Welcome to my stop on the Publication Day Push for JoJo’s French Escape. I love this series by Lorraine Wilson. The drama, the romance the setting… I hope you’ll delight in it too.
‘She had me at Bonjour! Warm, funny, deliciously French…this lovely story filled my heart with sunshine’ Jane Linfoot
Imagine yourself in beautiful France with the sun warm on your face and a glass of wine in your hand…Jojo’s French Escape is the perfect summer read!
Trapped in paradise…
For twelve months JoJo Grant has been hiding from a secret too shameful to share. And whilst her sanctuary might be the beautiful French countryside, JoJo has a horrible feeling that her peace is about to be shattered…because bursting into her life is the hottest celebrity chef around – Callum O’Connor.
Callum knows all about JoJo’s past, her time as a reality star, the scandal that has dogged her, but he isn’t sure why she’s still hiding? After spending time with Jojo, it’s obvious to him that she has nothing to be ashamed of – she just needs to be a little braver…
But as much as JoJo likes Callum, he thrives on the glare of the outside world. Can JoJo let go of her past…with Callum by her side?
The South of France is the setting for Lorraine Wilson’s French Escape series, and what an escape this story provides.
We first meet JoJo in Poppy’s Place in the Sun when she befriends Poppy and moves in to help with the restoration of Les Coquelicots to turn it into a B and B. Her sweetness and extraordinary talent in the kitchen are matched only by the mystery of her past. That past comes to confront her in Jojo’s French Escape and her journey to moving past it, is quite a story of female empowerment.
Cyber-bullying and slut-shaming have become such a part of modern (technology) life and indeed, a daily reality for many. JoJo has the misfortune of being unknowingly filmed while having sex with her boyfriend, by said boyfriend. The tape was then released for public consumption when he needed a boost for his reality star status. The immediate aftermath of that event is told through intermittent flashbacks and email correspondence with her sister. The scars that betrayal and the ensuing bullying left, however, are shown over and over again in the present.
The author manages to paint a vulnerable yet strong character in JoJo. Through her, the issue of social media bullying is brought to the fore and condemned. Yet, there is no pulpit criticism. There is only a compellingly drawn heroine who struggles to reclaim her life, her identity and her self-respect.
Enter Cal, a celebrity chef with the prettiest blue eyes and most soul searching questions. He does not save JoJo, rather he encourages her to save herself. He gives her the tools to reclaim her life. Both he and she recognize that this is a battle she must fight and win for herself. Their dialogue is beautifully written and through it, you can see how they fall in love with each other. The subject of their conversations are funny, sweet and at times heartbreaking. Their chemistry leads to some pretty racy scenes but yet scenes that also show JoJo regaining her pride, courage and self-esteem.
The dogs, oh my goodness the dogs… they almost make me want to go out and get two or three… almost! We met the dynamic trio of Pickwick, Treacle and Peanut in Poppy’s story. They were soon joined by the blind, loveable Barney. In this story, JoJo rescues her own sweetie pie, Flump. Flump, is a little matchmaker at heart and certainly orchestrates some umm… rather interesting situations for his two favourite humans. Then there was the stolen vibrator incident… but that’s a while other story! Needless to say, the dogs once again provide some wonderful comic relief.
Readers of the first story of the series get to enjoy Poppy and Leo’s wedding. There are also some stag and hen event shenanigans to bring out a laugh. The descriptions of the scenery and the food delight all the senses.
These varied elements truly combine for a most fantastic read. This is definitely a series that I intend to keep up with and an author, whose other books I must explore!
I give Jojo’s French Escape 4.5/5 espresso shots.
About the Author
Lorraine Wilson writes flirty, feel-good fiction for One More Chapter – a Harper Collins imprint – and is unashamedly fond of happy endings. She loves hearing from readers and feels incredibly grateful to be doing the job she always dreamt of.
She splits her time between the South of France and Cambridgeshire and is usually either writing or reading while being sat on, walked over or barked at by one of her growing band of rescue dogs.
Social Media Links
Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/lorrainewilsonamazon
Publication Day Push organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.