gardens by Jean-Christophe Napais
Set in Paris. Genre – Travelogue
Quiet Corners of Paris is a beautifully illustrated peek into eighty-one often overlooked, always beautiful, locales: hidden villas, winding lanes, little-known 19th-century passages, serene gardens, and cobblestone courtyards. Some of the places have breathtaking views, others are filled with historic and architectural details, from stone archways, garden follies, boxwood mazes, ornamental statuary, stained glass, and Renaissance fountains….
3. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Set in Paris and Provence. Genre – Modern Fiction
On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.
4. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Set in Provence. Genre – Autobiography
A classic in its genre.Peter Mayle and his wife did what most of us only imagine doing when they made their long-cherished dream of a life abroad a reality: throwing caution to the wind, they bought a glorious two hundred year-old farmhouse in the Lubéron Valley and began a new life. In a year that begins with a marathon lunch and continues with a host of gastronomic delights, they also survive the unexpected and often hilarious curiosities of rural life. From mastering the local accent and enduring invasion by bumbling builders, to discovering the finer points of boules and goat-racing, all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life are conjured up in this enchanting portrait.
5. French Coast by Anita Hughes
Set in Cannes. Genre – Romance
Serena has the job she’s always dreamed of and Chase, the man her heart never dared to. As a new editor at Vogue, she bags the biggest interview of the year with Yvette Renault, the infamous former editor of French Vogue, in The Carlton-InterContinental Hotel during the Cannes Film Festival. She eagerly jets off to France while Chase stays home, working with her father, a former senator, on his upcoming mayoral campaign. Everything feels unbelievably perfect…until it doesn’t. The hotel loses her reservation hours before her big interview. Serena fears that she’ll have to go home without her story, but then she meets Zoe, a quirky young woman staying in the suite below Yvette’s who invites Serena to stay with her.
6. French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley by Linda Kovic-Skow
Set in the Loire Valley. Genre – Autobiography
French Illusions, the first of two books based on the author’s diaries, takes place in the summer of 1979. Linda Kovic contracts to become an au pair for an aristocratic French family in the Loire Valley. In order to secure the position, she pretends to speak the language, confident she’ll be forgiven once she arrives at her destination. This book captures Linda’s fascinating real-life story inside and outside the Château de Montclair. Her compelling memoir details her challenges and triumphs as she tries to adjust to her new life with Madame and Monsieur Dubois and their children. When Linda encounters, Adam, a handsome young student, her life with the family becomes more complicated, adding fuel to her internal battle for independence.
7. Jacquot and the Waterman by Martin O’Brien
Set in Marseilles. Genre – Thriller
The first in the Jacquot series follows Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot’s investigation into a series of disturbing killings, where the female victims are always left submerged in water. Ex-French National Rugby Squad player Jacquot is a lover of blues, good food and wine. Disconsolate after his girlfriend leaves him, he plunges himself into the investigation whole-heartedly.
8. Last Chance in the Pyrenees by Julia Stagg
Set in The Pyrenees. Genre – Modern Fiction
When tragedy strikes the small mountain village of Fogas in the French Pyrenees, the residents must once more rally round to protect their precious way of life – and this time the stakes are higher than ever. A struggle for the town hall sees political ambition rise to ever more dangerous – even life-threatening – levels, crucial relationships are tested and a deadly plot for revenge and retribution has terrible consequences.
But among the grief and drama come love, laughs and new beginnings. And in good times and bad, the value our villagers place on community and friendship has never been greater.
9. Selling Dreams by Suzanne O’Leary
Set in the South of France. Genre – Romance
The pristine blue waters and sun drenched shores of the French Riviera provide a stunning backdrop to the story of two women, Chantal and Flora, both struggling with the heartache of a lost love. Chantal Gardinier runs her real estate agency in Antibes with an iron fist. A tough businesswoman on the surface, Chantal is hiding a tragic home life and a secret love affair. When faced with a moral dilemma, she is unsure which path to choose. Flora McKenna arrives in town with high hopes of finding happiness. When she immediately lands a great job, she decides that this exotic paradise might be just the place to help her heart heal.
10. The House at Zaronza by Vanessa Couchman
Set in Corsica. Genre – Historical Fiction
Rachel Swift travels to Corsica to discover more about her forebears. She comes across a series of passionate love letters and delves into their history. The story unfolds of a secret romance at the start of the 20th century between a village schoolteacher and Maria, the daughter of a bourgeois family. Maria’s parents have other plans for her future, though, and she sees her dreams crumble.
Her life is played out against the backdrop of Corsica, the ‘island of beauty’, and the turmoil of World War I. This is a story about love, loss and reconciliation in a strict patriarchal society, whose values are challenged as the world changes.
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And for even more books set in and around FRANCE, drill down by locale, just click here and for books set specifically in PARIS, click here