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Patricia Sands’ feel-good Provence series contains some of my favorite book friends. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you’re in luck because the first book is on special sale this month. (Please see my review below.)

[For excerpt, reviews, and buy links for January Kindle sale click here.]



25546135The Promise of Provence (Love in Provence Book 1)

On the evening of her twenty-second wedding anniversary, Katherine Price can’t wait to celebrate. But instead of receiving an anniversary card from her husband, she finds a note asking for a divorce.

Fifty-five and suddenly alone, Katherine begins the daunting task of starting over. She has her friends, her aging mother, and her career to occupy her, but the future seems to hold little promise—until, after a winter of heartbreak, Katherine is persuaded to try a home exchange holiday in the South of France.

In Provence, bright fields of flowers bloom below medieval hilltop villages with winding cobblestone streets. Charmed by the picturesque countryside, the breathtaking Cîte d’Azur, and the enchantment-filled boulevards of Paris, Katherine feels life opening up once again. Lavender perfumes the air, and chance encounters hint at romance and passion. But memories of heartbreak and betrayal linger—and her former life waits for her back home. Can she find the courage to begin again?


 

51QBNUb7+vL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Promises to Keep (Love in Provence Book 2)

The painful memories from her life back in Toronto will never be distant enough, but Katherine Price finds peace under the autumn sky in the South of France
and a deepening, dizzying love with Philippe. Together, they savor the delicacies and splendor of life, toasting to a future filled with happiness and hope—a life far away from the heartache they both knew so well.

But during a trip to the medieval village of Entrevaux, a strange note turns into a dangerous car chase. Philippe reveals he has a troubling secret—and the couple’s new life together threatens to crumble before it can begin. Now that Katherine has everything she’s ever wanted, is she about to lose it all?

Promises to Keep is the heartfelt second addition to award-winning author Patricia Sands’s Love in Provence trilogy—and a stirring reminder that it’s never too late to be joyfully surprised by love, life, or even yourself.


gold starMy Review: 5 stars out of 5

“It’s a big universe. Everything happens Somewhere,” says Doctor Who (“The Doctor, The Widow & The Wardrobe”). But I would answer that just as in this episode, and in the Narnia stories it’s based on, sometimes it’s the Somewhere that makes everything happen. To an extent, that’s what occurs in both The Promise of Provence and Promises to Keep, the first two volumes of Patricia Sands’ Love in Provence series.

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn't somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere ... particularly the south of France. Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist and a 2013 Finalist in Literary Fiction, National Indie Excellence Awards. In 2015, eLit Books Silver Award (Literary Fiction) ~ and ~ eLit Books Gold Award (Travel Fiction). Due to tremendous reader response, The Promise of Provence became Book #1 in the Love In Provence series. Promises To Keep ~ Book #2 was released in Summer 2014. Book #3 will be released in February 2016. The series explores a mid-life coming of age and allows readers to lose themselves in the beauty of the south of France without leaving home. Patricia was invited to join the Lake Union imprint (Women's Fiction) of Amazon Publishing in January 2015. Celebrating the rewarding friendships and bonds women share, her stories examine the challenges life often throws in our paths. Location features prominently in all of her novels. Frequently invited to speak with women's groups on the subjects of writing and self-publishing, topics also cover the importance of valuing our personal stories and seeing ageing as opportunity. At other events along with her Sommers & Sands speaking partner, through keynotes, workshops and conferences, audiences are encouraged to embrace change and see challenges as opportunities. Her philosophy is that it's never too late to begin something new, to seize each day and be a possibilitarian! As the saying goes, just do it! Hearing from readers (both men and women, from ages 20 to 84) is her greatest reward.

Author Patricia Sands. For more about her bio and her writing, please see our chat here

The story begins on Katherine Price’s wedding anniversary, as she heads to her job in Toronto. Looking forward to celebrating with her husband, she returns home earlier than usual. There she finds his traditional gift, a bouquet of roses, one for each of the twenty-two years they’ve been married. Not so traditional is the letter that accompanies the roses, telling Katherine that he is leaving her for a younger woman, and that they are expecting a child. As her carefully built world collapses, Kat is devastated. In her mid-fifties, she wonders if her entire life has been a sham, and if she has anything left to believe in or trust. I find it entertaining that Katherine’s married name is Price, as she slowly begins to realize that the “stress-free and structured” life she thought she was leading was actually one where the price—giving up her own dreams and even identity—was just too high.

Infidelity, a betrayal of trust, an end to a relationship—these aren’t new storylines. But this isn’t a romance where the new hero swoops in to rescue her. It isn’t even the trope where the philandering spouse comes to realize what he’s lost and seeks forgiveness. Instead it’s the story of how Katherine slowly starts to get to know a woman who’s been invisible for twenty-two years: herself. Her first act is the wonderful destruction of her husband’s beloved Venge bicycle. (She piles the pieces outside for him to collect, after inking RE before the Venge logo on the frame.) Tentatively, Katherine lets herself lean on and accept help from the other women in her life, her ailing mother, and her two best friends. As she gets to know this stranger in her own skin, Kat remembers a promise a younger Katherine made to herself, that she would return to France, the country she’d fallen in love with as a girl. After a few trial runs, she embarks on a home exchange trip to France.

And that’s where the setting comes into its own. Although still nervous about handling everything by herself, Katherine makes it to Provence, and even manages the rental car. Then it happens.

“As she rounded a corner, cresting a small hill, she suddenly pulled the car to the side of the road and burst into tears.

In front of her was a postcard scene from Provence in June. An enormous field of golden sunflowers glistened with an intensity that was hard to believe, as if someone had plastered a Visit Provence poster smack in her face. To one side was the classic mas, with its outbuildings, the shades of the yellow-gray limestone farm structures softened by the mid-afternoon sun. Traditional weathered blue shutters on the south facing windows and doors were flung open in this fine day. […]

She stepped out of the car and hollered at the top of her lungs, “I’m here. I’ve done it! Je suis arrivĂ©e!”

Provence, the place and the people, slowly seduces Katherine. As she opens to accept the gifts it offers, she finds herself both healing and becoming the person she lost during her marriage. She still doesn’t know if she could ever trust in a relationship, but as she meets the wealthy Australian Nick and the enigmatic local Philippe, she begins to wonder if that could be possible. In the second book of the series, Promises to Keep, Katherine continues to grow, to take new chances on promises, even if it means facing the possibility of loss.

Katherine’s healing and growth is a slow and cautious process, and at every step the people and places of Provence are a beautifully described and real force, supporting and celebrating her change. But it’s a slow, almost incremental process, one in which the tiny pieces of everyday life and friendship and love are rediscovered and celebrated. If you are looking for a fast-moving story with lots of action scenes, steamy sex, and dramatic events, these aren’t the books for you. But if you’re interested in a careful exploration of a mature woman discovering just who she is, and whether that’s even a person she likes, then I recommend this series. I would give five out of five stars for the beautiful writing, compelling description of an all-too-common betrayal, and most of all for Katherine’s change and growth. My only disappointment is that I’ll have to wait a few months for the next book. In the meanwhile, I’m going to miss my good bookfriends, Katherine and Provence.

*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*


Book Titles: The Promise of Provence & Promises to Keep (Books 1 & 2 of Love in Provence series)
Author: Patricia Sands
Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Romance
Publisher:Lake Union Publishing
Length:  466 pgs (The Promise of Provence) & 226 pgs (Promises to Keep)
Release Date: Updated edition release date October 6, 2015

For more info about Patricia Sands and her books:

Blog: www.patriciasandsauthor.com