Indulge your love of France a little further with our pick of the best new reads.
A Paris Year Janice Macleod, St Martin’s Griffin, £19.99
Following the success of her memoir Paris Letters, Canadian author and artist Janice Macleod stays in the City of Light with this illustrated journal. Published in the form of a diary (the typeface has a handwritten design), the book is a detailed and colourful ode to one of the world’s most romantic cities. Humorous anecdotes cover everything from tasting different macarons on the day in March when French people celebrate this sweet treat, to the visa office administrators’ love of the words ‘ pas possible’ (‘not possible’). Personal observations are underpinned by facts about famous names in Parisian history and enhanced by evocative photographs and the author’s own beautiful illustrations.
Three Days and a Life Pierre Lemaitre, Maclehose Press, £14.99
The Prix Goncourt- winning writer Pierre Lemaitre has recently gained an international audience for his grisly noir thrillers featuring detective Camille Verhoeven, but his latest work marks a distinct change of pace. Although still involving a crime, the plot cuts back on the gore to focus on the psychological effects of a violent act. The three days of the title occur on the eve of the millennium, in an out-ofthe-way French town, where 12-year-old Antoine lives with his mother. The killing of his neighbours’ dog and the disappearance of their young son are inextricably linked, and Antoine must wrestle with the part he played. Eleven years later, he returns home, when old secrets bubble to the surface. The author, a former literature teacher, has produced a taut character study and a vivid portrayal of an isolated community.
The Vineyard in Alsace Julie Stock, Clued Up Publishing, £8.99
London-based Fran leaves her cheating fiancé and returns home to Alsace, having applied for a job on a wine estate. At the interview, she discovers that the owner, Didier, just happens to be a former lover, who is now married but estranged from his wife. Working together rekindles old feelings, and gives them a second chance of happiness. Self-published author Julie Stock’s ‘will they, won’t they’ narrative is told from both Fran and Didier’s point of view; the result is a light romantic read featuring characters who are easy to warm to, set against harvest time in this picturesque wine-making region.