Friday, December 4, 2015

Book review of My Grape Year by Laura Bradbury


Welcome to my #FrenchVillageBookworm Advent Calendar where I am featuring a new book every day during December in the run up to Christmas.

#FrenchVillageBookworm advent calendar review My Grape Year Laura Bradbury
#FrenchVillageBookworm advent calendar day four

It is Day Four and my book of the day is My Grape Year: (The Grape Series #1) by Laura Bradbury. This memoir is Laura’s third book about her love of France and life in the winemaking region of Burgundy in the east of France. This book goes back to the beginning to tell the story of how Laura, a 17 yr old from Canada who spoke very little French, came to be on a year long exchange in Burgundy, living with four separate host families, attending French lycée and promising not to drive, take drugs, drink alcohol or date boys during the year. Being sent to the heart of wine making country where one of her first encounters with one of the families was helping with the backbreaking grape harvest, the alcohol rule was looked on with more than a little flexibility from the start, the other rules however were not there to be ignored.

From the first chapter of her first memoir I have enjoyed Laura’s writing style, which is open as well as entertaining and was delighted to get the chance to read more about her time spent in France. It is obvious from the beginning she is a hopeless romantic who as well as wanting to succeed in mastering French and being the best student ambassador she can be, one of her reasons for leaving behind the familiar was the possibility that somewhere else in the world the right man was just waiting for her to walk into his life. She casts her apprising eye over her host brothers, her new school friends and the other people of her own age whom she meets through her new network of friends, but as the months tick by she sadly feels there isn’t actually that much difference between French boys and Canadian boys.

Laura describes the difficulties she encounters settling into her host families, the new foods she tries, the new school she must attend and how she copes in this new life with a language she struggles with. There is honesty, but humour and love for all things French too. Not all the families are easy to live with, but there are some who she develops a very special relationship with. Then things change when she meets someone very special, someone who feels like the ‘one’ and promises he will never hurt her. Life would be just perfect if it weren’t for that pesky little ‘no dating’ rule and the fact that very soon Laura will have to pack her bags and return to Canada.

If you haven't yet read any of Laura's books I would recommend starting with My Grape Year.

My Grape Year: (The Grape Series #1) and all of Laura’s books are available in ebook and paperback and links to Amazon can be found below.
To read my review of My Grape Escape, see here.
To read my review of My Grape Village, see here.

I can’t wait to read more from Laura and her Grape Series. If you would like to experience a small slice of real Burgundian life you can check out Laura's holiday rental website here.