If you’re looking for a light, funny read for your summer holidays then look no further than the debut novel by Melanie Jones.
If the name rings a bell then maybe her blog, The River Cottage Diaries, will jog your memory. I have enjoyed reading Melanie’s blog for the last few years, ever since she returned from living in France and moved with her family to Wiltshire.
L’Amour Actually: Falling in Love in the Heart of France tells the story of a young PR executive in search of a new, simple life in France. As Melanie steps off the plane in her vertiginous Louboutins, carrying her vintage Louis Vuitton case, the reader knows it isn’t going to be an easy transition for the London city girl with only a smattering of GCSE French to help her integrate with the locals. But there is warmth and a genuine wish to be part of the community which had me rooting for her from the word go.
The book is part fact, part fiction based on the time Melanie lived in South West France. There is much amusement to be had trying to guess which events in the book actually did happen. I’m guessing the knicker-flashing from the tractor might be a little porky but I bet the escaped bunny is true. I’m in two minds about Snoopy the geriatric Persian pussy but I really do hope the gorgeous d’Aubeville twin brothers exist in real life.
The book is packed full of engaging, witty dialogue and a whole cast of gloriously painted characters from the crazy drunken taxi driver, Gerard, to Chummy Blythe-Cholmondeley-Walker, the larger than life expat neighbour. The plot is fast-paced but there are times when we are allowed to sit back, sip on a glass of rosé and admire the rolling French countryside for a moment before the next twist in the tale.
Melanie is a talented writer and this is what turns a fun, frothy novel into something a bit special. I hear a sequel is in the offing? Merveilleux!
L’Amour Actually is published by Summersdale.