Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 448pp
(Received for review from TLC Tours)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Bridget Asher on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter
Excerpt from The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted
Synopsis (Barnes & Noble):
"Every good love story has another love hiding within it."
Brokenhearted and still mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbott, her obsessive-compulsive seven-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to the small village of Puyloubier in the south of France, where a crumbling stone house may be responsible for mending hearts since before World War II.
There, Charlotte confesses a shocking secret and Heidi learns the truth about her mother's "lost summer" when Heidi was a child. As three generations collide with one another, with the neighbor who seems to know all of their family skeletons, and with an enigmatic Frenchman, Heidi, Charlotte , and Abbott journey through love, loss, and healing amid the vineyards, warm winds and delicious food of Provence. Can the magic of the house heal Heidi's heart, too?
Using the pen name Bridget Asher, Julianna Baggott brings to the reader a novel that will comfort and sooth. With themes ranging from the effects of grief, to teenage pregnancy this book is a great new novel from a gifted writer. Baggott's ability to set the scene and bring the lush fields of Provence to life is one of the things that sets this book apart from the pack. With rich descriptions and three dimensional characters, The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted will touch the hearts of readers in ways they will never expect.
After the death of her husband Henry, Heidi's grief is unbearable. Her life seems to be spiraling out of control, as she tries to cope with her loss and the obsessive-compulsive behavior of her son, Abbott. At the suggestion of her mother and sister, Heidi decides to take Abbott and her sister's troubled teenage stepdaughter, Charlotte to the family home in France, which was recently damaged by fire. As Heidi begins to rebuild and renovate the house, she is once again startled to find that Charlotte is pregnant. Slowly, the peace and restorative powers of the house begin to work on the lives of those within it's walls. Heidi is re-introduced to Julien, once a young boy she played with as a child, but now a very handsome and lonely man. Charlotte comes to terms with her pregnancy and reckless choices in her life and Abbott begins to grow and change within the love of his family.
The author does such a remarkable job of creating a family that could be your next door neighbors. A family touched by grief and looking for answers. The characters in The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted are very three dimensional and complex. Asher takes her time in developing these characters and letting the reader find out more and more as they go along. Building a relationship with the characters and forging an emotional response with just about any type of reader.
We have all known someone or experienced heart-wrenching grief in our lives. We have neighbors or even family members who are dealing with children with problems like autism or attention deficit disorder. We've all seen the affects of teenage pregnancy on our communities and families. This is a book about people that readers can really identify with and say to themselves, "I am like this character or I know someone who has gone through this." That's what makes this book so compelling and full of inspiration. Life does go on and healing does occur and I think that's Asher's message with this one.
I loved the way the author used several difference themes within the book and was still able to tie them all together and harmonize the plot. Grief is something I think is different for everyone who goes through it, but there are stages and Heidi's character definitely goes through all of them. She gets angry, sometimes she is almost despondent, and then she starts to heal. It's a slow and extremely difficult process and I thought the author did a great job of showing the transformation that Heidi goes through.
I also liked the way that Charlotte's pregnancy brought the family together. Instead of dividing them and tearing them apart at the seams, it gives them a reason to really pull together. To show that they will be there for her and help her in any way they can. So many families today that are faced with this issue, sort of turn in on themselves and sometimes implode from the pressure. The author did a great job of showing how a family can cope with this issue and move on.
Abbott's problems seem to be tied to his mother's grief over his father's death and seeing him bloom into the little boy the reader knew he could be, was amazing. There are so many kids today who are being diagnosed with problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder and other various things like Austism or Hyperactive disorder. Our children are becoming over medicated and not learning to cope with their problems. I thought Asher did a wonderful job of showing what a parent with a child who isn't like everyone else goes through, and what is going on inside that child. The answers aren't always in a bottle.
I loved the book! It had a great group of characters, a great set of themes and a very heartfelt and romantic edge to it. The idea that the house itself contained healing properties was easy for me to believe. It made me think about places I go when I need to be restored in my own life. I think readers will find this an inspiring story about moving on with your life, even when you don't really want to. The descriptions of Provence and the scenery are fantastic. Makes me want to travel!
The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Bridget Asher is the author of My Husband's Sweethearts, and The Pretend Wife. She lives on the Florida panhandle but is always happy to do research in Provence.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted to one lucky winner here at Debbie's Book Bag!
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~ The deadline to enter this giveaway will be Midnight EST May 2nd.
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