To celebrate Bastille Day we have selected five perfect books for the occasion.
Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky
Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Française tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy—in their town, their homes, even in their hearts.
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence is the much-loved account of an English couple living their dream abroad. When they buy a 200-year-old farmhouse in the South of France, Peter Mayle and his wife little expect the delights that await them - from six-course lunches and epic games of boule, to encounters with charming but unpredictable builders. Both witty and affectionate, this is an idyllic portrait of the pleasures of rural life.
At My French Table by Jane Webster
When Jane Webster sells her house in Melbourne and takes her four children out of school to move to a grand but neglected chateau in Normandy, she isn't sure how they will adapt to their new French lives. But soon enough, the family is immersed in the tiny village of Bosgouet, embracing the unhurried pace and seasonal rhythmns of rural France. There is a new language to learn, new friends to make and a whole region - from Paris to Rouen and Deauville - to discover.
Restoring the cheateau to its former glory also gives Jane the opportunity to fulfil her lifelong dream of establishing a cookery school. With an abundance of fresh produce at hand and the advice of local traiteurs and chefs, Jane brings the flavours of Normandy to life at her table.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a Chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. ?As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides.
The Fleurville Trilogy by Countess de Segur, translated by Stephanie Smee
The Fleurville Trilogy was first published in 1857. These stories are absolutely delightful tales of a bygone era. They lend themselves to reading aloud – the layout is similar to a script – easily visualised as a play. Perfect for shared reading with 6-8 year olds.
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