Villa of Sun and Secrets by Jennifer Bohnet
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publishing Date: 8th August 2019
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 336
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
It’s never too late to live the dream…
Carla Sullivan’s 50th birthday is fast approaching when her whole world is turned upside down. Discovering her feckless husband is having yet another affair and following her mother’s death, she is in need of an escape. Finding an envelope addressed to her mother’s estranged sister Josette in the South of France gives Carla the perfect plan.
Seizing the moment, she packs her bags and heads to Antibes to seek out the enigma known as Tante Josette. But as the two women begin to forge a tentative relationship, family secrets start to unravel, forcing Carla to question her life as she has always known it.
A heart-warming tale on the beautiful French Riviera, which will keep you guessing. From the bestselling author of Summer at Coastguard Cottages, The Little Kiosk by the Sea and Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera. Perfect for the fans of Jill Mansell and Fern Britton.
Carla Sullivan has just buried her mother and while clearing out her things, she discovers a letter from her Aunt Josette in France, an estranged twin sister of her mother. When she also discovers that her husband David, in spite of all his promises, has been cheating on her again, Carla decides to buy a ticket and travel to the South of France to visit her aunt. Because of the rift between the sisters Carla doesn’t know much about Josette and her life and she’s desperate to find out more about her, and maybe her family. What she doesn’t expect is that she’s going to open a Pandora box full of lies, secrets and heartache.
I would have really liked the characters more if they weren’t so overdone – they said and did all the right things in the right moments and solved one problem after another systematically and quickly, without big drama. They were either black or white, and I missed the shades of grey on them. Nevertheless, they were lovely described and there were life in all of them, they were not afraid to leave their comfort zones and adapted quickly to new conditions. Carla and Josette were strong and determined women, having courage for changes in every single moment of their lives.
There were, though, elements that couldn’t agree with me. The story started to feel too over – dramatic, but not in a positive way, it started to feel too far – fetched, it was not like reading a book but watching a soap – opera like “Dynasty”. The characters were so nice and kind and understanding that there came a moment that I thought I couldn’t take any more. I know we always want our characters to finally start to talk, but these here were simply talking too much, over – analyzing and discussing everything with each other, so no wonder that the story felt too repetitive, as we were getting a version of the same situation from almost every single character. There were no secrets, everything was in the open and the author didn’t keep me guessing.
The secrets have been revealed one after another, keeping the pace of the story on the right track and altogether, it was an easy, light and quick read, set in one of the most stunning places ever. I loved the setting of the south France that was so easily brought to life by the author. It was a story about fresh starts, finding your roots, discovering what is really important in your life. It was full of drama, secrets, loss, disappointment and hope.