LOVE IN A WARM CLIMATE BY HELENA FRITH-POWELL (Gibson Square £7.99)
Not long after she’s uprooted her family from England to France to start a new life making wine, married mother-of-three Sophie Reed is horrified to find a bra in her husband’s weekend bag.
It’s not his and it’s definitely not hers: it’s far too small and lacy for that.
Nope, the bra belongs to a French woman called Cecile, the new object of her betrothed’s affection, and Sophie must decide whether to abandon her vines and move back home or stay put and give her dreams of becoming a wine maker a chance.
In the ensuing struggle to make things work she embraces yoga, her inner French woman and two exciting new love interests. Thoughtful observations about the differences between the French and English approach to relationships pepper the narrative, providing an interesting backdrop to the various choices Sophie must make.
I loved all the yoga bits, too, and can personally vouch for Sophie’s praise regarding its toning abilities. Helpfully, there’s a handy guide at the end if you’re keen to try out a few sun salutations of your own.
Sophie is an engaging protagonist, the characterisation, dialogue and setting spot on and there are a lot of funny bits. I enjoyed it.
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor in chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group.
Helena contributes regularly to UK-based newspapers and magazines and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. Helena is also working on a thriller called Thin Ice that will be published in spring 2021 as well as a novel about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield called Sense of an Echo.
Her latest non-fiction work Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles came out in hardback in 2016 and in paperback in April 2018.
Helena, who was educated at Durham University, lives in the Languedoc region of France with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square spring 2018
The Longest Night; Gibson Square spring 2019