Sunday 8 March 2015

Review ~ You Had Me at Bonjour by Jennifer Bohnet.

Title: You Had Me at Bonjour.
Author: Jennifer Bohnet.
Publisher: Carina UK.
Genre: Chick Lit.
Publication Date: August 25, 2014.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

If you’d asked Jessica a year ago, she would have told you that her life was pretty near perfect. But one year – and one very messy divorce – later, she’s not so sure. Which is how she found herself boarding a plane to the south of France, determined to put her past behind her… preferably via some deliciously chilled rosé.

Meeting a new man was never part of the plan. Yet when she meets Nino, her new neighbour’s impossibly sexy nephew, steering clear of romance seems easier said than done. Suddenly, Jessica finds herself right back where she started: with her heart on the line. But now she’s made a new start, perhaps it’s time for Jessica to throw caution to the wind, take a few risks… and learn to regrette rien!

You Had Me at Bonjour is the story of Jessica, who after a divorce from the cheating love of her life Ben, decides to take a gap year in France. Running away or trying to take control of her life – personally, I thought Jessica was brave to take a year out in France to try and get her life together and leave her problematic past behind her. Whether it would work would be left for us to discover… I really enjoyed this book for it’s a light, easy read. Nothing surprising really happens but You Had Me at Bonjour is a lovely escape from reality for a few hours.

The book is told in a kind of diary format – actually being an unpublished blog which Jessica intends on keeping up for the whole year as a new year’s resolution. It’s quite a short book so I was interested to see how a year’s worth of events would be told but the style of being diary entries helped because things could be told quite snappily and briefly yet not feel rushed. I’m starting to like books told in diary format a lot more but I still always find myself craving a bit more detail. I loved the author’s descriptions of some of the French culture – the Monaco Grand Prix in particular was described so effortlessly well, I felt like I was there too (and as a big F1 fan, I loved that it was made so easy to imagine). The author really showed that she could create a strong picture of settings and events and so I guess that’s why at times I wanted to see more detail and more colour, even though it probably wouldn’t lend to the format the book was written in.

You Had Me at Bonjour is different to a lot of other books in this style because the main character Jessica is actually a woman in her forties. The diary gives her the platform to be whiney and sometimes a bit bitchy too but I did connect with her character as I often do with characters that choose to work on improving their lives rather than burying their heads in the sand. Anyway, she was in no way as whiney as her daughter Katie who tended to act like she was about five years old. There’s a side story in this book with Katie, who decides she doesn’t want to live with her dad’s new woman and child on the way so chooses to run away from home. I kind of rolled my eyes at her a little bit and I had to smile at how after a little bit of time chasing, neither parent really seemed all that concerned that she’d disappeared. In my mind they were probably thankful for a bit of peace and quiet.

For Jessica herself, she is seeing the appeal of France – not least with the supposedly gorgeous Nino. She was drawn to him straight away but there are obstacles in the way and she doesn’t want to do a Samantha (the woman now shacked up with her ex-husband) and steal someone else’s man. I liked the romance element but if I’m honest, I found myself more interested in some of the other characters like Eliosa and Jamie. All the characters were really well written and all quite different too. Making new friends could surely, you’d think, only help Jessica in rebuilding her life and You Had Me at Bonjour may be easy to predict but it is a satisfying read nonetheless.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. Mmm I wonder if I could go to Paris if I divorce Greg. Only a joke but getting to that age. Another great review.


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