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Amour Provence: Book summary and reviews of Amour Provence by Constance Leisure

Amour Provence

by Constance Leisure

Amour Provence by Constance Leisure X
Amour Provence by Constance Leisure
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About this book

Book Summary

A lush, evocative, debut novel set in Provence about the people who grow up and live and remain in two tiny neighboring villages - from the Nazi occupation to the present day - in particular, one man and one woman who have yet to find love.

In the south of France farm life unfolds with the rhythm of the seasons. But the lives of these villagers in Amour Provence reflect the reality that the midi is a place of extremes, the summers of unbearable heat and the winters that are often rude and harsh. Like the climate, the characters find themselves swept away by storms of unannounced and devastating intensity. A vintner's adolescent son has a passionate romance with his schoolmate's mother and they suffer different and enduring consequences. A young Arab woman forced into an arranged marriage, learns that life in the land of Liberté and Egalité can be just as confining as in her own country. A French woman who has lived abroad for many years returns home and discovers that certain members of her family are not pleased to have her back. An unexpected encounter with his past brings new sparks of life to a man who believed he had lost everything, including the only woman he ever loved.

In these two small adjacent villages in the South of France, characters lead lives that overlap and intertwine. Many are close neighbors who have known each other from childhood, linked by ancestors who clung for centuries to their patrimony, the land, which had always been poor, but is now a source of wealth drawn from wine, olives, and tourists. They know a great deal about each other's hidden passions and weaknesses. Age-old resentments and closely guarded secrets retain their hold but are never to be discussed. Amour Provence is a portrait of lives deeply lived, shadowed by the past, against the backdrop of a region and a nation gripped by change.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"At times this is a fascinating exploration of rural dynamics - particularly given the class, race, and cultural divisions in the story - but in the end, the novel, much like its characters, falters under the weight of such a picturesque town." - Publishers Weekly

"Constance Leisure offers us a carefully woven narrative of contemporary life in the tiny wine villages of northern Provence. Her characters are sensitive, sad, but bold too, brought to life through their loves, hates, feuds, infidelities, and haunting regrets." - Patricia Wells, author of The French Kitchen Cookbook and director of the cooking school At Home with Patricia Wells

"This is a profound novel about the struggle to survive both history and buried secrets, and the yearning to keep ties to both the land and to each other. So mesmerizing." - Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

This information about Amour Provence was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Anita S. (Boynton Beach, FL)

Beautiful!
I loved this book. The only word I can think of to describe it, is beautiful. Everything about this book is beautiful. The story takes place in two small villages in Provence where the author's descriptions are so real that I felt I was there. The book to me was a series of short stories where new characters introduced in each chapter relate back to characters in previous chapters. Generations of the same family are introduced in the stories and all the stories are intertwined with the happenings in the villages. It is just beautiful. I could read it again and again. I would recommend this book to everyone and I'm sure book clubs will love it. I hope to read more by this author.

Marjorie H. (Woodstock, GA)

Beautiful!
A dedicated Francophile I found this book to be delightful! Everything about it appealed to me. It's "small town" France with marvelous characters and descriptions. Obviously, Ms. Leisure has a love affair with the French countryside. Her story lines are interesting and there is a certain intimacy in reading about the lives of village people. Many secrets, loves and the food - what can I say? Treat yourself to this lovely book and meet Didier, Jeannot, Sabine, Filou and other characters who will capture your imagine. And don't forget her captivating descriptions of the landscape. C'est magnifique!

Elizabeth K. (Dallas, TX)

A Sweet Taste of Provence
Although this is a novel, it is formatted as a series of interconnected stories about the inhabitants of a small village in Provence. There's a real-life poignancy to the stories. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I'm actually going to reread it, because I know I missed some details on the first read-through. If you like escaping into a world that is different from your own, with (mostly) likable characters in real-life situations, you'll enjoy Amour Provence.

Judith Bates

A Gentle, Beautiful Story
A beautiful story about a wine village in Provence, France from the WWll era to the present. The author uses an interesting method to advance the time---each chapter is about different time period and a different group of villagers or family. All of the characters know each other; they have not always been close friends or good friends. But...........by the time you finish the book, you have the whole story of this wine village and the people who live there or of the people who have left the village and then moved back later. It is a very unique story of a village and its people and a very worthy story.

Sandra C. (Rensselaer, NY)

Interesting book
The development and the intertwining of the characters made for a good read. This book would make for an interesting discussion at a book club gathering.

Beverly J. (Hoover, AL)

A Slice of Life
A delightful yet thoughtful novel about the meaning of family, commitment, love, loss and search for self. The story is set of interconnecting vignettes of various characters that illustrates small French village life from WWII to the present. The author does an exceptional job of evoking the landscape and expectations, both of which can be harsh, on those living in small villages. But it the little acts of unknown kindness, secrets, and longings that make this novel heartwarming. Beautifully written and just like real life makes this the perfect story to savor.

...14 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Constance Leisure

Constance Leisure began her career as an editor at Ladies Home Journal and Family Circle before moving to Paris with her husband and two young children who were raised and educated there. Early on, while on a trip to Provence to fill up the trunk of the family car with wine, they stumbled upon and purchased an old farmhouse with an enchanted garden in a small wine village in the Vaucluse. Little by little, the house in Provence became the center of her family life and her creative imagination. She lives there and in Litchfield, Connecticut. Amour Provence is her first novel.

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