Monday, December 9, 2019

My little Christmas bookshop

French Village Diaries little Christmas bookshop
My little Christmas bookshop (librairie)

Welcome to my little Christmas bookshop. Here you will find lots of ideas for French themed reads to get you into the Christmas spirit, from romances and memoirs, to short story compilations and cookbooks, I hope I have included something for everyone. 

In these books you will find delicious French meals, mulled wine, sprinklings of snow and plenty of Christmas magic from Paris to the Pyrenees, and the vineyards of Bordeaux to the ski resort of Chamonix. Or maybe you’d prefer the hilltop villages and coastal towns of Provence, or a stay on a farm or chateau in rural France? These books can give you all that without having to pack a bag.

Don’t forget that Amazon now let you gift a kindle book, which just makes Christmas shopping that little bit easier for the Francophile in your life. Some of these links are to the kindle books, some the hardback books and I’ve also added in some of the cookery show DVDs of journeys in France that accompanied the cookbooks.

Grab a homemade mincepie and a glass of mulled wine and have a browse. 

French Village Diaries little Christmas bookshop mulled wine mincepies
Mulled wine and mincepies

If you know of any Christmas themed books in France I've not included, please let me know.

As part of the Amazon Associates program, buying through these links earns me a few pennies at NO extra charge to you.

2019 New releases

The Christmas Holiday by Sophie Claire, a romance set partly in Provence. This book is like a hug, full of emotion, warmth and love. Despite the characters doing their best to ignore the festivities, getting into the Christmas spirit was easy within the pages of this book and I didn’t want it to end. Book two in the series, A Forget-me-not Summer is available for pre-order now. Read my full review here.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Karen Clarke, a romance set on the Atlantic island of Ile de Ré. This is the third and final book in the Little French Café series and I have quickly become a big fan of Karen’s novels since starting this trilogy. She has the ability to set the scene so you feel like you are there, fill it with characters who are alive, quirky and feel like friends, and also trap you in a story you don’t want to put down. If you are looking for a bit of cosy comfort and romance to escape the mad run up to Christmas, you can’t go far wrong here. Read my full review here.

Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff, a romance set partly in the ski resort of Chamonix. This book is a lovely Christmas getaway with tears, laughter, Christmas cheer and French mountain comfort food to make your stomach rumble as you read. Read my full review here.

Christmas at the Chateau by Lorraine Wilson, a mini romance set in rural south west France that is currently FREE. This novella is a delicious Christmas treat that perfectly complements book one, Poppy's Place in the Sun, and left me wanting more (book three, Jojo's French Escape is available to pre-order now).  Read my full review here.

Christmas books set in Paris

One Christmas in Paris by Mandy Baggot where Ava meets Julien; two complex characters, hurting in their own way, unwilling to let love in, but unable to ignore the feelings they have for each other. Don't miss out on this heartwarming festive treat, complete with snowflakes, romance and Paris.

Lovers in Paris by Andy Conway, a collection of short stories set on New Year’s Eve giving a lovely seasonal mini-break in Paris. The great thing about short stories is the ability to pop in and out when time allows, although I had no trouble in turning the pages. Read my full review here.

Christmas Confessions and Cocktails by Vicki Lesage, twenty-five fun snippets of Vicki’s life, loosely centred on the Christmas theme; both before and after she moved to France and many when her family is together and celebrating. As usual in her funny memoirs, she includes the bad as well as the good, but all are told in a way that made me smile. Read my full review here.

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver, a good fun read, packed full of French patisserie delights, Paris Christmas sparkle and even a sprinkling of romance. After all we can’t have the single heroine of a chick-lit set in Paris at Christmas time without a little Paris love and magic, can we. If you want a winter break in Paris, this book is the perfect get away. Read my full review here.

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin, a great escape to Paris with bookshop owner Sarah, who loves books with a passion and agrees to a bookshop swap with her Parisian friend Sophie. There are snippets of hidden Paris, typically Parisian characters and tasty patisseries on every corner. Read my full review here.

From Paris With Love this Christmas by Jules Wake. Enter Siena, bubbly, well mannered, perfectly groomed, but rather clueless. She is the girl who seems to have it all, a monthly allowance, friends in the right places, a chateau in France, an eligible fiancé and a dysfunctional family. There is just one thing missing - happiness, so she has packed a few essentials in her Louis Vuitton carry-on and run away from Paris to see her sister Laurie in the UK, but will she find what she is looking for this Christmas? Read my full review here.

Other Christmas books set in France

Fa La Llama La by Stephanie Dagg. Noelle arrives in rural France, in a snowstorm, a few days before Christmas, hoping the last minute pet-sitting project will help her struggling finances. However, although the llamas waiting for her are just as lovely as her quick Internet research led her to believe they would be, nothing else is quite what she was expecting. This book maybe set in sub-zero temperatures, but it left me feeling warm on the inside. Read my full review here.

Deck the Halles by Stephanie Dagg. Having thoroughly enjoyed Fa-La-Llama-La, I was delighted to be back with Nick and Noelle and couldn’t wait to see how their relationship was going. This book is great fun; full of energy, humour and romance all sprinkled with quirky rural French magic and lots of festive jingle. Read my full review here.

Toby’s Tails - the Christmas Kittens by Susan Keefe, a very sweet short story for children about Toby the Border Collie who lives on Fantasy Farm, a smallholding in France. In this book Toby tells us about the three little kittens who join his family, their antics as they explore their new world and their first Christmas, where they enjoy playing hide and seek in the decorated tree. Read my full review here.

French Holidays and Traditions by Margo Lestz an informative and a witty book that taught me a lot, as despite knowing about most of the traditions behind various holidays, I didn’t always know where they had come from and why, and now I do. Read my full review here.

The First Noel and the Villa des Violettes by Patricia Sands, a festive novella that does so much. It not only takes us back to Kat and Philippe (from Patricia’s Love in Provence series of books) and their villa in Provence, it also shares many of the delightful Provencal Christmas foods and traditions as well as taking us to the Christmas markets of Alsace. Read my full review here.

A Christmas Wedding by Julia Stagg a novella that is small but perfectly formed and takes us back to Fogas, a Pyrenean mountain village, where a simple wedding to be held on Christmas Eve turns out to be anything but simple. With only six days to go there are last minute problems with almost everything including the caterers, the venue and the groom. Thankfully the community is ready to pull together and help in any way they can, and the village soon becomes a hive of festive activity. Read my full review here.

The French for Christmas by Fiona Valpy. In this book we follow Evie at a difficult time; her marriage is failing, her husband is plastered all over the media as his TV career takes off and with Christmas and the first anniversary of the loss of their baby fast approaching, she takes refuge in a small hamlet in France, set among the Bordeaux vineyards. Her plan is to avoid Christmas at all costs, but through the extended hands of friendship and a shared love of good food, hearts begin to heal and anger and depression to disappear. Read my full review here.

A Very French Christmas is a collection of traditional French Christmas stories from authors including Guy de Maupassant, Alphonse Daudet ad Jean-Philippe Blondel, translated into English. Read my full review here.

Cookbooks that I think would make great Christmas gifts

Rick Stein has been back in France with a new BBC tv series and cookbook to accompany it, Rick Stein’s Secret France which I have enjoyed just as much as his French Odyssey series from (quite) a few years back.

Monet’s Palate Cookbook and Everyday Monet, a gardening and lifestyle book, both by Aileen Boardman. I have both of these books and they are beautiful and would make great gifts. Read my full review of Monet’s Palate here and Everyday Monet here.

In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels, as you are never too young to learn all about French food. Read my full review here.

Rachel Khoo who has some beautifully illustrated French cookbooks.

The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier, a book that would be perfect if you are looking for fresh, tasty ideas as you make the move away from eating too much meat and try to cook with the seasons. Read my full review here.

Happy Christmas from French Village Diaries

French Village Diaries little Christmas bookshop

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Book review of Christmas at the Chateau by Lorraine Wilson

French Village Diaries book review Christmas at the Chateau Lorraine Wilson
Christmas at the Chateau by Lorraine Wilson

Christmas at the Château

A Christmas she’ll remember forever…
Poppy is looking forward to spending her first Christmas in France at her boyfriend, Leo’s, Château. And as the snow falls softly around the dramatic castle, Poppy can’t think of anything more magical.
There are new traditions to discover, a cosy Christmas market to explore and best of all, a promise of secret treasure hunt from gorgeous Leo. Only family pressure and uncertainty about her future in France can threaten to cast a shadow over the holiday.

When the treasure hunt takes an unexpected turn Poppy knows for sure this is one Christmas she’ll remember forever.

French Village Diaries book review Christmas at the Chateau Lorraine Wilson
Christmas at the Chateau blog blitz banner

My Review

Having enjoyed Lorraine Wilson’s novel Poppy's Place in the Sun, I couldn’t wait to read Christmas at the Chateau that takes us back to Poppy's life in France for a seasonal catch up. 

I loved this quick read that perfectly complements the first book and gives us a 'pocket' version of Poppy, complete with her insecurities, quirky arty ways and overbearing mother. Poppy and Leo’s romance is on fire, in fact things are not normally that steamy in the first chapter of my usual reads, but Leo’s Christmas treasure hunt was pure romance and full of Christmas magic. Poppy’s beloved dogs and their antics made me laugh and there is lots of Christmas sparkle between the pages too. 

This novella was a delicious Christmas treat (that is currently FREE on Amazon) and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

You can read my review of book one here and book three, Jojo’s French Escape can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. Scroll down to enter a French themed Giveaway.

Purchase Links 

French Village Diaries book review Christmas at the Chateau Lorraine Wilson
Lorraine Wilson


Lorraine Wilson writes flirty, feel-good fiction for One More Chapter - a Harper Collins imprint - and is unashamedly fond of happy endings. She loves hearing from readers and feels incredibly grateful to be doing the job she always dreamt of.

She splits her time between the South of France and Cambridgeshire and is usually either writing or reading while being sat on, walked over or barked at by one of her growing band of rescue dogs.

French Village Diaries book review Christmas at the Chateau Lorraine Wilson
Lorraine Wilson and her dogs

Social Media Links

French Village Diaries book review Christmas at the Chateau Lorraine Wilson
Christmas at the Chateau Giveaway


Win a Signed paperback copy of ‘Poppy’s Place in the Sun’ (1st book in the ‘A French Escape‘ series), hand embroidered makeup bag (made by the author) and some artisanal French chocolates (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Book review of Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff

French Village Diaries book review Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff
Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff

Christmas in Chamonix

When life goes downhill... head to the snow-capped Alps for roaring fires, apres-ski and festive romance.

Lily Jackson loves Christmas. She also loves her childhood friend Jamie, but when her plan to kick-start their romance goes drastically wrong and her job gets her down, Lily decides it’s time to make changes. A job opens up in snowy Chamonix and egged on by her best friend Imogen, Lily decides to go for it.

As Lily settles in with the eccentric Devereux family at their gorgeous boutique ski hotel, she starts to confront her past. But when she meets handsome ski instructor Luc, who hates Christmas, Lily might have taken on more than she can handle.

Can Lily make a new life – with or without skis? And can she get Luc to see how truly romantic Christmas can be?

A heart-warming, feel-good romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Carole Matthews and Tilly Tennant.

French Village Diaries book review Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff
Christmas in Chamonix tour banner

My review

Poor Lily, stuck in a rut at work and living a romance that exists only in her head. To begin with she came across as a bit of a dreamer, however as soon as she struggled onto skis for the first time, I connected with her. As someone who came to skiing late in life and was about as un-natural at it as it’s possible to be, I felt her fear, her confusion about finding herself in this strange ski-lovers world and her sense of achievement when she began to master the basics thanks to patient instructor Luc. A new beginning in Chamonix was just what she needed, and I couldn’t help but want her to find happiness in her work and love life, but I also enjoyed a good laugh at some of the situations she found herself in along the way. 

This book has a lot going on with mini plots to follow alongside Lily’s journey of getting to grips with her past. From the story of her sister’s new romance, to the mysterious undercurrents behind the scenes at the Devereux family boutique hotel, and not forgetting trying to ignite the Christmas spirit in her knight in shining armour on the ski slopes. All this plus Chamonix in winter, the magic of the snow-covered mountains, comforting hot chocolate, delicious melted cheese and a heartfelt family Christmas celebration in France - what's not to love!

This book is a lovely Christmas getaway with tears, laughter, Christmas cheer and French mountain comfort food to make your stomach rumble as you read.

Purchase Link 

French Village Diaries book review Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff
Sasha Wagstaff

Author Bio 

Sasha Wagstaff learned foreign languages, and imagined she might eventually get a glamorous job speaking French. After climbing her way up the banking ladder, Sasha started idly mapping out the beginnings of a novel on an old laptop. When she realised her characters were more real to her than dividends and corporate actions ever could be, she left her job to become a writer. She also writes under the pseudonym of Ella Harper.

Social Media Links  

Twitter Canelo 
Twitter Ella Harper 
Facebook Canelo Books 

French Village Diaries book review Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Beaujolais Nouveau 2019

French Village Diaries Beaujolais Nouveau 2019 a very French Tradition
Beaujolais Nouveau 2019

Beaujolais Nouveau, a very French tradition

The older I get the more difficult my relationship with red wine has become. A shared bottle in an evening now leaves me hot, sweaty and so dehydrated, I wake up ratty from the lack of sleep, so I rarely drink red at all. 

Today is a special day, the third Thursday in November, and the day to celebrate the new 2019 red wine from Beaujolais, and today I made an exception.

French Village Diaries Beaujolais Nouveau 2019 a very French Tradition
Beaujolais Nouveau and apero nibbles

Whilst I would never encourage daytime drinking, you don’t have to search for long on the internet to discover benefits to drinking red wine and I’m sure these are only enhanced when it is served with fun and laughter, and accompanied by great friends at our village bar. We were even treated to a selection of nibbles to make a proper lunchtime apéro event of it.

French Village Diaries Beaujolais Nouveau 2019 a very French Tradition

Those of you with an eye for the detailed intricacies of French charcuterie might have spotted the delight that is Andouille, tripe sausage, nestled on the above platter. I have nothing but respect for the French in using every last piece of piggy, and I have to admit to admiring its intricate spirals, but sadly, none of us were brave enough to eat it this time. A few chews too many when I tried it last time and before I had swallowed, the back of my throat was assaulted by its pungent odour, and I feel no need to repeat the experience.

French Village Diaries Beaujolais Nouveau 2019 a very French Tradition
All gone, except the Andouille

Even on the dampest of dull November days our annual toasting of the Beaujolais Nouveau gave me a warm glow inside and if the quality of the Beaujolais has any bearing on the 2019 season, I think it will be a great year. Cheers! To your good health.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Book review for Until We Meet Again by Rosemary Goodacre

French Village Diaries book review Until We Meet Again Rosemary Goodacre
Until We Meet Again by Rosemary Goodacre

Until We Meet AgainSynopsis:

The Great War drove them apart – but love kept them together
Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.
The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to be wed, eager to start a new life together - but their happiness is short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.
Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters sent from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all – can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?
A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 – readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love.

French Village Diaries book review Until We Meet Again Rosemary Goodacre
Until We Meet Again blog tour banner

My Review:

What struck me immediately with this novel was the perfect sense of time. We meet Amy just before the outbreak of the First World War, a young lady working in an office, the daughter of a school master, but with strong views on Votes for Women. Tea is taken in the afternoon, the parlour used for guests and young couples walk out together. Life is calm and everyone knows their place in society. 

Life is soon to change dramatically for Amy. She becomes involved in a local suffragette group and her involvement at a protest will return to haunt her more than once. She attracts the attention of Edmond, second son of the Derwents, the local family in the large manor house. With the onset of war and Edmond signed up to fight for his country, a marriage is arranged, despite his mother’s reservations.

Their time together is limited, but when Amy signs up to be a VAD nurse, as soon as she has completed her basic training she too is sent to France, to work at a hospital near the front line. As the story follows her work at the hospital, Edmond’s time in the trenches and their snatched days of leave together, we never know if each heartfelt letter or meet will be their last.

This book tells their story with feeling. There are many emotional scenes of love and grief, and the changing dynamics of life pre and post war is portrayed well. I liked the characters, especially Amy, who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and think outside the framework of what was perceived to be normal and right for her.

If you enjoy historical fiction, then I’m sure you will love Until We Meet Again. I’m looking forward to returning to the Derwents for the next book in the series.

French Village Diaries book review Until We Meet Again Rosemary Goodacre
Rosemary Goodacre

Author Bio:

Rosemary Goodacre has previously worked in computing and teaching. She has had short stories published and a novella, A Fortnight is not Enough.
Her father's family came from continental Europe and she loves travelling.
She enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives with her husband in Kent, England. 

Purchase Links: