In the spine-tingling seventh book in the series, Verlaque and Bonnet must investigate when a controversial author new to Provence seems to be haunted by more than just his past.
The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche by M.L. Longworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! I read outside, among beautiful garden roses, which made for an amazing reading experience, though I didn’t have any French wine to drink at the time. Shame. The descriptions were charming and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading stories that take place in the beautiful area of Southern France and is looking for a light Spring or Summer read with a bit of a mystery.
The author, M.L. Longworth, wrote excellent descriptions. Everything, ranging from aspects of Parisian lifestyle to culture, settings, people, wine, and food was absolutely lovely and a joy to read and were the main draw in maintaining my interest in the narrative. I also appreciated the integration of the French language and level of detail on quintessential French dining and cuisine.
It’s told in first-person narrative which is my least favorite point of view in most fictional writing that I read, but it was pleasantly carried out. With that said, I did encounter initial slight confusion with some of the character’s names and interjections of real-time dialogue told alongside the story, but there were occasional summarizations and character dialogue inquiries that helped me distinguish between the two and bring me back to the main premise. I am reading out of chronological order within this series though, so that may have been part of the issue that I had.
As far as the main plot is concerned, I felt it was well-thought-out. The plot was lively, playful, and developed nicely at a good pace as each introduction of characters brought on additional intrigue about the mysteries that unfolded. Because the story is a story told within a story, the twists were complimented by the telling of the writing process and theory, which lended to a persuasive tone and interesting social context.
MY FAVORITE LINES:
“Valère laughed. The waiter, a young man with freckles and dark-red hair, walked in and announced the amuse-bouche, ‘Peekytoe crab in a cucumber roll,’ placing dishes in front of each diner, ‘with smoked corn chowder and a yellow-tomato sorbet with balsamic vinegar.”
“Marine had been reading the young Agathe Le Flahec’s file for over an hour when she came upon something interesting. She sat up in her chair and retied her ponytail, something she always did when excited. She then leaned forward, holding the document in her trembling hands.”