Novel set in the South of France
- Book: The Promise of Provence
- Location: Provence
- Author: Patricia Sands
“In front of her was a postcard scene from Provence in June. An enormous field of golden sunflowers glistened with an intensity that was hard to believe, as if someone had plastered a “Visit Provence” poster….To one side the classic mas, … Traditional weathered blue shutters….”
This is the first book in the Love in Provence Series.
Katherine’s marriage has just unexpectedly ended, leaving her devastated. As she begins to pick up the pieces of her life, she suffers a further blow when her Mother dies and it is upon her death that more of the deeply sad family history is revealed. Being Jewish in Hungary during WW2 was a devastating experience, recorded in a letter which passes to Katherine at the point of death. The inherent mantra was “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…” and Katherine makes it her mission to pick up the pieces of her life.
Naturally her life is turned upside down, but after a period of adjustment, she contemplates a house exchange in the Luberon. And soon she is wending her way, having picked picked up her hire car, to her piece of heaven amongst the heady rolling landscape of Provence. Included is Pico the dog, who roams freely and accompanies her on her adventures around the vicinity, as she explores and samples all that is on offer.
The locals are welcoming, the little house in which she is ensconced is just perfect for her sojourn… life is pretty good! The markets, the smells wafting through the warm air, the little canny observations (is that a Casino? No, it’s the brand of French supermarket – called Casino!)
It is off to Ménerbes, the town immortalised in Peter Mayle’s classic memoir “A Year in Provence” of 1989. In his book, he so successfully rendered the exquisite beauty of the village that tourists flocked to his house to experience first hand what he so eloquently described. And then on to Lacoste with its ruined castle that once belonged to the Marquis de Sade, now owned by Pierre Cardin. Roussillon where Kat visits the ochre mines, then checks out the market in Gordes…
But this is not only a tour of Provence, Katherine also escorts the reader to Paris. Whether she is exploring the Latin Quarter, a quick visit to the Parisian bookshop Shakespeare and Company, or hunting down the Point Zero in front of Notre Dame, from which all distances in France have been measured (who knew?). Or a tasty meal at La Petite Chaise
Back in her hometown of Toronto, she is unsettled. Her best friend, Molly, is being targeted by a stalker, and Molly’s brother has disappeared. With a change in work circumstances, Katherine finds herself back in Côte d’Azure and Antibes for a longer stay, with Molly in tow – and Katski settles into life along the Med, she really starts to re-engage with life.
Part 2, the second part of the book, is a different experience, there is more of a frisson of adventure….this is a GREAT read if you want to take yourself off for a bit of quality #literarywanderlust in the heart of the South of France. Enjoy! the next book in the series is Promises to Keep, followed by I Promise You This
This review first appeared on our blog, where we also feature an excellent video of the locale and excerpts from the book…