Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book review of Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands

French Village Diaries book review Drawing Lessons Patricia Sands #FranceBT
Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands

Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands on Tour October 2-13

(women's fiction) Release date: October 1, 2017 at Lake Union Publishing ISBN: 978-1542045872 352 pages Author's page | Goodreads   

SYNOPSIS

The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself. Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists' workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband's dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas. Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat (as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy) Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light.

MY REVIEW

I am a fan of Patricia's Love in Provence series of books and at first I was a little disappointed this book wasn’t the next in that series. However, it soon became my favourite Patricia Sands novel (so far) although I still want more from the Love in Provence series please Patricia.

Drawing Lessons is a beautifully written book following the emotional journey of Arianna as she attempts to rediscover the artist within and create herself a future, following the devastating dementia that has all but taken her husband from her. Her husband Ben’s diagnosis has been difficult for all the family, but her guilt at leaving him in his care facility to travel to an artists’ retreat in Provence, taking those first steps towards a future without him, is almost too much for Arianna. Moving forward is a slow process, but with each smile she manages and with each lesson she learns from those whose company she finds herself in, progress is made. I loved the mix of characters and personalities we met and enjoyed getting to know them and Arianna better as they settled into their retreat just outside Arles.

The descriptions of Provence, the colours and scents of the markets, the history, the beauty of the wild Camargue, as well as the food, as seen through the artist eyes of her characters was sublime; I could reread this book again and again. I was very surprised to learn (at the end of the book) that Patricia isn’t an artist herself. Reading this book I felt I was there too, especially at the market in Arles, and the descriptions of the Camargue have made me keen to return to an area I know a little, but not enough.

Patricia’s writing has enhanced my own memories of visiting the area and if you are planning a trip here this book needs to be on your ‘must read’ list. In my opinion it is so much better than a guidebook, covering history, culture, places to visit and more. Patricia is writer who certainly knows her locations very well indeed.

This is a sensitively written book and despite her heartache and guilt, I enjoyed Arianna’s journey as she discovered that with time comes acceptance, peace and eventually the ability to move on.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

French Village Diaries book review Drawing Lessons Patricia Sands #FranceBT
Patricia Sands
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, but her heart's other home is the South of France. An avid traveler, she spends part of each year on the Côte d'Azur and occasionally leads groups of women on tours of the Riviera and Provence. Her award-winning 2010 debut novel, The Bridge Club, is a book-group favorite, and The Promise of Provence, which launched her three-part Love in Provence series (followed by Promises to Keep and I Promise You This), was a finalist for a 2013 USA Best Book Award and a 2014 National Indie Excellence Award, was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, and was a 2015 nominee for a #RBRT Golden Rose award in the category of romance. Sands also contributes to such Francophile websites as The Good Life France and Perfectly Provence, and she appears as a public speaker for women's groups. Find Patricia on Facebook, on Twitter on Instagram at her Amazon Author Page or her website Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases. Buy the book on Amazon.com

***

GIVEAWAY

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]
Global giveaway open to all 2 winners

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS AND EXCERPTS

French Village Diaries book review Drawing Lessons Patricia Sands #FranceBT Save


You can read my France et Moi interview with Patricia here and my reviews for her other novels set in France by clicking the links below.
The Promise of Provence
Promises to Keep
I Promise You This