Happy publication day to Sophie Claire. Thank you to Myrto Kalavrezou at Hodder and Stoughton for the invitation to join the blog tour and for a beautiful copy of Summer at the French Olive Grove to read and review.
Could love be the biggest adventure of all?
Filmmaker Lily’s life is all about work and adventure. So when she suffers an accident on her travels and finds herself recuperating in the quiet French seaside village where she spent her childhood, she can’t wait to escape. Not least because Olivier – Lily’s childhood friend and former crush, who she has spent the last thirteen years avoiding – is staying next door . . .
Strong-minded masterbaker Olivier is happily settled in St Pierre, preparing to marry and put down roots. But Lily’s return to the village risks turning his carefully-laid plans upsidedown, and as the pair rediscover their familiar rivalry and fun, sparks fly.
Is Lily really as fearless and independent as she seems on the surface – or is she just running from the past? And what if Olivier is the only one who can teach her what it really means to be brave?
This is the third book I’ve read by Sophie Claire (please also see my reviews at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/04/a-forget-me-not-summer-by-sophie-claire/ and https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/10/01/a-winters-dream-by-sophie-clare/). I enjoyed both books but I think this new book is my favourite.
The story starts with Lily working in Colombia, making documentary films about the lives of people who are facing adversity. A dramatic incident leads to Lily returning to her grandmother’s home (Mamie) in St. Pierre to recuperate, staying for the longest period of time since she was a teenager, after the tragic death of her dad.
She finds herself spending time with Olivier, her childhood friend, who is engaged to Corinne. Lily and Olivier have unfinished issues to resolve, should they pretend the kiss never happened and will Lily explain why she refused to let Olivier visit her in hospital? Mamie is keen for Lily and Olivier to spend time together, encouraging them to clear out her art studio.
This is a no spoiler review so you need to read the book to find out what happens next for Lily. This is a book I didn’t want to put down, as we discovered more about what has happened to Lily and Olivier since the summer her dad died. Both have become successful in their careers, but is what drove them into those careers still driving them now?
Do have a box of tissues handy when reading the book. I found myself so wrapped up in their lives that I found the story very emotional, which is the sign of an excellent story for me. This is a book perfect for a summer at home, with virtual visits to France, to allow us to travel whilst safe at home. Happy to recommend this uplifting read by one of my favourite authors, who creates characters you care about.
Sophie Claire, born to a French mother and Scottish father, grew up in Manchester where she still lives with her husband and two sons. She writes stories centred around sunny Provence, where she spent her summers as a child.
Thanks so much for this wonderful review, karen. It’s made my day and I’m so glad you loved Lily & Olivier’s story.