Love Stories from Provence

A budding romance, a Provencal setting and voila – a love story. The following list of books only begins to scratch the surface of the popular women’s fiction genre. However, we recommend these authors as they write beautifully, inviting you into the lifestyle in the South of France with their prose. These books may be fiction, but these authors have “done their homework” regarding historical facts, understanding local traditions and immersing themselves in the culture.

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Karen Aldous tells us that she started writing as a young girl and began her first novel in her twenties. Karen Aldous lives on the edge of the North Downs in a Kent village, and the excitement of London is within easy reach. Read more background on this author and her novels here.

Lizzie Lambert, her estranged mother’s winemaking boyfriend and a family vineyard. The Vineyard is more than a recipe for Provencal wine.

Aldous’ second novel, with Lizzie Lambert’s romance, moves from the vines to the Côte d’Azur, but is life just a little too perfect on The Riviera?

Sophie Claire draws on inspiration from her childhood summers in Provence for her novels. The natural landscape and lifestyle provide the sensual backdrop for her romantic, emotional stories. Besides romance, food is also a key attraction, and Provencal cooking uses the simplest local ingredients to produce delicious results. Her latest book, A Forget-Me-Not Summer, includes recipes.

Sophie Claire’s latest novel, Summer at the French Olive Grove, was published in May 2021. Her effortless writing style draws you in and captures your attention while the characters and their story develop. Far away from pretty St Pierre, a fictitious seaside village on the Mediterranean, the protagonist, Lily Martin, is injured while working on her latest film. Lily is running from her past, but is Oliver charming enough to break down the emotional barriers? It is a heartwarming story that revolves around love, loss, and realizing what is essential in life.

During lockdown, Sophie Claire wrote her latest book, An Escape To Provence, and set it in inland Provence, where the landscape is dry, especially in the fierce heat of summer. She says, “It’s a place of intense colours, perfumes and flavours, so I love to write about it. But it was only as the story developed that I realized how crucial the setting was to become. The setting helped to intensify what was already a sensual and emotional story.”

House sitting offered Jane Dunning and her husband an affordable opportunity to live in the South of France without the hassle of real estate investment. They explored the Var and the Côte d’Azur from a base in La Garde Freinet. Their experience also gave Jane plenty of fodder for two novels, Thirty-five Minutes from St Tropez and Stolen Summer: Sequel to Thirty-five Minutes from St Tropez, that blend romance, fast cars, drama and the French Riviera. Read more about Jane and the backstory here and here.

blankGrab a transat (lounge chair) and settle for a great read complete with family dynamics, hot bodies, superyachts, and a tour through Provence. Sunshine and Shadows at the Vineyard is the latest novel by Jane Dunning, and here is our review.

Sometimes, you need an escapism book, and sometimes you must escape. Author Ruth Kelly delivers both in her book The Little Vineyard in Provence, published in 2019. This novel is Ruth Kelly’s first book under her signature. However, she has ghostwritten several bestselling books.

blankBook Little Vineyard Provence Ruth Kelly

Deborah Lawrenson’s books combine historical facts and romance into engaging tales. Discover more background on Lawrenson’s expat experiences in Provence here and here.

The Lantern is a novel about the histories around us, whether in the run-down old house or the ghosts of Eve and Dom’s past that will not settle. Is their hamlet Les Genévriers haunted, or are these psychological manifestations of uncertainties they have both brought with them?blank

Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three novellas. The Sea Garden transports the readers from the Mediterranean to the lavender fields with plenty of drama.blank

Patricia Sands still vividly remembers Provence from her days as a backpacker in the late 1960s. Sands shared that she and a friend travelled on Eurail passes, discovering Provence and the Côte d’Azur. Years later, the region continues to captivate her attention and feed her writer’s creativity.

The third novella in the series – Lavender, Loss & Love at the Villa des Violettes, is about family. Sands shows us how families bind us, forming the center of a life well-lived. As with all of her novels, Sands captures the sights, smells, and flavours of this unique part of the world. And, no Sands novel would be complete without a bit of mystery.

Patricia Sands’s latest book is a Season of Surprises at the Villa des Violettes. This novella is the second in a series about Katherine (Kat) and Philippe’s new home (Villa des Violettes), which is soon to be a bed and breakfast near Antibes. The love story continues to evolve, but life can’t always be perfect, even on the French Riviera.blank

Published at the end of November 2018, The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes is the first novella in a three-part series by Patricia Sands. The First Noël, with its holiday theme, is a chance to reconnect with the characters from the Love in Provence series. In this book, Sands evolves Katherine (Kat) and Philippe’s love story continues. Threaded with a bit of mystery, a solid dose of holiday stress, and a wonderful “hug” of social interaction with friends and family, this novella is an engaging read. Here is the review.blank

Although based in Provence, sand’s novel Drawing Lessons departs from her best-selling “Love in Provence” trilogy and its characters. Set between Toronto, Canada and Arles, France, the book is a love story intertwined with a tragic turn of events. Click here for the book review.blank

In Patricia Sands’ three-part series, turn the pages from one book to the next, enjoying the characters more each time. These novels incorporate Sands’ favourite things about the lifestyle in Provence and on the Côte d’Azur. Her books are set in lovely seaside Antibes, where Sands has spent lots of time.

You won’t want  The Promise of Provence to end.

That problem is solved with the next book in the series, Promises to Keep.blank

By book number three – I Promise You This – readers are wholly engrossed by the romance. However, what we found refreshing in this book is the main character’s self-reflection on the importance of friendship.blank

Gayle Smith Padgett – Retired and living in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence since 2011, even after a decade, Gayle Smith Padgett and her hubby Ralph continue their exploration of the region. In 2019, they embarked on “The Big Birding,” a 12-month project they decided would feed Ralph’s passion for birding and test Gayle’s logistical, writing, and record-keeping skills. Published in September 2021, The Birdwatcher’s Wife is an engaging chronicle of the couple’s quest to reach their goal.

The Birdwatcher's Wife Book by Gayle Smith Padgett