Newly divorced and bought out of her company, Nathalie leaves Chicago to figure out what she wants out of life. She rents a house in Southern France looking for some peace and quiet and a place to unwind. She knows things have to change, but she hasn’t been able to pinpoint what is missing from her life.
Lena is very content with her life. She loves her dog, her landscaping business and women, lots of them. When Nathalie becomes her tenant for the summer, her comfortable and safe life gets shaken up. Neither woman is looking for love. Nathalie has never been interested in a woman before and Lena is still nursing a broken heart.
As boundaries blur and passions heat up, both women realize that their summer must come to an end and goodbyes are inevitable. After all, Nathalie has to go home. But is that really the case? If you love someone, isn’t home where the heart is?
It’s impossible to not like Nathalie. She is smart and confident, yet for a former CEO she is wonderfully innocent and down to earth. She recognizes that Lena makes her feel things, she just doesn’t quite understand what those things are. It was so sweet to watch her slowly come to understand the nature of those feelings. I loved that she never fought what her heart and her body were telling her. It was fun and empowering to watch Nathalie’s self-discovery over the course of the book.
Lena is full of surprises. As the village lothario, I didn’t expect her to be as grounded as she is, and I didn’t expect her to be so gentle and respectful with Nathalie. Her blatant flirting quickly changes to something altogether more tender when she realizes that there is more to Nathalie than her good looks and expensive power suits. I was all in with Lena when she realizes there is something about Nathalie that she’s been looking for her entire life. The big question was whether Lena could put her past heartbreak aside and take a risk again.
The Writing Style
I am so glad that Gold provides the reader with both Nathalie and Lena’s points of view. Away from Lena, I got to see Nathalie at her corporate best and away from Nathalie I got to see Lena confront her love’em and leave’em ways.
Gold skillfully uses dialogue to color the tentative steps both women take towards examining how they feel about each other. When they are together, at the villa, they are like shy young women feeling the first signs of attraction and love. When they are out in the world together, they are their public selves, full of confidence and poise learned from life’s ups and downs. I could have spent twice as many pages with Lena and Nathalie, watching them tentatively figure out what they mean to each other.
Southern France! Monaco! Fresh baguettes, cheese, and olives! Gold puts loads of details into the description of Lena’s world and I relished every last one. I’m sold and ready to start checking airfares to France.
< crickets chirping >
I was completely delighted with French Summer. I love a sweet romance with main characters who I like from the beginning. Sometimes I don’t want to wait for an ice queen to thaw or for an enemy to become a lover. I want to get wrapped up in a love story as it unfolds and this one does it with tenderness and a simmering attraction that’s ready to ignite into something powerful. The fact that Nathalie begins to connect the dots about her sexuality by reading Lena’s collection of lesfic is just one example of the playfulness found sprinkled throughout the story. You don’t have to wait for summer to enjoy this captivating romance. It will capture your heart regardless of season.
Excerpt from French Summer by Lise Gold
“Have you ever kissed a woman? In college, or on a night out?”
“No, never.” Nathalie shook her head. “What’s it like?”
Now it was Lena’s turn to laugh. “It’s nice. Sensual. Not much different from your encounters with men, I assume. It just happens to be my preference.”
“How did you know it was your preference?” Nathalie put the book down, focusing on their conversation.
“I don’t know. Attraction is attraction. You either want someone or you don’t, I really believe it’s that simple. I’ve always found women far more intriguing than men. Both on a sexual and an intellectual level. That doesn’t mean I don’t like men, I just prefer them as friends. Women are sensual and seductive, but they can also be strong and fierce. I like how they look; I love their curves, their skin, their smell, their voice….” She hesitated, but couldn’t resist teasing Nathalie. “I love how they sound when I pleasure them.”
Nathalie’s face took on a whole new level of crimson. She let it sink in and nodded in a cool manner, pretending she wasn’t affected by Lena’s words, and that it was the most normal thing to talk about.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781720682410
- Publisher: Indie author
- Lise Gold Online www.lisegold.com
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