This is an irresistible novel, with wonderful characters to care for, mostly set in a tiny French coastal village. It has an ensemble cast of six old friends, plus various add-ons in the form of children, sisters and partners, meeting up to celebrate Max’s 40th birthday. A successful musician, he is at the height of his career, but he is tiring of the lonely lifestyle of touring. He wants to confess his love for his best friend Helen over the weekend, but will she feel like he does?
Meanwhile, Juliette, Max’s housekeeper, is there to make sure all goes well for the celebrations, and her character infuses the novel with the smells and tastes of fabulous food that will leave your mouth watering. She has her own story of love and loss that makes her one of the central characters. An outsider to the old friends she is quickly drawn into their group. Of the old friends, one couple is happily together, but facing a new crisis. Another couple were together years ago but are now with other people – one long-married in a relationship that isn’t working, the other in a new relationship with someone much younger. There are long buried undercurrents that come to the surface over the weekend, with many of the characters at a crossroads in their lives. The weekend will prove to be the start of a new beginning for many of them.
A French Wedding is a novel of love, life, food, family and old friendships that is a delight to read. As for the title? The book opens with an anonymous couple getting married – but it is only at the end of the book you discover who, out of all the possible candidates, is tying the knot, which provides an intriguing whodunnit element to the novel. I would highly recommend this beautifully written work of fiction, and I look forward to more stories from this talented novelist.