FRENCH COAST by Anita Hughes

french coast

Courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin

I have been reading a lot but not making the time to sit down and write.  But after flying through this delicious read by Anita Hughes, I felt like I had to share the warmth, class, and love found in French Coast.  I would love for my next big trip to be to the Cote d’Azur and this book transported me to Cannes. When I started this blog, I wanted to provide recommendations for different types of readers like The Ambitious Reader, The Happy-Go-Lucky Reader, and The Escape Artist.  This book delivers for both The Happy-Go-Lucky Reader and The Escape Artist.  Besides the sexy love scenes, designer duds, and pristine locale, French Coast also tells intricate stories of the resiliency of love and their surprising intersections.

 

Five Reasons to Read:

  1.  Anita Hughes knows the way to a girls’ heart–Vogue, Givenchy, and Moet & Chandon.  When Vogue features editor Serena Woods goes to Cannes to interview former French Vogue editor Yvette Renault you’re in for all things fashion and French.
  2. Serena is surrounded by beauty while things keep falling apart for her, but she is always looking out for her new friend Zoe, daughter of an Australian fashion magnate, and putting others first.
  3. As Serena interviews Yvette, we’re propelled back into the sixties when Yvette was a young mother in an unhappy marriage.  Her story is told with gritting honesty and poise.
  4. If you like a sexy beach read, you can’t go wrong with this book. But it has enough intrigue to keep you from getting bored.
  5. When the prose gets repetitive, Hughes digs deeper and provides more drama, more decisions for Serena, and more secrets are revealed.

The Long View: 

Serena Woods is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Charles Woods.  Her family lives in a mansion in San Francisco and runs in fashionable social circles.  As a features editor for Vogue, Serena has made a name for herself as well and has been asked to go to Cannes to interview one-time French Vogue editor-in-chief Yvette Renault.  Serena will help Yvette write her memoir as well as write a feature for Vogue. She is the perfect choice since her father was once the French consul general in Paris and her French is impeccable. When Serena’s boyfriend Chase proposes she is well on her way to becoming a political wife like her mother, Kate. Chase is planning to announce his run for mayor of San Francisco as well as his engagement to Serena. Although the timing is difficult, Chase is supportive of Serena going to France for a month.  Once she arrives as the Carlton-Intercontinental Serena finds her reservation has been botched and everything is booked for the Cannes Film Festival.  Luckily she runs into a young woman, Zoe, who is staying in the Cary Grant Suite and looking for company.  While Serena shares the suite with Zoe, she discovers Zoe is not just some socialite enjoying the allures of the French coast–she is tailing her father, an Australian fashion designer, who seems to have run off with a woman who is not Zoe’s mother.  Serena finds she has her own family troubles–an anonymous letter has surfaced declaring her father has a secret second family in France.  Serena is appalled and convinced it is not true, but when Chase shows up in France with proof and calls off their engagement she is devastated.  All the while Serena meets with Yvette and learns of her romance with a famous French author, Bertrand.  Their affair spans many years and begins when Yvette agrees to translate Bertrand’s latest novel into English. Yvette reveals many secrets of her all-consuming relationship with Bertrand. Serena begins to feel similar feelings for Nick, a dark-haired professional sail boat racer who is brave and assured in a way that Chase is not.  It seems all love affairs must either come to an end or endure.  Hughes weaves together these stories of resilient love and orchestrates their intersections flawlessly.  Although some scenes are repetitive (the endless listing off of designer clothes, shoes, and purses; the sex scenes where a woman gives herself over to a man) the plot moves quickly and the many surprises make for an enjoyable read. This book is like a Helium balloon, while the inside is light and frivolous, when it pops it leaves a satisfying release.

The Deets:

Order French Coast, publishing in April.

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