Author: Bridget Asher
Brokenhearted and mourning the loss of the love of her life, young widow Heidi travels with her obsessive-compulsive son Abbot, and Charlotte, her pessimistic teenage niece, to a small village in Provence in the south of France, where a crumbling stone house passed down through the family has been responsible for miracles of love for decades.
Soon secrets are exposed and mysteries begin to unravel, and Heidi learns the truth about her mother’s “lost summer”. As the three generations collide they face a neighbour who seems to know about all of their family skeletons, and an enigmatic French man. Heidi, Charlotte, and Abbot journey through love, loss, and healing amid the vineyards, warm weather and delicious food of Provence. Can the magic properties of the house mend Heidi’s heart? Will the beautiful scenery and fresh country air that surround the threesome soon help to heal them all?
The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher is an extremely emotional, character driven novel. All of the characters are very emotionally deep and they all have their own issues to deal with. From the very first page you’re drawn into Heidi’s world of grief and longing; as she talks you through her memories of her husband, you really feel what she feels. Throughout the entire book Heidi’s grief and her love for her husband were palpable. At first this does admittedly make for a bit of a melancholic read, but once you get past the 100 page mark and Heidi leaves for France the mood of the book really begins to pick up, as does the pace.
Once the pace picks up, the novel improves greatly. I loved the magical realism of this book. It’s filled with small miracles, and the family tales of the Provence house are utterly enchanting. While some might think that what occurs in this book is far-fetched or cheesy, I liked it. I’m all for the unbelievable when it comes to what I read; I don’t really like reading stories that are completely true to life.
The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted is a sad read, yet still manages to have a few upbeat moments, and in the end you’re left with a feeling of happiness. I love the way Asher writes; the novel is brimming with wisdom and magic, and the story flows beautifully. While this isn’t a short or easy read by any means, it is a worthwhile one and I really enjoyed it. I know I’ll be picking up another of Asher’s novels again soon!