Book review & giveaway: That Spring In Paris, by Ciji Ware

That Spring in ParisCiji Ware

on Tour August 15-28 with

That Spring in Paris

(women’s fiction / romance)
Release date: May 25, 2017
at Lion’s Paw Publishing
ISBN: 978-0988940871
ebook: 978-0988940864
468 pages
Website
Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

Two Americans literally collide at the entrance to a Paris hospital, each desperately searching for friends felled in the same unspeakable tragedy.

Patrick Finley Deschanel, an expatriate former U.S. Air Force pilot, quit the military after a career flying helicopter rescue missions in the Middle East. Now resident on a classic barge moored on the Seine, Finn is a man with both physical battle scars and psychic wounds that overshadow his day-to-day encounters at every turn.

Juliet Thayer is a fledgling landscape painter who seeks escape from a tyrannical older brother and her job at his violent video war games company in San Francisco. Her emergency trip to Paris also raises doubts as to her impending engagement to a colleague where she serves as packaging design director and “Chief Branding Officer” of GatherGames, a highly speculative enterprise in which her parents are heavily invested.

As Finn and Juliet form a tenuous attachment in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that traumatized the French capital November 13, 2015, they wonder if the “City of Light” can provide a path out of the darkness for two emotional exiles who fear–along with the world at large—that their universe has descended into a permanent state of chaos and that the renewal of spring might never come.

New York Times bestselling novelist and Emmy-award winning news producer Ciji Ware displays her formidable skill at weaving fact and fiction–delivering a gripping story about the discovery of love and regained serenity in the wake of horrifying events.

MY REVIEW

It didn’t take me long to become immersed in this book, set as it was during some very recent events. The terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, are still a very fresh memory, albeit one made by television and internet news sources (for me, at least). But the author didn’t sensationalize the attacks; her characters were affected by them, and the attacks formed the catalyst for the book, but the events were treated with sensitivity.

The characters were engaging, and I felt I could relate to both Finn and Juliet, though I am neither soldier nor game developer. I especially felt for Juliet, trying so hard to support her family, even though she was becoming increasingly unhappy in her role, and for having to deal with parents that treated her brother as the golden child. Finn’s struggle was portrayed well, and I felt both characters had depth.

There was romance, but it did not overtake the rest of the story; the author had a good balance between the external and internal plots, the personal struggles of both characters, and their growing support of each other. It was a book that was hard to put down, and it had a satisfying conclusion. I’ll be going to find more of this author’s work for sure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

That Spring in Paris - Ciji Ware

Ciji Ware,
a graduate of Harvard University in History,
is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author
of historical and contemporary fiction,
and two works of nonfiction.
An Emmy-award winning
former radio and TV broadcaster for 23 years in Los Angeles,
her numerous writing accolades include a Dorothy Parker Award of excellence,
and being short-listed for the Willa [Cather] Literary Award.
Her family circle includes a husband of many decades,
a grown son and daughter-in-law, and now two grandsons under four,
along with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Cholly Knickerbocker.
Ware lives in a cottage by the sea on San Francisco Bay.

Visit her website
Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBook | Kobo

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GIVEAWAY

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to all
2 winners

***

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Book review: Finding Fontainbleau, by Thad Carhart

Finding Fontainbleau, by Thad Carhart

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (May 17, 2016)

FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU recounts the adventures of Carhart and his family—his NATO officer father, his mother, four siblings, and their dog—in the provincial town of Fontainebleau, France, in the 1950s. Dominating life in the town is the beautiful Château of Fontainebleau. Begun in 1137, fifty years before the Louvre and more than five hundred before Versailles, the Château was a home for Marie-Antoinette, François I, and the two Napoleons, among others, all of whom added to its splendors without appreciably destroying the work of their predecessors.

With characteristic warmth and humor, Carhart takes readers along as he and his family experience the pleasures and particularities of French life: learning the codes and rules of a French classroom where wine bottles dispense ink, camping in Italy and Spain, tasting fresh baguettes. Readers see post-war life in France as never before, from the parks and museums of Paris (much less crowded in the 1950s, when you could walk through completely empty galleries in the Louvre) to the quieter joys of a town like Fontainebleau, where everyday citizens have lived on the edges of history since the 12thcentury and continue to care for their lieux de mémoire—places of memory.

Intertwined with stories of France’s post-war recovery are profiles of the monarchs who resided at Fontainebleau throughout the centuries and left their architectural stamp on the palace and its sizeable grounds. Carhart finds himself drawn back as an adult, eager to rediscover the town of his childhood. FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU imagines a bright future for this important site of French cultural heritage, as Carhart introduces us to the remarkable group of architects, restorers, and curators who care for and refashion the Château’s hundreds of rooms for a new generation of visitors. Guided by Patrick Ponsot, head of the Château’s restoration programs, the author takes us behind the scenes and shows us a side of the Château that tourists never see.

MY REVIEW

This book was the perfect mixture of memoir and history text, and it took me little time at all to read it through. When I got to the end, I wished it was longer, so that I could spend more time there, and learn more of the history. But most of all, I was delighted to learn about the everyday French life of the time. Most amusing were the surprising contortions of the parents of his schoolmates when students were expected to have a glass of milk daily, and for reasons political, all his French schoolmates produced doctor’s letters stating that they were not to have any milk. But Thad, being unknowing, drinks his milk without complaint. At least, until he realizes what’s happened, and his parents somehow have to get him a letter also. That was one of the quirkiest bits in the book, I found. Other little details surprised me, such as the taking of inventory, and that a house that had fixtures (stove, toilets, some furniture, etc.) was considered fully furnished, and that there were houses with nearly nothing that would be considered unfurnished. Far different from my rental experiences here in Canada, where an unfurnished apartment is still expected to come provided with a stove, fridge, a proper bathroom, and quite possibly window coverings.

And the history… oh the history. I really wanted to be there in Fontainbleau, seeing the old theatre as it was, wandering in under the eaves, seeing the workshops for the workers, and watching the restoration. I have been to Versailles, and found it immense (and tourist-filled, uncomfortably so), but Fontainbleau sounds much more intimate by comparison. I have not yet been there, but I know that it will be on my list of places to visit when I next travel to Europe. I will not miss it. And I thank Mr Carhart for introducing me to its fascinating history.

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Unknown-1About Thad Carhart

Twenty-six years ago THAD CARHART moved to Paris with his wife and two infant children. He lives there now, with frequent visits to New York and Northern California. His first book, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, appeared in 2000, published by Random House. Across the Endless River, a historical novel, came out in 2009 with Doubleday.

Connect with Thad

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Thad Carhart’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Book Review: The French House, by Don Wallace (+ Giveaway!)

french-house-coverWhen life hands you lemons, make citron pressé.

Shortly after Don and Mindy Wallace move to Manhattan to jump-start their writing careers, they learn of a house for sale in a village they once visited on a tiny French island off the Brittany coast. Desperate for a life change, the Wallaces bravely (and impulsively) buy it almost sight unseen.

What they find when they arrive is a ruin, and it isn’t long before their lives begin to resemble it—with hilarious and heartwarming results.

Redolent with the beauty and flavors of French country life, The French House is a lively, inspiring, and irresistibly charming memoir of a family that rises from the rubble, wins the hearts of a historic village, and finally finds the home they’ve been seeking off the wild coast of France.

My review

Oh how I wish that I too could own a house on an island in France. Mind you, I don’t think I’d have managed with as much patience as the author and his family. I might have turned tail and ran at the sight of a near-wreck of a house, and the slow, almost glacial pace of renovations, and the intricacies of island-life. I don’t mind cosily rundown, but a virtual ruin is a bit much.

As such, I was impressed by the fortitude of the author, the dedication among the difficulties, and their gradual immersion into the society on the island. Each interaction detailed was fascinating, from the woman who encourages them to buy the place and stays a fixture in their lives for years, to the children to whom they teach baseball. I felt immersed along with them, albeit from the comfort of my own sofa.

I don’t know that I had a particular favourite part of the book, but as a whole, it was a perfect read for my lazy summer days at the cottage.

About the Author

french-house-don-wallace-600x800Don Wallace has been a magazine writer and editor for 25 years,
and is the film editor for Honolulu Weekly.
He has held a number of senior positions at magazines, including Yachting magazine, SELF,
Golf Digest Woman at The New York Times, and others.
His essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, E Magazine,
Redbook, Portfolio, Parents, and many others.
Wallace and his wife, Mindy, split their time between Honolulu, Long Beach, and Belle Ile.

Visit his website, and his blog

Follow him on Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads | Google + | LinkedIn

Buy this book onSourcebooksAmazon (paperback or kindle), B&N (Paperback or Nook), BAMIndieBoundIndigo

The Giveaway!

It’s open to US/Canadian readers, and the prize is a print copy of The French House, as well as a basket of delicious French chocolates! (5 winners total, use the widget below to enter)

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