‘The French for Christmas’ by Fiona Valpy – A Book club review

Before I start, yes, this book is about Christmas – I did get sent the e-copy of the book, from the lovely Bahlsen book club, before Christmas and I think I finished it a couple of days before that big and crazy day but… well you may have noticed my, almost two years, of posting daily (or as close to) has stopped. I’ve been taking a break, re-evaluating and trying to work out how to approach the year that’s ahead of us (more regular posting will return).

Shouldn’t I have been pushing to, at least, get this post up closer to Christmas? I thought that, at first, but once I finished reading it I realised that I didn’t need to, at all, this book has the word Christmas in the title, it has Christmas as a main theme but it, most definitely, doesn’t have to only be read at Christmas time.

The story is about Evie, a lady who’s been through a year that would break even the strongest among us. She’s been through loss that most of us hope we never even need to consider, and then she’s betrayed by the person she needs the most. As such, when her best friend offers her the chance to go to stay in their little cottage in France, over Christmas, Evie plunges head first in to the opportunity to escape her life and to have time alone, away from the need to celebrate when she really doesn’t feel like celebrating.

Rather than spending a lot of time dwelling on the sadness, Valpy dips in an out of it when necessary – It’s never devalued, it’s always given the time its needed but it’s not given the lime light which is something that many authors do. The sadness in this character’s life is an undeniable truth, but it’s her desire for recovery, her hope and her true nature that shines through.

As you’d expect there are secondary characters in the book, as much as Evie goes away to have time for herself, she struggle to re-discover herself without the help of others. And, at the cottage, she’s lucky to discover a tiny community of a few, kind people who live simple lives and who she can spend time getting to know, away from her life – I loved these secondary characters as we were able to get to know them as the story went on, but without suddenly having their whole back story, straight away, as you often do in other books.

Throughout the story we get to see Evie re-discover herself, re-discover her motivation and develop friendships in the purest sense. The book is beautiful, despite the sadness. Christmas is a big topic because that’s the time of the year when it’s set, but it’s not a Christmas book. It’s a book about loss, hope, love and about sadness, community and re-discovery. This book would be enjoyable at Easter, in the Summer or in the height of winter, don’t be put off by the title, if it’s the wrong time of year, if you want to read a simple, beautiful book then I recommend giving this one a go.

You can pick the book up from Amazon for £1.59 on kindle or £7.99 in paperback format.

This post contains a press sample – please see disclaimer here


    • admin January 26, 2015 / 12:42 pm

      I hope you enjoy it 🙂 Such a simple, beautiful book xx

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