Bonjour tout le monde, et soyez bienvenue!
This weekend I’m delighted to be hosting Patricia Sands as she tours with France Book Tours. Patricia has kindly stopped off here to share the details of her new release, The Promise of Provence.
And if you click on the banner above, you will find details of all the other legs on Patricia’s tour. Some of the places Patricia is visiting are offering a giveaway, so it’s well worth checking them out.
June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?
After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.
Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?
“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.” Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma
Instant therapy greeted her when she arrived at the farmhouse as Picasso bounced excitedly by the car door. Katherine knelt on the gravel, ignoring the sharp pebbles digging into her knees, and hugged him before he flopped over on his back for a tummy rub.
This is love, she thought, pure and simple, without threat, without demands.
Wandering around the house before she went out to the garden to enjoy her breakfast, she relished the sense of belonging. After just a week, the familiarity of these surroundings felt right. Her thoughts turned to Andrea as a feeling of gratitude washed through her.
Placing her pain au chocolat on a plate and pouring a glass of juice, she settled happily at the small round table on the back terrace, as she did most mornings. Bees buzzed around the lavender in the early sun, reminding her to buy a few jars of the local lavender honey to take home. She had sampled some in the kitchen and savored the delicately sweet flavor.
Glistening with sweat after a yoga session, she showered and dried her hair before she dressed in a favorite cotton sundress. Coming midway down her calves, pale yellow, with delicate straps, it made Katherine feel cool just looking at it. She picked up a lightly woven silk shawl of cream and butter shades to take along in case she needed some protection from the sun. Her wide-brimmed hat from the market would be the final touch.
She knew James had liked her in this dress and thought fleetingly about that now. She had been determined not to toss out her entire wardrobe purely because some items carried such memories.
Ridding herself of the thought, she picked up the gift she had purchased in Lourmarin for Joy and opened the back seat of her car for Picasso. Today they would drive together.
“You’re my escort,” she told him, patting the nose that was poking over the top of her seat.
It was typical of the complicated system of roadways throughout France that it would take longer to drive to the manoir than it would to walk to it through the vineyard. At one point Katherine thought she might be lost and chuckled at the possibility. Driving was no easy matter in this country.
The lane leading from the road to the house was cut through a small patch of forest, and Katherine gasped as she pulled into the large courtyard. She had only seen the structure from the other side when she rode through the vineyard and was simply not prepared for the beauty before her.
Sitting on a slight rise, the large ochre-toned two-story rectangular structure was the epitome of Katherine’s fantasy of a French manor house. A tower wrapped around the eastern corner, hinting at the early Italian influence. Blue-shuttered windows were placed asymetrically the length of the manor with shuttered French doors beneath them. The enormous door of the grand central entrance stood open, and Katherine could hear Joy’s greeting voice as she approached. A wrought iron balcony above the door overlooked the elegant esplanade dotted with large glazed Anduze pots and lined by stately plane trees. The majestic fountain at the far end of the terrace, moss-covered and slightly crumbling completed the sense of harmony and design.
Joy greeted Katherine warmly as she led her into the expansive foyer. She immediately opened her gift and was thrilled with the hand-blown glass bowl.
“Oh, Katherine, how did you guess? You will smile when you see my table set with only Biot glass. It has been my favorite since I first saw pieces fifty years ago. Thank you for being so thoughtful. I will treasure this.”
Picasso had raced around to the back as soon as he was out of the car, as if he knew it was time for Sunday lunch.
“Come and meet everyone, ma chère, and we will tour the house later. If you would like to, of course.”
“No question!” Katherine said with a widening smile. “I can’t wait.”
Joy led the way through an enormous room and then one slightly smaller from which French doors led out to a large fine gravel terrace, where a large animated group were chatting and laughing around a very long table.
The bright tones of yellow, blue, and green of the fabrics in the classic Provençal tablecloth and napkins were echoed in the distinctive Biot glassware, creating a symphony of colors.
Introductions were made by Joy, assisted by Picasso, who made his way around the table, greeted by squeals from the young children and affectionate words and rubs from the adults. His popularity was obvious.
Publication Date: May 30, 2013
457 pages, ISBN 9780991931316 Published through CreateSpace
Author bio: Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83.
Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.
Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this taster of France, courtesy of France Book Tours. If you have any questions or comments at all for Patricia, please let us know. We’ love to hear from you!