This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Victoria Sutton
From the moment I started reading A French Affair I felt at home. The chatty sisterly exchange between the two main characters Gina and Sally drew me immediately into their lives and I couldn’t wait to know more. I curled my feet up under me, took a sip of my tea and settled in for a good old reading session.
Sally Makepiece is a real romantic with an artistic nature and flamboyant style. Married to Alaric and mother to twin girls, they never have much money but are insanely happy. Gina is the much more sensible big sister. She has recently moved out of London to be nearer her sister and nieces in the countryside and to escape her last relationship disaster. Enjoying her new life in the country, she is resolutely sworn off men.
A letter left to the siblings from mad Aunt Rainey is about to change everything, however. What begins as a challenge set by their aunt turns into a race against time to save The French House, a stall in an antique centre that Gina has grown to love, which unexpectedly pits the sisters against each other. But will they be in time to save The French House and, more importantly, will both sisters be able to see their dreams come true?
Matthew Ballinger is the most perfect of brooding Mr. Rochester type heroes. When he first meets the Makepiece sisters he is somewhat weary and burdened with responsibilities, living in the shadow of his late father, who ran The French House before him. At first he seems rather put out by Rainey’s letters, which have thrown the three of them together, but he is resolute that he will honour her last wishes.Rainey is a constant presence throughout the novel even though she is actually dead. It is her letters ‘from beyond the grave’ that bring the Makepiece sisters to the French House, and to Matthew. It soon becomes apparent that there is more to her plan than it might first appear, and eventually more than she may even have anticipated herself. I adored the glimpses into Aunt Rainey’s character and past given by those who had known her and these make her very much a central part of the novel.
I devoured A French Affair in a matter of hours. I enjoyed getting to know the easy-to-like characters and I loved the description of the staged events, especially Sally’s Christmas meal – I wish I could have been there! I also liked the insight into the world of antique dealing much more than I expected to! It was a delightful, engrossing read with a satisfying conclusion.