Today I'm reviewing A Fête to Remember (Fogas Chronicles 4) by Julia Stagg, the fourth book in Julia's series of tales from the Pyrenean commune of Fogas. Over the years I've become a big fan of Julia's work and the anticipation and excitement to once again feast my eyes on the goings on of this community had me all tingly inside and from the first sentence I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed as I was already laughing. The ease at which the mind slips back into Fogas is testament to Julia's skill as a writer, as despite it being a year since I read the last book I was immediately back and feeling very much at home. Although I do recommend reading the previous books this book could be enjoyed with no prior knowledge of the commune.
We join the residents as they try to fight the bigger boys in order to keep the village independent, but whatever the outcome things look set to change for everyone and more than one character gets more than they were hoping for. There is love, but not quite romance, mysterious appearances, disappearances and an anonymous supporter whose identity leads to suspicion and trouble. We find ourselves in a community fighting together but at the same time where friends and family members were often at odds and emotions were running high. The intense passions often had my heart racing and my mind screaming at the pages. The food, the mountain scenery and village life were described to perfection making me laugh, cry and hungry. Knowing a bit about village life in France and now dipping my toes into local politics I can't fault Julia's research into the French bureaucracy facts that make her fiction so plausible.
I reached the end with a huge grin on my face, but did suffer an end of book hangover - after finishing on a high I quickly experienced the gloomy doldrums when the reality of having to wait a year for the next book sunk in. There will be trouble ahead I'm sure, but I can't wait to see what will happen next. So far in Fogas we've had fetes, fires and fights. New arrivals, new births and new bears. Deaths, dangers, drama and even the Tour de France. I'm really hoping the last book will give us a wedding!
If you haven't read the other books yet, do go and check them out as they are all humorous, fun and exciting and make perfect holiday reading, especially if you're not lucky enough to be holidaying in France this year. Here are my reviews of the other books:
The Fogas Chronicles are published by Hodder and Stoughton, who kindly sent me a copy to review, and are available in paperback and ebook format. Links to Amazon are below.
I am delighted to have a brand new paperback copy of A Fete to Remember to giveaway to one lucky reader, although because of postage costs I will have to limit this giveaway to Europe only, sorry. Just email me at email@example.com with A Fete to Remember as the email subject. Don't forget to include your postal address. The winner will be the first name drawn out of the hat next Tuesday 8th July.