INVITATION TO PROVENCE by Elizabeth Adler

INVITATION TO PROVENCE

KIRKUS REVIEW

Setting: the south of France. Plot: see quiz below.

(A) Lonely woman finds passion amidst the lavender. (B) Matriarch plans to reunite her scattered family. (C) Nice tycoon with own jet longs for real love. (D) Colorful villagers drink wine, raise tasty food, speak in standard high-school French for the benefit of American characters who might not understand Provencal dialect. (E) All of the above. (Answer: not surprisingly, E.) Yes, it’s another sun-drenched, corny-as-can-be tale from the indefatigable Adler (Summer in Tuscany, 2002, etc.). Let’s begin . . . Still beautiful but feeling her years, Rafaella Marten casts a rueful glance at her reflection in the gilt-framed mirror—why, she is old! And she’s alone, with no one but Haigh, her equally venerable butler, to care whether she lives or dies. Time to gather her far-flung descendants from every corner of the globe and see what happens. For the walls of Château des Roses Sauvage did once ring with children’s merry laughter, the gnarled old vines bore juicy grapes, love was in the air—though Rafaella’s deepest passion wasn’t for her much older, haute bourgeois husband—and every cliché in the book was new, so very new. Surely her family and friends will gather once more—from Shanghai, the Upper East Side, California. . . . Indeed they will, beginning with Franny Marten, a Santa Monica pet-care specialist who seems to have obtained her veterinary degree from a medical school (one of many howlers). Franny is wowed by widower Jake, the handsome master of a German shepherd she’s treated, owner of an international security company and of a Gulfstream (a few years old, as he points out modestly). Hey, are she and Jake related? No, but everyone else seems to be. And when they all get to Provence, will many, many family secrets be revealed in dull but dizzying complexity? Love is in the air again—c’est la vie. Or la guerre.

Talky, contrived, sure to please the fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-30811-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2004




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