Reviewer: Nicola Smith – Short Book and Scribes

Publisher:  Corgi     28th October 2021

ISBN‏ : ‎ 978-0552176873     PB

I’ve just closed Celebrations at the Chateau with a smile on my face and a satisfied ‘ah’. Jo Thomas always creates the most wonderful blend of travel fiction and foodie delights.

This book begins right at the moment Fliss and her two sisters, Nellie and Lizzie, first see the chateau that they have just inherited from their grandfather, one they knew nothing about. It’s not the blessing they think it is though and won’t solve all their money problems as there’s a lot more to this bequest than meets the eye. Fliss decides to try her hand at turning it into a B&B but comes up against some opposition from Jacques, the mayor of the town and her new next-door neighbour.

This is such a gorgeous read. I once called Jo Thomas a purveyor of dreams and that is exactly what she does with her fiction, she brings dreams to life through her words. Who wouldn’t fancy living in a chateau in France, close to a village where you can pick up a fresh baguette, with lovely grounds to stroll through and hunky Jacques next door? Ok, not everything is plain sailing and the chateau has its problems, but it still feels like you get to live the dream vicariously.

This is feel-good fiction at its best. I know I’m in safe hands when I pick up a Jo Thomas book. I was thoroughly transported to Normandy, with the aroma on the air of the cheese and apples that are such a staple for the characters. There’s a really strong sense of camaraderie too, both between Fliss and her family and between her and her new neighbours and, oh yes, the sitting tenant of the chateau! Add in an uplifting romance and Celebrations at the Chateau is the perfect read. I loved it.