In between all the work I’ve been doing (both for my job and for my fiction writing), I’ve managed to read a few books. Two books that really stood out were Monsoon Memories by Renita D’Silva and The French for Love by Fiona Valpy. These two amazing women are debut authors published by Bookouture, which is well on its way to becoming my favorite publishing company. So far, I’ve read four books published by this new kid on the block, and all four have been fantastic.
Both Monsoon Memories and The French for Love are beautifully written novels that have a way of conveying setting and description that is magical. And both novels feature such stellar characterization that you’ll feel as though you know the characters inside and out.
Monsoon Memories tells the story of Shirin, an Indian woman who is estranged from her family and living an on-the-surface enviable life in London with her husband. Memories of her life in India, and why she was forced to leave, haunt her and a longing for her family and everything she left behind grows inside her. And while Shirin’s memories keep pulling her back into her past, in India her niece finds a photograph of the aunt she never knew and starts them on a path to dealing with painful secrets and ultimately coming to love and reconciliation. Full of gorgeously crafted settings and descriptions, you’ll be pulled into this lush novel. Renita paints the most beautiful images with a few, perfectly chosen words. Monsoon Memories is a book to fall in love with.
The French for Love also deals with family secrets, leaving the past behind and taking a path of discovery. Gina, our protagonist, has every reason to leave England behind–she’s lost her dream job and her boyfriend and then her favorite aunt dies, and then she finds out her aunt has left her what seems to be the solution to all her problems–a house in France. So Gina does what any self-respecting woman who’s longing for a change would do–she moves to France to start a new life. But…she hadn’t factored in the culture shock, the roof in need of repair, language gaffes or the family secrets that were supposed to remain buried. As Gina learns to navigate life in Bordeaux (sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?), she finds herself falling in love with Cédric, her dishy stonemason. Well…I won’t tell you the rest. You should just take my word and dive into this book. It’s a perfect summer read that will transport you away from the doldrums commuting or the usual rat race and have you longing to move to France and find a ramshackle house of your own.
So have I got you interested? Good! You should be. Both novels are amazing, and they are definitely on my list of must-reads for 2013. They are both five-star books for me.