BOOKS

France - - Reviews Five Minutes With... -

The Lit­tle Bre­ton Bistro Nina Ge­orge, Aba­cus, £12.99 The au­thor of The Lit­tle Paris Book­shop re­turns to a French set­ting for her lat­est heart-warm­ing tale of ro­mance and ad­ven­ture. In a des­per­ate at­tempt to es­cape a love­less mar­riage, Mar­i­anne Mess­man throws her­self off the Pont Neuf into the River Seine. A home­less man pre­vents her from drown­ing, and, while re­cov­er­ing in hospi­tal, she finds a paint­ing of the tiny port of Ker­druc in Brittany. Mar­i­anne goes there, de­ter­mined to end her own life; in­stead, she meets some colour­ful char­ac­ters based at a sea­side bistro who be­come her new fam­ily and among whom she will find love. When her hus­band tries to en­tice Mar­i­anne back to her old life, she must de­cide whether to take a leap into the un­known in­stead.

Stu­dio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence Mar­tin Bai­ley, Frances Lin­coln, £25 From arts jour­nal­ist and Van Gogh spe­cial­ist Mar­tin Bai­ley comes a beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated book fo­cus­ing on the Dutch-born artist’s 15-month stay in Ar­les, where he pro­duced some of his great­est paint­ings. The book presents new in­for­ma­tion and con­tains around 20 pre­vi­ously un­pub­lished im­ages. Chap­ters are or­gan­ised ac­cord­ing to themes, such as seas­capes, the Rhône and its canals, flow­ers and por­traits of friends. Bai­ley also ex­am­ines Van Gogh’s tu­mul­tuous col­lab­o­ra­tion with Paul Gau­guin and its tragic con­clu­sion, and re­veals lit­tle-known de­tails of his iconic paint­ing The Bed­room.

When Will We Ever Learn? Nick Matthews, Austin Ma­cauley, £11.99 In this col­lec­tion of poetry, Nick Matthews re­flects upon the sac­ri­fice made by young men dur­ing World War I and the in­jus­tice and vi­o­lence of con­flict. The po­ems blend bru­tal im­agery with more po­etic and bu­colic sec­tions, and are ac­com­pa­nied by pho­to­graphs of the Somme taken by Nick, as well as art­works and im­ages by artists Bob Mar­tin and Ju­lia Bax­ter. The book is ded­i­cated to Nick’s great-un­cle, Pri­vate Al­bert T. Bushell, who was killed af­ter just two days on the Western Front, which makes the col­lec­tion all the more touch­ing.

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