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
Andouille

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. 




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Friday, November 1, 2019

Book review of The Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans



French Village Diaries book review The Paris Girl Natalie Meg Evans
The Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans

The Paris Girl by Natalie Meg EvansSynopsis:

Paris, 1920s. Tatiana Vytenis has worked hard to leave her past behind. Once a ruined Russian princess in hiding, she is now a sought-after model and engaged to Gérard de Sainte-Vierge – a handsome, if occasionally overbearing, aristocrat. With the Sainte-Vierge heirloom ruby sparkling on her finger, Tatiana feels as though she should be happy. Not long ago she was penniless and now she’s about to become a marquise.

But fate still has a final hand to play. One night in a bohemian café in Montparnasse, Tatiana discovers she’s been the unknowing plaything of the Sainte-Vierge family. Hidden beneath their genteel exteriors, Gerard and his brother have a secret darker side, and her darling fiancé will gladly ruin Tatiana’s life to save his own reputation.

As Tatiana’s situation becomes ever more desperate, she crosses paths with an unlikely guardian angel. Serious, dark-haired Regan Dortmeyer is an American in Paris – a war photographer running from his own hard knocks in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. He’s no fancy French nobleman, but Regan has seen the lengths to which a wicked man like Gerard will go. As the consequences of her disastrous engagement threaten to swallow Tatiana up, he might be the only one who can save her now…

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Milliner’s SecretThe Paris Girl is a beautiful novel full of twists and turns, set against the breathtaking backdrop of 1920s Paris. Perfect for fans of Chanel Cleeton, Kathleen Tessaro and The Alice Network.  

French Village Diaries book review The Paris Girl Natalie Meg Evans
The Paris Girl blog tour banner

My Review:

This book gives you 1920’s Paris glamour, fashion and romance. From the swish of fabric, the latest colours and the attention to detail of accessories, often seen through the eye of a photographer, the excitement and anticipation of each new collection comes to life. There is the backstage drama, the rivalry and the Paris night life, all set alongside a complex family who are struggling to come to terms with their losses in Russia after the First World War. 

It is not easy to like Tatiana. Her tantrums, her emotional outbursts and the way she treats those around her; she is the perfect spoiled princess who is determined to marry into French aristocracy in order to secure her future. Where her older sister Katya (partner at the fashion house where Tatiana is a model) is strong and makes decisions for the good of those around her, Tatiana thinks only of herself. 

It is when Katya leaves Paris with her husband Harry Morten, under a shroud of secrecy, that Tatiana’s life begins to crumble. Her fiancé tricks her and his actions leave her alone and vulnerable, and without Katya in control, their mother retreats into herself and the fashion house struggles with the lack of direction. Snubbed by those she called her friends, it is American photographer Regan who has a knack of always being there to help pick up the pieces. As disaster after disaster befalls Tatiana, she begins to change for the better, but her road to recovery is a long one and she can’t seem to help but hurt those around her. Does she have the strength to undo all the wrongs she has done? Will Katya and Harry return in time to save the family and the business? This book kept me guessing.

Having enjoyed The Secret Vow, where we followed Katya, Tatiana, their mother Irina and niece Anoushka’s journey from Russia to Paris, it was good to return and catch up with them once more.

If you enjoy historical fiction, this one, that opens the doors to Paris of another era, should be on your to-be-read list.


French Village Diaries book review The Paris Girl Natalie Meg Evans
Natalie Meg Evans

Author Bio:

Natalie Meg Evans has been an art student, actor, PR copywriter, book-keeper and bar tender but always wanted to write. A USA Today best-seller and RITA nominee, she is author of four published novels which follow the fortunes of strong-minded women during the 1930s and 40s. Fashion, manners and art are the glass through which her characters’ lives are viewed. Each novel is laced with passion, romance and desire. Mystery is never far away. An avid absorber of history – for her sixth birthday she got a toy Arthurian castle with plastic knights – Natalie views historical fiction as theatre for the imagination. Her novels delve behind the scenes of a prestige industry: high fashion, millinery, theatre, wine making. Rich arenas for love and conflict. Most at home in the English countryside, Natalie lives in rural Suffolk. She has one son.