Thursday, 11 September 2014
You Had me at Bonjour by Jennifer Bohnet
Published by Carina UK
Purchase from Amazon here
New year, Nouveau Jessica!
If you’d asked Jessica a year ago, she would have told you that her life was pretty near perfect. But one year – and one very messy divorce – later, she’s not so sure. Which is how she found herself boarding a plane to the south of France, determined to put her past behind her… preferably via some deliciously chilled rosé.
Meeting a new man was never part of the plan. Yet when she meets Nino, her new neighbour’s impossibly sexy nephew, steering clear of romance seems easier said than done. Suddenly, Jessica finds herself right back where she started: with her heart on the line. But now she’s made a new start, perhaps it’s time for Jessica to throw caution to the wind, take a few risks… and learn to regrette rien!
You Had me at Bonjour tells the story of a year in the life of Jessica. Having been betrayed by her husband who has left her for another woman, Jessica decides to jet off to the south of France for twelve months to 'do a Shirley Valentine'.
The book is set out like a diary and during this time we see her go from a nervous newcomer, to a confident woman who makes friends and even finds some love interest in the form of Nino. I liked the format of writing it as a diary as it kept me aware of how quickly the twelve months were passing, but it was also snappy enough to flip between the events taking place.
Whilst Jessica and Nino are the main characters we also meet a number of supporting characters who really enhanced the story for me. Her best friend Bella seems like a real friend who can be relied on through good and bad. She pops over to see Jessica regularly and is also Godmother to Jessica's grown up daughter Katie. I couldn't help but feel for Jessica and Katie who are both struggling to come to terms with the marriage breakdown, albeit in different ways. There is a point in the book where their relationship is stormy and I really wanted them to work through it.
I really liked Eliosa who is an older lady living in the same block of apartments as Jessica. She came across to be as vivacious and wise woman. She takes Jessica under her wing and opens up her confidence and social life.
Whilst not the same as Shirley Valentine Jessica does have similarities in starting over and searching for happiness in life. I felt that Jessica got stronger as the year progressed and I loved her reaction when events occur with her ex husband later in the year.
The storyline is predictable and you could see what the outcome would be with her dilemmas. However the book was still enjoyable and I felt quite buoyed seeing her relax and grow in confidence. The book is well written and easy to follow. It is a quick read and I flew through it with it's lighthearted, snappy pace. It left me with a smile on my face....and a desire to travel and escape too. I am sure there are many more adventures to come and I would love to catch up with her again to see what happens next for them all.
Thank you to Carina UK for providing a copy of the book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.