Thursday, 23 April 2015

Book review: A Fête to Remember by Julia Stagg


My edition: Paperback, published on 3 July 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton, 369 pages.

Description: It's summertime in the French Pyrenees and the mountain commune of Fogas is en fête. But Christian Dupuy has no time for the frivolity of les vacances. For a start, he's just been struck by the arrows of l'amour and doesn't have a clue how to approach the woman who's stolen his heart.

Then there is the not-so-small matter of local politics. With moves afoot to wipe his community from the map, Christian has to enter the fray once more to save the place that he cherishes.

In the midst of a sweltering heatwave and with the residents of Fogas at each other's throats over their future, the lovesick and embattled deputy mayor must decide if all really is fair in love and war.

Rating:



The small commune of Fogas in the French Pyrenees is a source of unexpected romance, rebellious children, buried secrets and most of all plenty of drama. From the villagers' own escapades to local politicians putting the small town at risk as a proposed merger with a neighbouring village could lead to Fogas being absorbed completely and losing its own identity.

I've been putting off writing this review, which is never a good sign. As soon as I opened the pages I realised this novel was part of a larger series, none of which I had read prior to this one. It didn't necessarily follow one particular storyline explored in a previous instalment, but I did feel that I was missing important background information from the characters, which for the first few chapters made it hard to differentiate between the wealth of people mentioned and understand all their underlying connections and relationships.

Furthermore, because there were so many characters, there wasn't one protagonist the story focused on - unless we count Fogas itself - which not only made it a struggle to keep them all apart, but it also didn't provide much space for characterisation and relatability. This made it near impossible to sympathise with what the characters were going through and this lack of connection I felt led to me almost not finishing the novel. After all, if I don't care what they get up to next or how the story ends, what it the incentive for me to keep reading until the final page?

While the descriptive writing made this also quite a slow novel to digest, it did create an excellent sense of place. I really felt myself being transported to the French Pyrenees and despite having never had a particular desire to visit, author Julia Stagg made the village sound so charming that I instantly wanted to pack my bags and travel down to a picturesque little town in the French mountains and perhaps even get the opportunity to witness an authentic fête.

If you're already familiar with Julia Stagg's The Fogas Chronicles and would like to know more about the villagers and their lives, then A Fête to Remember will no doubt be right up your alley. But if Fogas is as of yet unfamiliar territory then perhaps the fourth novel in the series isn't the best place to start reading about the rural French town.

You can purchase the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: www.jstagg.com

Twitter: @juliastagg

Facebook: www.facebook.com/staggjulia


This review first appeared HERE on Novelicious

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