Poppy’s Place in the Sun was my first romance read of the year, and I couldn’t have asked for a more delicious one.
Sometimes you need to lose yourself to find your way home…
With only her trusty dogs Peanut, Treacle and Pickwick by her side, Poppy Kirkbride could be forgiven for having doubts about her move to a quiet village in rural France. But as the sun shines down on her ramshackle new home, Poppy knows she’s made the right decision. A lick of paint, and some TLC and her rustic farmhouse will be the perfect holiday retreat – Poppy’s dream come true.
Poppy is welcomed by her fellow villagers, except for brooding local vet Leo Dubois, who makes it clear Poppy isn’t welcome in his village – or his life! Leo might be gorgeous, but Poppy won’t be told what to do by an arrogant Frenchman – no matter how kind and gentle he is to her dogs!
Determined to stay, Poppy tries to understand the enigmatic Frenchman better. But as the two get closer, Poppy sees another side to Leo – a man with heartbreak of his own. Falling in love with Leo is easy, but can he ever return Poppy’s love? And what would this mean for her dream life and place in the sun?
Available on Amazon.
I was teased into the A French Escape series at the end of last year when I read the novella Christmas at the Chateau, which featured the same main protagonists. I devoured that short story and immediately bought this first book in the series.
The south of France in the summer is an idyllic setting for a romance and Lorraine Wilson uses gorgeous descriptions to create the most perfect atmosphere for two imperfect people to fall in love. These descriptions help set the mood in the story but are seamlessly woven into the narrative.
The pacing of the story is generally well-executed. The tale starts off comfortably slow as we are introduced to Poppy, the town of St. Quentin, the key players and get a general sense of Poppy’s new reality in the South of France, and what she’s left behind in England. The action picks up when Poppy charts her plan of attack for making her new life work; and when the tension and heat factor in her interactions with Leo increase.
In terms of characters, the dogs, goats and donkeys are stars of this story in their own right. Poppy’s rescue dogs introduce several laugh out loud moments within the narrative and provide ‘aww’ moments when they offer comfort and support; and even when they facilitate a bit of matchmaking too.
Poppy is such a sweet heroine, the reader can’t help but root for her. I love that she refuses to be defined by what has happened to her and what others think she should be. She still battles with insecurities and bouts of low self-confidence, but really makes a determined effort to overcome them. Her past experiences tint her view of Leo, but she’s willing to accept that and find a way to change her perspective.
Even though the story is told from Poppy’s point of view, the author is still able to paint a very detailed picture of Leo, his demons, challenges and ambitions. One clever way in which this is done is to intermittently use emails from Leo to his best friend in Paris, to help show his perspective. This tactic works and flows well within the story.
Leo and Poppy both must overcome assumptions about each other and the scars of their past to find a way forward together. Their journey is sweet, poignant and well-developed. I’m really looking forward to continuing this series!
Overall I give Poppy’s Place in the Sun 4.5/5 sunny espresso shots.