This month’s Relax and Read Book Club book, Escape to the French Farmhouse, by author Jo Thomas, is a heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence. It’s perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill. Here, we get a taste of what to expect from Thomas’ charming writing, and an insight into what readers think!
‘You smell the lavender, you feel the sun on your face, this book is pure joy!’Katie Fforde
‘Uplifting and full of warmth, this novel is the next best thing to jetting off to France on a relaxing break away.’My Weekly
The next morning I wake with a crick in my neck to the sound of birds singing. Not a whole morning chorus, but each bird being allowed to sing his own part – except the wood pigeon, which wants to sing over everybody else, and the cockerel in the distance heralding a new day. But apart from that, nothing. Silence. The mistral has gone as suddenly as it arrived. Came in, whipped up a storm, caused chaos and left a whole different landscape.
My phone buzzes in my jeans pocket, catapulting me back to reality. I open my eyes: my cheek is against the cool porcelain of the bath where I slept the night. Instead of what I’d thought was a warm blanket over me, Ralph is lying on top of me, for comfort and warmth. I’m suddenly very grateful to the mad bundle of curly fur. I might not have felt quite the same when Ollie brought him home as a gift after my final cycle of IVF had failed.
For Ollie it was like a full stop on that part of our lives, but to me it was like he was offering me a baby replacement. To begin with, I couldn’t accept the dog into my life, especially when Ollie suggested calling him Eddie – one of my favourite baby names had been Edward. Ollie was clearly trying to do something kind – he was kind. He would often do really thoughtful things, like making a drink for me after a hard day, driving me into town to meet up with my friends on a night out, and he always remembered birthdays and anniversaries.
The puppy became Ralph because I would never have called a little boy Ralph. I knew a Ralph once, a long time ago, before I met Ollie. He’d been funny and adoring, not in the least bit reliable, and loved every person he met. It seemed a very suitable name for the bundle that had just landed in my life. Ralph slept with us from the first night, and as he grew and spread, sleeping right across the bed, so did the distance between us with every day that passed.
Each month we select five Spabreaks.com customers from a self-nominated pool, to read and review a newly released or soon-to-be released book, spanning all genres. You then have six weeks to read the book before writing reviews that are published here on the Hot Tub blog, and shared with club members via a dedicated newsletter.
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