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Today I'm reviewing The Frenchman by Lise McClendon. Apparently this is one of a series of books about five sisters, called Bennett Sisters Mystery. I haven't read any of the others, but this one stands alone without too much requirement for backstory.
This novel did a good job pulling me into the life of Merle Bennett as she left her job as a lawyer and traveled with her teenage son to France where she owns a house inherited from her late husband. She also has a romance with a Frenchman, Pascal, apparently from a previous novel.
I enjoyed the writing and the story as Merle tried to create a home in the Dordogne region of France, dealing with vandalism and attempting to connect with standoffish neighbors. When Merle's son goes back to the U.S. to begin college and Pascal disappears while investigating an undercover wine sting, she is left alone to figure out how to live in a new culture.
Throughout the first half, there wasn't really a mystery, which is fine by me, but it did lack in tension to make me wonder what would happen or what was at stake.
But the tension picked up in the second half and had me turning pages (metaphorically since I read it on Kindle).
I'll have to admit that the book has a more down-to-earth view of France and living life in France as an American transplant than many fictional books set there. It put a little damper on my dreams, but even in the midst of crisis, there was good food and wine.
This book was a pleasant escape with some mystery thrown in to the second half. Definitely worth a read.
Lise McClendon on Tour September 8-21 with
The Frenchman(mystery) Release date: September 8, 2017 at Thalia Press 278 pages
In this 5th installment of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries (beginning with Blackbird Fly), attorney Merle Bennett goes to France for an extended stay to drink in the essence of ‘la France Profonde’ and write her own novel. But the countryside is not as tranquil as she hoped. A missing Frenchman, a sinister one, an elderly one, a thieving one, and a vandalizing one: all conspire to turn Merle’s sojourn of reflection into a nightmare of worry. Where is Pascal, her French boyfriend? Who is the man with the terrible scar? Why is someone spray-painting her little stone house in the Dordogne? And will her novel about the French Revolution – snippets of which are included – give her a soupçon of delight or a frisson of danger?
Works fine as a stand-alone
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lise McClendon is the author of fifteen novels of mystery, suspense, and general mayhem plus short stories. Her bestselling Bennett Sisters mystery series began with ‘Blackbird Fly.’ She also writes thrillers as Rory Tate, the latest of which is ‘PLAN X.’ Her short story is included in this fall’s noir anthology, ‘The Obama Inheritance.’ She lives in Montana.
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