Wednesday 30 September 2015

Reviewed: French Kisses by Jan Ellis

French Kisses was published by Endeavour Press on December 10, 2013.

After reading An Unexpected Affair and A Summer of Surprises earlier this year, I was looking forward to reading another Jan Ellis book, especially since we get to meet some familiar characters again. French Kisses was another lovely, relaxing read with a setting ideal to escape into and a light-hearted story there to put a smile on your face for a few hours. I really love the way Jan builds up a story. Although the story starts off slowly, the opening serves its purpose as we’re introduced to Rachel – straight away able to see her mindset and where she’s at. After seeing her marriage to Michael (slimy, irritating Michael…) end, she still thinks and talks about him quite a bit though not much of that is good. We can tell that she still does have feelings for him, regardless of how much she would want to deny that. This drew me into the story well as I wanted to read on, especially hoping she wouldn’t end up back with her husband…

Rachel lives in a small town in France with her children and, rather than moving back to England, she goes with the idea of turning her home into a guest house. I loved this idea and I loved reading all the little details and things that needed to be done to make the guest house. Everything was made to feel so cosy and homely and a relaxing guest house in a quiet but beautiful French town sounds like a pretty perfect escape to me. I wanted to visit and meet some of the eccentric characters for myself, admire some of Rachel’s artwork and spend some time exploring rural France. A guest house seemed a good idea for Rachel personally as it could bring the possibility of her meeting new people and taking her mind off Michael for a bit. Also, setting up the guest house really expressed that small town feel of how everybody knows each other, and their business, but they were all there to help Rachel set things up – she had a lovely set of friends who were caring and considerate and able to lift her spirits.

Rachel was such an easy to like character. I liked how she didn’t take herself too seriously – she always allowed herself to laugh at the situations she put herself in and it made a refreshing change to have a main character who didn’t overthink things and drive me nuts with their constant downers and indecisiveness. Being British, and an artist, it would have been the simple thing to make her really stereotypical because both do come with a stereotypical image. She did have a mix of both but it didn’t feel obvious or forced, just natural. I loved some of the words she would come out with like buggeration - (I thought I was the only person who said that!) – and really she was just an easy character to root for.

I liked the potential love interests we met along the way in French Kisses. Including Michael, there were three maybes and though I won’t give it away, I definitely had a clear favourite. I laughed a lot at Rachel’s approach to romance and picking the right man. Other characters that definitely need a mention are Connie and Harold, an old couple I completely fell for when reading Jan’s other books. They need a book of their own, please, Jan!

Overall, I loved this book. It had a great mix of romance and humour with a mixture of characters from the eccentric to the more laid back. Each of them were developed well. There wasn’t really much to dislike – it was a one-sitting kind of read, highly uplifting and fun to read. It’s a realistic contemporary romance novel rather than a swoonworthy one, which isn’t a bad thing, as I love how genuine Jan’s writing is. My only complaint is the ending which came too quickly. Although there probably wasn’t anywhere further the plot could have been taken, French Kisses’ ending was so abrupt, it felt like the final chapter had been cut out and lost somewhere. Because I’d been really involved and interested in Rachel’s story, I wanted just that little bit more to make it feel like a more complete and satisfying end. But the rest of this novel was a joy to read.

A light, feel-good romance - with a beautiful setting and quick wit throughout


  1. Excellent review, Sophie! Connie and Harold have a lot of fans, so I need to get my thinking cap on and write a story for them. There's plenty of material . . . 💐

    1. You do! They've got such a great history - there's so much to tell, there.

  2. Hi Sophie, looks like a fab book! It would be great if you added your review to the Books You Loved: October collection over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers


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