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The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted
     

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted

3.9 34
by Bridget Asher
 

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“Every good love story has another love hiding within it.”
 
Brokenhearted and still mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbott, her obsessive-compulsive seven-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to the small village of Puyloubier in the south of France, where a crumbling stone house may be

Overview

“Every good love story has another love hiding within it.”
 
Brokenhearted and still mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbott, her obsessive-compulsive seven-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to the small village of Puyloubier in the south of France, where a crumbling stone house may be responsible for mending hearts since before World War II.

There, Charlotte confesses a shocking secret, and Heidi learns the truth about her mother’s “lost summer” when Heidi was a child. As three generations collide with one another, with the neighbor who seems to know all of their family skeletons, and with an enigmatic Frenchman, Heidi, Charlotte, and Abbot journey through love, loss, and healing amid the vineyards, warm winds and delicious food of Provence. Can the magic of the house heal Heidi’s heart, too?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fans of Under the Tuscan Sun will adore this impossibly romantic read."—People magazine

“Unabashedly romantic and unafraid of melancholy, Asher’s book is a real charmer about a Provencal house that casts spells over the lovelorn.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
"Readers who enjoy...Lolly Winston’s Good Grief and Jane Green’s The Beach House or travel-induced transformation books like Frances Mayes’s Under the Tuscan Sun and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love will find common themes in Asher’s engaging third novel...and become quickly invested in the lives of the deftly drawn characters."—Library Journal

"A beautiful, tender book about love and loss that will touch your heart...Verdict: five-star weepie."—Herald Sun (AU)

"Like a dip in a cool pool, Bridget Asher’s The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted is a refreshing escape."—Campus Circle

“An enchantment of a book, woven out of Bridget Asher’s tenderness toward her characters, her love of the French countryside, and a gentle faith in possibilities. It held me spellbound from the first word to the last, when I put it aside with a sigh of both regret and deepest satisfaction….I madly, madly, madly loved this book!
—BARBARA O’NEAL, author of How to Bake a Perfect Life

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted will have you canceling dinner plans, staying up all hours and flat-out ignoring your family, just so you can keep reading...An absorbing, beautifully written tale about life, death, love, food, and the magic of new possibilities.”
—J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN, author of Commencement and Maine

"[A] great read...This book was difficult to put down."—The Pilot (NC)

"Will touch readers long after the last page is read. The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted would make an excellent book discussion pick or a perfect choice for a book to read during spring break."—Rundpinne

"I found myself racing through this novel, gulping it down and immersing myself in its comforting words. Julianna Baggott writes from the heart. Her prose is deeply felt and honest. I loved her descriptions of the French countryside, her understanding of her characters, and the way she was able to merge the stories of multiple characters into a cohesive and compelling novel."—Caribousmom

"An amazing story...The characters drew me into a world of love, tenderness and melancholy in such a way that when I finished the story, I kept looking for more...I don’t think that I will ever think about life, love and one’s heritage the same way again."—Night Owl Reviews

"Perfect for curling up with on a rainy night or savoring with a cup of tea beside you."—Northside (Australia)

"A thoroughly delightful, emotionally satisfying story...[Asher] skillfully evokes the emotions her characters are feeling in her readers...[including] quite possibly one of the most romantic scenes ever committed to the printed page...The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted gets my highest recommendation. It is easily one of the best books I have read so far in 2011."—Colloquium

"Love and its sweet secrets bloom gloriously in The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted. Bridget Asher offers up a sumptuous exploration of how grief, love, and joy, when stirred just right, ferry us home to the people and places we most cherish. Asher’s novel brims with wisdom and laughter, teaching us anew that hope resides in unexpected places: a charred box of beloved recipes, a troubled child’s earthy wisdom, an ailing house in need of an artful hand, a mother who listens to a silent mountain, and a kiss that unlocks the puzzle of what forever truly means.”
—CONNIE MAY FOWLER, author of How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly and Before Women Had Wings

“I enjoyed The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted so much—it's well written, beautifully characterized, extremely atmospheric and at times very touching—an enchanting and compelling tale.
—ISABEL WOLFF, author of A Vintage Affair

"Bridget Asher has exceeded [Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes]...Blend[s] true romance with...astute observation."—Free Lance-Star

"A story full of hope, promise, and the love one feels for someone even after they are gone. It’s about families finding each other, about secrets being told, and about coming home again...A tender-hearted love story."—Lori's Reading Corner

"Home, hearth and heartbreak are the keynotes of Asher's latest. She delicately weaves a tale of love and loss with undying devotion to family and the secrets they keep...Beautiful."—Romantic Times

"Quickly has you saying ooh la la...perfect for that beach read."—Ellen Firer, director, Merrick Library

"Every now and again, a book just grabs you and won’t let go. You pop open the cover and start to read, getting more excited with each written word. And you can’t stop reading. (Not for anything! Not even reality TV—or anyone—even the husbands.) Which is exactly what happened when we read The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted. It's the perfect blend of romance, humor and love."—Chick Lit is Not Dead

"A tearjerker of a novel for both foodies and fans of tightly knit family stories."—Booklist

"Charming and full of hope. For me, this novel is what I class a comfort read. I started it and was immediately taken by the story and just couldn't put it down."—Peeking Between the Pages

"An easy and enjoyable read, perfect for those dreary winter days when scenes of a Provencal summer are most welcome."—Indaily

"Engaging and hard to resist...If you like stories about characters that change and triumph with flawed but ultimately strong female characters, this is for you!"—Fresh Fiction

"The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted is a charming and sweet novel, full of wonderful characters and an amazing setting. It’s perfect escapist fare, great for a quiet and cozy afternoon when a reader wants to be transported to somewhere else entirely." —S. Krishna's Books

Library Journal
After nearly two years of mourning her late husband, Heidi is still unable to function, and her eight-year-old son, Abbott, has become a germ-phobic obsessive-compulsive. Heidi's mother and her sister, Elysius, devise a plan they hope will help Heidi move on with her life as well as rid Elysius of her problem teenage stepdaughter for a few weeks—Heidi, Abbott, and Charlotte must travel to the French countryside to care for the family's old house. Things do not go well for the trio, as their belongings are stolen before they can make it to the house. Enter Julien, the handsome Frenchman whom Heidi has known since her childhood summer vacations in France; he is also suffering a heartbreak owing to the recent breakup of his marriage—and it starts to look like things might get better for Heidi. But not before Charlotte is revealed to be pregnant, and her eccentric baby daddy shows up unannounced. VERDICT Readers who enjoy widow lit like Lolly Winston's Good Grief and Jane Green's The Beach House or travel-induced transformation books like Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love will find common themes in Asher's (pen name of Julianna Baggott) engaging third novel after My Husband's Sweethearts and The Pretend Wife and become quickly invested in the lives of the deftly drawn characters. [Library marketing.]—Karen Core, Detroit P.L.
Kirkus Reviews

In an affecting story about loss, a young widow goes to Provence to renovate her family's home—and hopefully fix her heart.

Young Heidi begins her story with a simple statement: "Grief is a love story told backward." Heidi's life with eight-year-old son Abbot has become a memory game to keep her husband Henry alive, and to keep real life—that is a world in which Henry no longer exists—at bay. He died in a car accident a few years ago, and since then Abbot has developed obsessive-compulsive tics and Heidi has all but given up, handing over her bakery to an assistant. Henry and Heidi's bittersweet story unfolds as Heidi is forced into action, even if it's only for a few weeks in the summer. There is a house in Provence that has belonged to Heidi's family for generations—a house that is steeped in stories of romance and coincidence. Heidi and her older sister Elysius spent childhood summers there with their mother. Now a fire has gutted the kitchen and it has been decided that for her own good, Heidi should fix it. She packs up Abbot, Elysius' 16-year-old step-daughter Charlotte, and enough Henry memories to last six weeks. Heidi, Abbot and Charlotte develop a lazy routine and soon Abbot is washing his hands less, Charlotte scowls less, and Heidi is allowing memories of Henry to rest a little. Next to their house is the home of longtime family friend Véronique and her visiting wayward son Julien (Heidi remembers him as a wayward child too). Just as Heidi is beginning to step into the sunshine, Charlotte's boyfriend arrives and announces they're pregnant, Abbot runs away as he spies the budding affection between Heidi and Julien, and Heidi's mother and sister fly over to straighten everybody out.

Unabashedly romantic and unafraid of melancholy, Asher's book is a real charmer about a Provencal house that casts spells over the lovelorn.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385343916
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/29/2011
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
859,910
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Bridget Asher is the author of My Husband's Sweethearts and The Pretend Wife. She lives on the Florida panhandle but is always happy to do research in Provence.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An elegant writer with good play of words a well as a story that comes full circle as a young widow moves through grieving and ultimately learns to lean on family and discover hidden strengths. I couldnt put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful characters. Well developed story.
AT_STL More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It was somewhat predictable, but the images presented keep you enthralled...the food, the scenes, the relationships. It started slow for me, so hang in there.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
In the wake of her husband's death, Heidi and her 8 yr old son Abbot are lost. Struggling to get through an ordinary day, the offer of a change of scenery seems like just what they need. Heidi's mother quickly arranges for them to spend the summer in Provence, fixing up an old family home, and for them to take the inconvenient stepchild, 16 yr old Charlotte with them. It becomes a summer of healing where secrets past and present are revealed and all three of the travelers discover hidden sources of strength. A nice story with a lovely setting and some delicious food descriptions. Provence Cure strays into the predictible a bit too often to be a great story and the characters were all a little bland. Still, its hard to object too much to the gorgeous French countryside, handsome and heartbroken Frenchmen, and plucky heroines finding their own voices. The audio version is narrated by Kate Reading. Kate Reading! That's reason enough to give it a try. Her precise, clipped, and somehow dreamy reading give Heidi's grief and confusion the perfect expression.
gaylelin More than 1 year ago
A beautiful book that reminds me of Under the Tuscan Sun because a house is an important character. In this book, the house appears to be enchanted. Love happens there. This writer writes bereavement as though she has been there. A young widow goes back to the house in Provence where she spent her summers as a child. She's accompanied by her young son who has become obsessive/compulsive since his dad's death, and her sister's teenage step-daughter who has major issues of her own. The house seems to work its magic once again and you don't want to miss watching it unfold.
ILgirl07 More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed Bridget Asher's other books and enjoyed this one as well. Loved the beautiful descriptions of the French countryside and the family togetherness this book evoked. Love will set you free if you let it. Good summer read.
jpeb More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book while I was reading it but by the end was finding it all a little to soap opera when I previously found it kind of modern day Jane Austen..ish. Heidi was just a little too wonderful and extremely self involved. Of course the whole story is about her but its really all about her at all times. She suffers the loss, her mothers story revolves around her, she finds love again so easily, and her niece prefers her to her sister. I also didn't care for the comment about America having made so many mistakes but not the wonderful French! Even the robbery was not committed by french folk but German tourists. Heidi never seems to really acknowledge what a privileged life she has lead to have the unbelievable support of a family that has given her all of this time to continue to live her life of grief and self absorption. Well written, just not sure I like Heidi so much now that I've finished.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel has been compared to Eat, Pray, Love, a memoir that I absolutely hated. Thankfully for The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, this novel was everything that Eat, Pray, Love wasn't. It had characters that I cared about and a plot that actually moved. By the end of the book I wasn't happy it was over; I was sad there weren't more pages to read. Two years after her husbands tragic death, Heidi is still struggling to come to terms with it. Then, when her family's home in southern France is damaged in a kitchen fire, her mother convinces her to take her young son and jaded-with-life niece to France to begin repairs and renovations. There Heidi will learn more about herself and her relationship with her deceased husband, her son will grow, and her niece will harbor a life-changing secret that will bring the family together in a way they've never been together before. Heidi's character was not selfish. It would only be natural for her to take on a sense of "woe is me" because her husband was gone, but she was also focused on her son, whom she loved with all her heart. The characters in this novel are real, believable and deep. The scenery is gorgeous and themes throughout the novel are woven together. It was complex and beautiful.
StephanieCowell More than 1 year ago
What a tender and enchanting novel, simply full of love! Heidi is still mourning the tragic death of her adored husband in a car crash two years before; she thinks she sees him everywhere, but it is never him. Heidi's seven-year-old son also has never stopped missing his father. There is, however, an old house in Provence in southern France which had been in the family for generations and which supposedly can create emotional healing and bring love to those who care for it and live within its walls. Heidi's mother sends her and the boy there, along with her sister's recalcitrant adolescent stepdaughter. In spite of an inauspicious beginning, Heidi does find an enchantment in the house nestled against the mountains which subtly begins to bring new life to all of them. To Heidi it brings something very special for she finds that the little boy next door with whom she played as a child is now a sensitive, caring and handsome man with his own losses in need of healing. THE PROVENCE CURE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED is beautifully and wisely written, wrapping its handful of characters in such love that surely the restorative and joyful qualities of the house with all its legends will reach out from the page and also draw the reader lovingly inside. The novel is dedicated to the reader. It is really a gift to anyone who finds herself within its pages. I am the author of CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Henry died two years ago in a car accident. His wife Heidi has failed to move on as she lives for his memory and to keep germy reality away from touching her and their eight years old son Abbott. She even stopped making her bakery a success. Heidi's mother and her sister Elysius are worried about Heidi and what her grief is doing to Abbott. They decide that Heidi and Abbot accompanied by Elysius' troubled teenage stepdaughter Charlotte will go to the family house in rustic Puyloubier in Provence, France to oversee the fixing up of the kitchen ruined by a fire. Although they object, the trio heads to the estate only to lose all their belongings. However when Julien, whose marriage has just ended, and Heidi meet for the first since they were children, they are attracted to each other. However, their mutual desire leads to Abbott running away, sixteen years old Charlotte announcing she is pregnant, and what happened the summer mom ran away to Provence. This is an entertaining family melodrama starring a wonderful protagonist who wants to be left alone in her wallowing and a strong cast who either share in her miserable outlook or foster an intervention on her. Melancholy and nostalgic, fans will agree with mom that the house in Puyloubier possesses the "logical cure for the brokenhearted." Harriet Klausner
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mjmutch More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed everything about this book, was sorry when it was over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this sort of generational love story. Widowed too soon,Heidi and her son travel to Provence to oversee the repairs of her family homestead. She learns to "practice joy" and in doing so begins to listen to herself over the clamouring ache of loss. A well written book and a few Provencial recipies are a great addition at the end
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