Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review & Tour ~ The Provence Cure For The Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted: A NovelThe Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted: A Novel
Author ~ Bridget Asher
Publisher ~ Bantam Dell
Publication date ~ March 29, 2011

Brokenhearted and still mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbott, her obsessive-compulsive seven-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to the small village of Puyloubier in the south of France, where a crumbling stone house may be responsible for mending hearts since before World War II.

There, Charlotte confesses a shocking secret, and Heidi learns the truth about her mother’s “lost summer” when Heidi was a child. As three generations collide with one another, with the neighbor who seems to know all of their family skeletons, and with an enigmatic Frenchman, Heidi, Charlotte, and Abbot journey through love, loss, and healing amid the vineyards, warm winds and delicious food of Provence. Can the magic of the house heal Heidi’s heart, too?

My thoughts ~ 

Heidi has a gift for making beautiful pieces of art in her bakery. She is a well-known, talented pastry chef. But she has lost her desire to create. Along with her car keys, lids to the toothpaste and jelly, friends, checkbooks - and the most important thing in her life, her husband. It’s been two years since Henry died in a car accident, and Heidi still hasn’t found her way back to the land of the living. She’s not sure if she ever will, or even if she wants to. But she knows that she needs to, if not for herself, than for her son Abbott. A little boy who loves to hear “Henry stories”, worries a great deal about his mom, and has developed some OCD tendencies in the wake of his father’s death. 

Up until her teens, Heidi would spend each summer at her family home in Provence, along with her mother and sister. There they would laugh, play with the boys next door, enjoy the simple life, and hear the stories of the home. They heard of the magic wonders that occur in this beautiful spot, the love that is found, and the miraculous healing of the heart. They hear of the great fire that literally stopped at their doorstep, and of their great grandparents, who could never have children - that is until they visited this beloved spot and were then blessed with the family they dreamed of, yet had given up on. Then one summer, Heidi’s mom went to Provence alone, needing time to sort through some personal issues of her own and hoping the magic healing powers of the house will soothe her aching heart. 

Despite the joy of her sister’s wedding, Heidi still cannot get passed her grief. She tries to put her pain aside to celebrate with her sister, but arriving late for the bridesmaid’s toast doesn’t help matters. However, she does feel useful when helping to deal with Charlotte, her sister’s soon-to-be step-daughter. A sixteen-year-old young woman struggling with being a teen, her father getting remarried, finding her own identity, and keeping a secret of her own. When a fire occurs at the Provence house Heidi’s mother is beside herself. That house means so much to her. But not as much as her daughter and grandson’s happiness. So along with Heidi’s sister, they concoct a plan for Heidi, Abbott, and Charlotte to go to France to oversee the renovations from the fire, and to maybe find some of the magic that the house possesses.

Heidi arrives in Provence and immediately gets off to a rocky start. Not only is their rental car broken into and all their possessions stolen, but then it breaks down. Julien, the son of their neighbor and one of the boys Heidi played with as a child comes to their rescue. There definitely seems to be an attraction between the two, but both are dealing with tremendous amounts of pain, and neither one is looking for love. Can either one move past their hurt and move on with their lives, experiencing love, friendship, tears, and laughter for the first time in a long time? Will the secrets that are revealed bring this family closer or tear them apart? Will anyone experience the magic this house presumes to possess?

The Provence Cure For The Brokenhearted is a story full o f hope, promise, and the love one feels for someone even after they are gone. It’s about families finding each other, about secrets being told, and about coming home again. It’s a story about believing in oneself, hope for the future, coming together, and dealing with the past. The Provence Cure For The Brokenhearted is a tender-hearted love story that tackles moving on from grief and opening up to love again.


About the author ~ 

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode. She has published sixteen books over the last ten years.

Her latest novel, The Pretend Wife, written under the pen name Bridget Asher, was published in June 2009. Her first Bridget Asher novel, My Husband’s Sweethearts has sixteen overseas editions. In spring 2011, Random House will publish The Provence Cure for the Broken-Hearted, with another Asher novel under contract.

She lives in Florida with her husband writer David G.W. Scott and their four kids, and is an associate professor at Florida State University’s Creative Writing Program.

In 2006, Baggott and her husband co-founded the nonprofit organization Kids in Need – Books in Deed, that focuses on literacy and getting free books to underprivileged children in the state of Florida.

Connect with Bridget on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and on her blog.