The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater

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The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Is the truth something you really want to know? Jane delves into her secretive husband's past, but is she prepared for what she might discover?
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 432 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Michael Joseph
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780718183080

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It is time for the annual grape harvest at Les Cigales, and Jane is preparing herself for a busy day, overseeing the work. At this moment in time, Jane's life seems as perfect as it gets: living in a stunning location with a husband who adores her and a job that allows her the freedom to travel. There is, however, a significant cloud hanging over Jane's perfect world: a vindictive mother in law who despises her and is determined to make her as miserable as possible. Clarrisse Cambon is a woman with an axe to grind and poor Jane is the unwilling recipient of her vitriol.

The Forgotten Summer is set against an idyllic backdrop: a magnificent vineyard in sun-soaked Provence. It is obvious that the author has extensive knowledge of the area, as her beautifully written prose propels the reader into a sensory haven of fragrant olive groves, rattling cicadas and bejewelled dragonflies.

As well as a gorgeous location, we are introduced to an array of captivating characters, each with a detailed back-story and a distinctive personality. We instantly warm to our likeable heroine Jane, and feel the palpable tension and mutual hatred when her malicious mother in law arrives on the scene, cigarette in hand, with clawlike fingernails painted an alarming shade of scarlet.

It doesn't take long for Jane's world to come crumbling down, as she discovers that her beloved husband Luc has been keeping a number of secrets from her. As Jane investigates further, she discovers some disturbing truths that threaten to overturn everything she thought she knew about him. The revelations come thick and fast and the intense storyline had me completely gripped, desperate for answers.

Carol Drinkwater is an incredibly talented writer, with a real skill for weaving an engaging story. However, she does have a tendency to get carried away with her descriptions of the harvesting and wine-making processes and this can have a negative effect on the flow of the story. This is particularly apparent near the end of the book, when I was keen to see how things worked out between the characters, but had to wade through pages and pages of intricate detail about the olive harvest before the storyline resumed. The story lost momentum and this additional factual material did not add anything to the reading experience.

I enjoyed reading Jane's story and I will be on the lookout for more of Carol's novels, in the hope of being transported, once more, to the beautiful, sunny countryside of Provence.

Aching for more tales of Provence? Bookbag enjoyed A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, a funny and affectionate look at the area and its local customs as seen through the eyes of an Englishman.

Buy The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater at

Buy The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater at


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