Published in 2012, The Summer of France is the story of Fia Randolph and her family. Unemployed and wanting to improve her life, Fia moves from Ohio to Provence with her husband, Grayson, and their teenage twins, Kasey and West, to take over her uncle's bed and breakfast. She goes to France with romantic notions, and pictures herself wearing long skirts and walking to the market for fresh baguettes. She wants to help Uncle Martin, and wishes to have a wonderful summer with her family in Provence. However, Uncle Martin's burdensome secret, the heavy workload of the bed and breakfast, and new family problems, conspire against Fia's vision of an idyllic summer in France.
The Summer of France is short (about 220 pages), and I read it quickly. It's funny, light, and sexy. It's what I'd call a fun book.
The book is told in two perspectives, that of Fia and Uncle Martin. Fia is the protagonist and her chapters are written in the first person, whereas Uncle Martin's are presented in the third person. Some of the chapters are extremely short--just a couple of pages. This isn't necessarily bad, but as the chapters do not always alternate, I wondered if some of the chapters could have been combined. As far as content goes, some of it seemed implausible to me, such as the chase scenes, while other aspects were too hackneyed. (For example, the idea that having extramarital affairs in France is the norm; maybe it is, but it just seemed a bit too clichéd.) Furthermore, the book felt unfinished to me. I had to check to see if I was reading an ARC (advance reading copy), or the finished product; it could have been more polished; it seemed more like a series of sketches, rather than a complete novel. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, I did not connect deeply enough with any of the characters, not even the main character, Fia.
That being said, though, I enjoyed reading the book, largely because of the setting and the references to food and art. I found The Summer of France entertaining, in spite of the issues I had with it.
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Thanks to Emma from France Book Tours for sending me a copy of this novel. For more reviews of this book, please visit the other stops on The Summer of France Book Tour.