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History has long been my keenest interest and was a childhood fascination. I followed this interest to University where I obtained my BA and MA in History. My thesis was concentrated on British colonialism in Africa, but my first historical love was England, especially those Tudors. My life's greatest passion are my two boys. My most avid hobbies are reading and travel. My favorite reads are historical fiction and my favorite travel destination Western Europe. Because of the high volume of books I read and my passion for discussion I was encouraged by friends to begin a book review blog earlier this year and so The Most Happy Reader was born.

House of Bathory

House of Bathory - Linda Lafferty The Most Happy Reader Reviews Mary Bennet by Kate Allen Mary Bennet is a familiar, if somewhat neglected character, in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  Mary, the middle child of the five Bennet sisters, lacks the vivacity and beauty of Elizabeth and Jane and lacks the boy crazy flirtatiousness of Kitty and Lydia. Not surprisingly Mary fades into the background as readers are drawn to the fates of her sister.
 
Kate Allan gives us the story of Mary, the much maligned middle sister, who for most of her life has been an embarrassment to her family by her complete lack of social grace so important at the time.  As a result Mary is often the source of ridicule by some of her siblings and, not surprisingly, her mother. At last, in Mary Bennet, Allan gives Mary center stage and a chance to develop in her own unique way.  Allan does not rewrite Austen and I believe that the many fans of Pride and Prejudice will find that Allan remains true to the spirit and characters that Austen created.  In this way, Ms. Allan provides an extension to Pride and Prejudice focusing on Mary, the sister that Austen introduced but did not fully explore. The characters that Austen crafted remain identifiable and true to their portrayal by Austen within Allan’s novel.
 
Allan innovatively gives Mary an academic leaning and it is through research that she meets, collaborates and then come to love Nick Sharnbrook in her own time.  Kate Allen lets Mary remain who she is and allows her to find acceptance and love from someone who appreciates her for herself.  In the end she needn’t conform or master social grace to accomplish the near impossible, a love match.
 
Mary Bennet is a wonderful accompaniment to Pride and Prejudice and will appreciate Kate Allan’s exploration of the life of Mary.  Mary Bennet is a true must read for anyone who enjoys the novels of Austen as well as those who enjoy the exploration of the life of women constrained by society and family expectations.  Who doesn’t love the woman who defies the norm and finds contentment and fulfillment in a life of her own making?

The Crown: A Novel

The Crown: A Novel - Nancy Bilyeau The Most Happy Reader Reviews Mary Bennet by Kate Allen Mary Bennet is a familiar, if somewhat neglected character, in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  Mary, the middle child of the five Bennet sisters, lacks the vivacity and beauty of Elizabeth and Jane and lacks the boy crazy flirtatiousness of Kitty and Lydia. Not surprisingly Mary fades into the background as readers are drawn to the fates of her sister.
 
Kate Allan gives us the story of Mary, the much maligned middle sister, who for most of her life has been an embarrassment to her family by her complete lack of social grace so important at the time.  As a result Mary is often the source of ridicule by some of her siblings and, not surprisingly, her mother. At last, in Mary Bennet, Allan gives Mary center stage and a chance to develop in her own unique way.  Allan does not rewrite Austen and I believe that the many fans of Pride and Prejudice will find that Allan remains true to the spirit and characters that Austen created.  In this way, Ms. Allan provides an extension to Pride and Prejudice focusing on Mary, the sister that Austen introduced but did not fully explore. The characters that Austen crafted remain identifiable and true to their portrayal by Austen within Allan’s novel.
 
Allan innovatively gives Mary an academic leaning and it is through research that she meets, collaborates and then come to love Nick Sharnbrook in her own time.  Kate Allen lets Mary remain who she is and allows her to find acceptance and love from someone who appreciates her for herself.  In the end she needn’t conform or master social grace to accomplish the near impossible, a love match.
 
Mary Bennet is a wonderful accompaniment to Pride and Prejudice and will appreciate Kate Allan’s exploration of the life of Mary.  Mary Bennet is a true must read for anyone who enjoys the novels of Austen as well as those who enjoy the exploration of the life of women constrained by society and family expectations.  Who doesn’t love the woman who defies the norm and finds contentment and fulfillment in a life of her own making?

The Chalice: A Novel

The Chalice - Nancy Bilyeau The Most Happy Reader Reviews Mary Bennet by Kate Allen Mary Bennet is a familiar, if somewhat neglected character, in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  Mary, the middle child of the five Bennet sisters, lacks the vivacity and beauty of Elizabeth and Jane and lacks the boy crazy flirtatiousness of Kitty and Lydia. Not surprisingly Mary fades into the background as readers are drawn to the fates of her sister.
 
Kate Allan gives us the story of Mary, the much maligned middle sister, who for most of her life has been an embarrassment to her family by her complete lack of social grace so important at the time.  As a result Mary is often the source of ridicule by some of her siblings and, not surprisingly, her mother. At last, in Mary Bennet, Allan gives Mary center stage and a chance to develop in her own unique way.  Allan does not rewrite Austen and I believe that the many fans of Pride and Prejudice will find that Allan remains true to the spirit and characters that Austen created.  In this way, Ms. Allan provides an extension to Pride and Prejudice focusing on Mary, the sister that Austen introduced but did not fully explore. The characters that Austen crafted remain identifiable and true to their portrayal by Austen within Allan’s novel.
 
Allan innovatively gives Mary an academic leaning and it is through research that she meets, collaborates and then come to love Nick Sharnbrook in her own time.  Kate Allen lets Mary remain who she is and allows her to find acceptance and love from someone who appreciates her for herself.  In the end she needn’t conform or master social grace to accomplish the near impossible, a love match.
 
Mary Bennet is a wonderful accompaniment to Pride and Prejudice and will appreciate Kate Allan’s exploration of the life of Mary.  Mary Bennet is a true must read for anyone who enjoys the novels of Austen as well as those who enjoy the exploration of the life of women constrained by society and family expectations.  Who doesn’t love the woman who defies the norm and finds contentment and fulfillment in a life of her own making?

The Most Happy Reader Reviews Mary Bennet by Kate Allen

The Chalice - Nancy Bilyeau The Crown: A Novel - Nancy Bilyeau Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution - Will Bashor Gastien: The Cost of the Dream (The Gastien Series #1) - Caddy Rowland The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense - M.J. Rose Isabella: Braveheart of France - Colin Falconer House of Bathory - Linda Lafferty I Am Livia - Phyllis T. Smith
Mary Bennet is a familiar, if somewhat neglected character, in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  Mary, the middle child of the five Bennet sisters, lacks the vivacity and beauty of Elizabeth and Jane and lacks the boy crazy flirtatiousness of Kitty and Lydia. Not surprisingly Mary fades into the background as readers are drawn to the fates of her sister.
 
Kate Allan gives us the story of Mary, the much maligned middle sister, who for most of her life has been an embarrassment to her family by her complete lack of social grace so important at the time.  As a result Mary is often the source of ridicule by some of her siblings and, not surprisingly, her mother. At last, in Mary Bennet, Allan gives Mary center stage and a chance to develop in her own unique way.  Allan does not rewrite Austen and I believe that the many fans of Pride and Prejudice will find that Allan remains true to the spirit and characters that Austen created.  In this way, Ms. Allan provides an extension to Pride and Prejudice focusing on Mary, the sister that Austen introduced but did not fully explore. The characters that Austen crafted remain identifiable and true to their portrayal by Austen within Allan’s novel.
 
Allan innovatively gives Mary an academic leaning and it is through research that she meets, collaborates and then come to love Nick Sharnbrook in her own time.  Kate Allen lets Mary remain who she is and allows her to find acceptance and love from someone who appreciates her for herself.  In the end she needn’t conform or master social grace to accomplish the near impossible, a love match.
 
Mary Bennet is a wonderful accompaniment to Pride and Prejudice and will appreciate Kate Allan’s exploration of the life of Mary.  Mary Bennet is a true must read for anyone who enjoys the novels of Austen as well as those who enjoy the exploration of the life of women constrained by society and family expectations.  Who doesn’t love the woman who defies the norm and finds contentment and fulfillment in a life of her own making?
Source: http://themosthappyreader.blogspot.com/2014/03/review-mary-bennet-by-kate-allan.html

Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution

Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution - Will Bashor The Most Happy Reader Reviews Mary Bennet by Kate Allen Mary Bennet is a familiar, if somewhat neglected character, in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  Mary, the middle child of the five Bennet sisters, lacks the vivacity and beauty of Elizabeth and Jane and lacks the boy crazy flirtatiousness of Kitty and Lydia. Not surprisingly Mary fades into the background as readers are drawn to the fates of her sister.
 
Kate Allan gives us the story of Mary, the much maligned middle sister, who for most of her life has been an embarrassment to her family by her complete lack of social grace so important at the time.  As a result Mary is often the source of ridicule by some of her siblings and, not surprisingly, her mother. At last, in Mary Bennet, Allan gives Mary center stage and a chance to develop in her own unique way.  Allan does not rewrite Austen and I believe that the many fans of Pride and Prejudice will find that Allan remains true to the spirit and characters that Austen created.  In this way, Ms. Allan provides an extension to Pride and Prejudice focusing on Mary, the sister that Austen introduced but did not fully explore. The characters that Austen crafted remain identifiable and true to their portrayal by Austen within Allan’s novel.
 
Allan innovatively gives Mary an academic leaning and it is through research that she meets, collaborates and then come to love Nick Sharnbrook in her own time.  Kate Allen lets Mary remain who she is and allows her to find acceptance and love from someone who appreciates her for herself.  In the end she needn’t conform or master social grace to accomplish the near impossible, a love match.
 
Mary Bennet is a wonderful accompaniment to Pride and Prejudice and will appreciate Kate Allan’s exploration of the life of Mary.  Mary Bennet is a true must read for anyone who enjoys the novels of Austen as well as those who enjoy the exploration of the life of women constrained by society and family expectations.  Who doesn’t love the woman who defies the norm and finds contentment and fulfillment in a life of her own making?

Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time

Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time - Sylvia Nilsen I have always been intrigued by Thomas Becket. Not only in his death, but in his life as well, his friendship with Henry II that turned to hatred after Beckett's apparent transformation from politician to devout churchman after his appointment as Archbishop thereby thwarting Henry's plan to have an Archbishop on his side and one he would control. It was King Henry's thwarted plans for Beckett which fueled his rage and to voice the need to have "someone rid him of that meddlesome priest". Whether King Henry meant those words literally or not four of his knights decided to do just that and journeyed to Canterbury where they murdered Beckett on the altar of the Cathedral. Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time takes up the tale of those four knights and their families as they make a pilgrimage to Compestelo de Santiago in Spain to atone for the death of Beckett.

I feel that Nilsen's Pilgrim Footprints in the Hands of Time filled a gap in the literature surrounding the story of Thomas Beckett and found the narrative seemed to embody the lackluster feelings of a pilgrimage undertaken without personal investment; in that these pilgrims were not motivated by faith, or the need to make a personal penance but were making the often arduous journey for political atonement and not for personal or religious reasons.

Sylvia Nilsen's Pilgrim Footprints: On the Sands of Time is a thoroughly researched and well written account that contributes to the written discourse on the period despite being a work of fiction. Pilgrim Footprints serves to remind any researcher of the period to not overlook the fate of the four men involved in the murder, but also provides a more realistic account of the arduousness of making a pilgrimage, and relates the angst of the pilgrims themselves, in a way so many others authors have romanticized.

Taming a Gentleman Spy (Spies of Mayfair)

Taming a Gentleman Spy - Maggi Andersen Maggi Andersen gives her readers a wonderfully charming Regency romance in her latest novel, Taming a Gentleman Spy, the latest addition to the Mayfair Spy series. Maggi Anderson is a master of portraying the complicated emotions of the Regency era and the societal confines on women. In love and life, Regency women must be innovative in order to circumvent the male domination of their lives and live the life they want and the love they deserve.

Taming a Gentleman Spy's Sibella is one such woman, swearing off marriage for independence but still bound by family and societal responsibilities. There is one man though who has captured her heart; John, Earl of Straithairn. John, a longtime family friend of Sibella's, is our Gentleman Spy, but Sibella does not find him an eager suitor. John has returned from war shunning the desire for a family after experiencing the devastation and loss of war.

There is no doubt that the chemistry between Sibella and John is electric and no doubt he completely returns her feelings, but he denies his them and does his best to dissuade her interest in him. So then, how is a gentile Regency woman go about getting the man she wants? Sibella struggles to make a marriage of love and not for duty. She is feisty and intelligent, but will this be enough?

Maggi Andersen is masterly skillful in describing emotion and in so doing takes her reader on a journey of love and life. Taming a Gentleman Spy is wonderfully integrated in the history of the Regency period, full of rich and complex characters, romance and a touch of intrigue combine to create a wonderfully engaging page turner leaving me wondering where is my gentleman spy anyway?

Gastien: The Cost of the Dream (Gastien, #1)

Gastien: The Cost of the Dream (Gastien, #1) - Caddy Rowland Without a doubt Caddy Rowland has masterfully crafted a character driven novel. Gastien’s life is plagued by brutality, even as a young boy, and few could help but admire his determination to see his dream of becoming an artist without admiration. It is a dream he never wavers from despite numerous seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Without a doubt Gastien is a survivor, but his strength and determination are not without cost to his soul.

I have to admit that at times I had to put the novel aside as it was just too brutal for me to continue. This is not in anyway a criticism of the novel, but rather it was so well written that any survivor of human depravity would understand at times it simply hit too close to home.

Truly the strength of the novel is the rich development of each and every character the reader encounters. It has been some time since I have read a novel that truly brings to life all the personas that inhabit its pages and for that alone Gastien: The Cost of the Dream is a must read.

Rowland just as masterfully describes the various settings with skillful detail and gives her reader a real sense of the existence of struggling artists, the confines of society and the various spheres of Paris that the characters inhabit. It is not a romantic or pretty portrayal, but a realistic one. Gastien: The Cost of the Dream is not a pretty story, but one that is very true to real life. His struggles, his compromises and his resilience are part of the human existence.

Gastien: The Cost of the Dream is the first installment in a series and I eagerly await Caddy Rowland’s further exploration in the development of the character of Gastien as I look forward to what the future holds for this remarkable character. I recommend Gastien: The Cost of the Dream enthusiastically with the reminder that the novel contains graphic descriptions of physical violence, explicit sex and is for adult readers only.

Isabella: Braveheart of France

Isabella: Braveheart of France - Colin Falconer The Most Happy Reader Reviews Mary Bennet by Kate Allen Mary Bennet is a familiar, if somewhat neglected character, in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  Mary, the middle child of the five Bennet sisters, lacks the vivacity and beauty of Elizabeth and Jane and lacks the boy crazy flirtatiousness of Kitty and Lydia. Not surprisingly Mary fades into the background as readers are drawn to the fates of her sister.
 
Kate Allan gives us the story of Mary, the much maligned middle sister, who for most of her life has been an embarrassment to her family by her complete lack of social grace so important at the time.  As a result Mary is often the source of ridicule by some of her siblings and, not surprisingly, her mother. At last, in Mary Bennet, Allan gives Mary center stage and a chance to develop in her own unique way.  Allan does not rewrite Austen and I believe that the many fans of Pride and Prejudice will find that Allan remains true to the spirit and characters that Austen created.  In this way, Ms. Allan provides an extension to Pride and Prejudice focusing on Mary, the sister that Austen introduced but did not fully explore. The characters that Austen crafted remain identifiable and true to their portrayal by Austen within Allan’s novel.
 
Allan innovatively gives Mary an academic leaning and it is through research that she meets, collaborates and then come to love Nick Sharnbrook in her own time.  Kate Allen lets Mary remain who she is and allows her to find acceptance and love from someone who appreciates her for herself.  In the end she needn’t conform or master social grace to accomplish the near impossible, a love match.
 
Mary Bennet is a wonderful accompaniment to Pride and Prejudice and will appreciate Kate Allan’s exploration of the life of Mary.  Mary Bennet is a true must read for anyone who enjoys the novels of Austen as well as those who enjoy the exploration of the life of women constrained by society and family expectations.  Who doesn’t love the woman who defies the norm and finds contentment and fulfillment in a life of her own making?

The Hands of Time (Hands of Time, #1)

The Hands of Time (Hands of Time, #1) - Irina Shapiro Traveling to England following a divorce… Now that hits home. Seeking out the fantasies of the lives of those historical figures I have loved and admired would have, at the time, been a welcome respite. I cannot relate the doorways, stones and tiled floors I have touched throughout my life trying to conjure a sense of those who walked them before me.

I found the The Hands of Time a bit of an escapist read, but not a seriously historical one. It was for me more of a historical romance set within a time travel theme. However, I enjoyed the escape and was thrilled that Valerie found in 1605 what she lacked in her modern life. I also enjoyed Shapiro’s interjection of clues left by Valerie for the family she left behind, especially those to her sister.

I enjoyed this novel not because it was one that stirred the Historian in me to research and debate, but more because it soothed the soul or at least this one at least.

Miss Billings Treads the Boards

Miss Billings Treads the Boards - Carla Kelly Miss Billings Treads the Boards offered enormous promise, but sadly fell short. Henry Tewskbury-Hampton, Fifth Marquis of Grayson, runs into some excitement when he is attacked en route to a party and finds refuge with Bladesworth's Company of Actors.

Katherine Billings, meanwhile, is en route to a new position as a governess, and learns that her new employer is unsavory in the extreme. Katherine disembarks determined not to go through with her new placement when she is also swept up by Bladesworth's Company. Without any other options, she agrees to join them.

Henry is enamored with Katherine and while he connives to stay with the actors as luck would have it some men turn up looking around for the missing Marquis. Henry becomes Hal, a working actor and husband to Katherine, now Kate, as a rouse to continue hiding.


Throughout the novel both Hal and Kate experience emotional growth, but the novel ends with work still needing to be done. Both main characters lacked depth and the plot was far too contrived to be plausible or believable. That being said I found the novel entertaining but not engrossing in the least.

I Am Livia

I Am Livia - Phyllis T. Smith The Most Happy Reader Reviews Mary Bennet by Kate Allen Mary Bennet is a familiar, if somewhat neglected character, in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.  Mary, the middle child of the five Bennet sisters, lacks the vivacity and beauty of Elizabeth and Jane and lacks the boy crazy flirtatiousness of Kitty and Lydia. Not surprisingly Mary fades into the background as readers are drawn to the fates of her sister.
 
Kate Allan gives us the story of Mary, the much maligned middle sister, who for most of her life has been an embarrassment to her family by her complete lack of social grace so important at the time.  As a result Mary is often the source of ridicule by some of her siblings and, not surprisingly, her mother. At last, in Mary Bennet, Allan gives Mary center stage and a chance to develop in her own unique way.  Allan does not rewrite Austen and I believe that the many fans of Pride and Prejudice will find that Allan remains true to the spirit and characters that Austen created.  In this way, Ms. Allan provides an extension to Pride and Prejudice focusing on Mary, the sister that Austen introduced but did not fully explore. The characters that Austen crafted remain identifiable and true to their portrayal by Austen within Allan’s novel.
 
Allan innovatively gives Mary an academic leaning and it is through research that she meets, collaborates and then come to love Nick Sharnbrook in her own time.  Kate Allen lets Mary remain who she is and allows her to find acceptance and love from someone who appreciates her for herself.  In the end she needn’t conform or master social grace to accomplish the near impossible, a love match.
 
Mary Bennet is a wonderful accompaniment to Pride and Prejudice and will appreciate Kate Allan’s exploration of the life of Mary.  Mary Bennet is a true must read for anyone who enjoys the novels of Austen as well as those who enjoy the exploration of the life of women constrained by society and family expectations.  Who doesn’t love the woman who defies the norm and finds contentment and fulfillment in a life of her own making?

Becoming Josephine: A Novel

Becoming Josephine: A Novel - Heather Webb Mon Dieu, where to begin? I had no idea Rose, resurrected later by Bonaparte as Josephine, had such an interesting, turbulent, rich and yet chased seemingly by the demons of war and revolution, poverty, powerlessness and regret. Few humans can imagine such highs and such lows within one lifetime and yet still have the strength and grace to remain a lady to the very end.

Without a doubt this novel taught me so many things I did not know about Rose/Josephine and I have such a better understanding of not only the woman but the times. I have to admit that Becoming Josephine taught me much about myself, about the strength of being a survivor, about the fickle nature of not only love but also power and popularity.

I found Webb's Rose/Josephine superbly human for her gifts and her faults. I felt her prose pulled me along at times and at others slowed so that I could take in the details and appreciate the circumstances of the event that would shortly affect our Rose/Josephine, for better or for worse.

It is a wonderfully written, historically accurate portrayal of a captivating and complex woman while remaining equally, and at times more so, captivating itself.

Without a single moment's reservation I HIGHLY recommend Becoming Josephine. It is a true masterpiece.

Heather Webb, you have truly done justice to a long misrepresented and maligned woman whom I am sure raises a glass to you for your truly remarkable account of her life.

A Newfound Land (The Graham Saga)

A Newfound Land - Anna Belfrage I discovered Anna Belfrage with the third novel in this series, The Prodigal Son. First let me say it certainly stood on its own and I enjoyed it immensely. It did leaving me wanting more and fortunately Belfrage delivered, with her fourth installment to the series, A Newfound Land.

One of the strengths of the series and of each title standing alone is Belfrage's examination of different historical subjects within each. A Newfound Land has as its backdrop the British colonies of the America's and with it the slave trade, race relations within the colonies as well as the practice of slavery itself. At first I sort of bristled at the thought of the typical non-American judgment leveled at the colonies, particularly the South, for the ownership of other men, women and children. It was wrong without question, but the sin of slavery itself stains more than just the hands of American colonists. I expected the usual treatment of slavery and as a result the same of Americans ourselves.

What must be commended of Belfrage is that she does not sugar coat history nor does she skirt around its more unpleasant eras. Rather, she jumps right in to the deep end of the issue and her reader therefore must swim with her or sink. I think FAR more often than not they swim. Not only is she able to face the historical fact straight on Belfrage combines her forthrightness in the development of the characters that populate her novel. Each has his or her own very individual motivations and personality and Belfrage is able to maintain each character through to the last.

Belfrage, in this reader's opinion, has happened upon a series that could truly last her writing life, should she choose for it to do so. As each book is set within a historical era and the characters deal with the issues they are confronted with they do so as a family and in essence it is the family that is at the core of A Newfound Land as with the other titles in the series.

The matriarch, Alexandra Lind, as time traveler and her seventh century husband Matthew Graham might live an exciting life but it is not without pain and loss. For me, I found their union comforting as they weathered whatever life brought them as a partnership and must admit I had such faith in their unique, never perfect, bond.

A Newfound Land will surprise you by taking you unaware and pulling you into its pages and by the time the cover closes you will find yourself an Anna Belfrage fan for life. Now, back to wondering where she will take us next.

TAINTED WATERS by Maggie Thom

Maggie Thom is a new author to me and so when I opened Tainted Waters I had no idea I was in for the ride of my life. Tainted Waters is full of corruption, drugs, lies and murder - the book will truly keep you on the edge of your seat unable to pry yourself from it. As the characters, Sam and Keegan, investigate the near abduction of Sam followed by a stream of threats against both their lives I found myself emotionally right in there with them. As I reader I felt very much a part of the story, Sam, Keegan and I became a team who wouldn't give up.

Maggie brilliantly creates suspense and the atmosphere of unease and creepiness. Her characters inspire the reader to join them in their hunt to solve the mystery which makes them likeable, approachable and very human rather than super human. Sam is a driven, spirited woman and Keegan a protective, but not repressively so, man. There is some chemistry between the two but the story is driven by the mystery and the relationship of the characters is secondary to the storyline. If you are looking for a fast paced, suspenseful and engaging read with all the twists and turns of a mystery that keeps you thinking you've figured it out only to find yourself back at square one, then Tainted Waters is for you.


I am so happy that I have been introduced to Maggi Thom, whom I hope to read again, and I would recommend Tainted Waters without hesitation.

Taking Root in Provence

Taking Root in Provence - Anne-Marie Simons A green eyed monster will appear when you begin to read Taking Root in Provence. He is of course, jealousy and he grows larger and larger with every page.

Taking Root in Provence shares the journey of a couple who, blessed with early retirement, decide to settle in Europe and ultimately make their home in Aix-en-Provence. Unfortunately, the couple themselves remains rather remote and the reader learns little about them themselves and more about their experiences.

The tone of the book is factual and observational. At times it is difficult to remember that Taking Root in Provence it is the story of an actual couple's major life decision to move abroad, which one would imagine is wrought with all sorts of emotions that are never expressed within the book. Rather it is a description of the day to day life season after season for those living in Provence. The reader is provided with a wonderful description of seasonal life and the activities for those living, and visiting, the region.

Ultimately, Taking Root in Provence is about a move that became a love affair with Aix-en-Provence. If you know anything about the Provencal region of Southern France none of the descriptions are difficult to image. This is where the jealousy and envy come in, or at least they did for me, because the couple remained aloof and mysterious their relation of living in this idyllic spot was annoying at times and completely unapproachable. Nevertheless, it does give the reader a guide to the region for travel though through a very focused, unidentified lens.


And while the book is not bad it is just not enough for anyone outside of the author's close circle of friends to relate to and for this reader, having briefly traveled in the region I was left envious of people that remain a mystery to me. The magic of the book is the magic that is within Provence itself. It has that certain je nais se quois. Taking Root in Provence does not.