Sunday Book Club: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard

The Little French Guesthouse is described on Amazon as the perfect feel-good summer read; despite the fact that summer has pretty much ended over here in Belgium, with gloomy grey skies and rain every other day, I thought perhaps a nice summer read would at least bring summer back in my mind even if in real life my socks are soaked through.

I’ve never read any of Helen Pollard’s books and to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting – I didn’t really finish reading the synopsis before clicking purchase because once again, it’s cheap at US$2.99, and the cover attracted me and made me think happy thoughts. I love reading books that makes me feel happy and I was hoping that this would be one.

**This part of the review consist of Spoilers

Emmy Jamieson drags her reluctant (and rather awful) boyfriend Nathan for a long-waited and much-needed two weeks holiday at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside. However, she quickly catches him with his pants down with the guesthouse owner’s wife, Gloria, with whom he quickly runs away with.

Rupert, the guesthouse owner, unfortunately, has not just lost his wife, but also injured his leg with a heart problem scare at the untimely moment. The heartbroken Emmy decides to stay and help out at the owner-run guesthouse; with Gloria gone and Rupert too ill to cope alone, she has to prepare dinner as well as change sheets in the gites.

But in the flurry of all the work involved in managing the guesthouse and being thrust into the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends, engages in secret romps with a sizzling hot and younger gardener Ryan, and clashes with an infuriating accountant Alain. The latter, as with most romance novels, she falls in love with.

As her planned holiday ends, Emmy was presented with an unbelievable proposition – Rupert has offered her a job at the guesthouse as the manager. This meant giving up her life in the city and a better-paying job, for a life in the countryside surrounded with happiness and laughter, which of course she ultimately chose.

Final Thoughts

The story is somewhat predictable but I guess it’s in a good way, because it’s meant to make you feel good. There’s really only so many ways that the story can end that will make you feel good, so I think it’s a good trade-off because I really finished the book in good spirits. The pace is nice, and the dialogue not too forced.

There also isn’t too much squabbling – I’ve read a ton of chick-lit and sometimes the authors can go overboard with the squabbling in these categories of books, so this is a nice change. There’s still the asshole boyfriend, which I think the description of which is not too overboard because I do know people who are like that.

I’m actually really happy with this book. A story about a heartbreak that turns into newfound happiness. A guesthouse that’s filled with friendly neighbours who cared for each other like family. Then ultimately, taking the risk to choose happiness over certainty. I would recommend this book if for some reason you’re feeling down and needed a boost.

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