Fiction — print. Headline Review, 2010. 406 pgs. Review copy sent by the author.
Normally I do not accept review copies during the school year, but when Thornton emailed me to ask if I was interested in reading her most recent book I accepted immediately because a couple of book bloggers I follow gave her previous novels glowing reviews. I was not at all disappointed.
Thornton seems to have a knack for writing about the ‘ordinary’ aspect of people’s life because although Catherine has relocated her life from England to France, life still goes on. People still do their weekly shopping at the market and complete their work; people still live and die. There are lonely moments, frustrating moments, and moments of sheer joy; it does rely on the outrageous to make Catherine’s life interesting. The novel moves through these moments without pause, drawing me in as though I’m apart of Catherine’s story. In fact, the only reason why I put the novel down was to fold my laundry and cook some dinner. (Very ordinary, indeed.)
The descriptions of life in the Cévennes mountains of France reminded me so much of home; that feeling Catherine describes as she looks out the window is the exact same feeling I get when I walk out my backdoor. Thornton just has a way of writing about the inexplicable draw places have on us that does feel cheap or fake or forced. I would love to visit the region now; maybe even the national park that causes so many problems for Catherine and the people of St. Julien.
The title may suggest ‘chick-lit’, but it has this richness that isn’t normally found in chick-lit and I certainly wouldn’t classify it in that way. It’s a story that made me want to slow down and not pay attention to the clock. I certainly enjoyed it.