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  • Lynne Shelby

Holiday Reading #2 - Marie Laval - A Spell in Provence

Which books do writers read on holiday?

Today I'm talking to author Marie Laval about the books she'll be reading, and her own summer book 'A Spell in Provence.'

When an ancient spell weaves its dark magic in the hills of Provence...

With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château. As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.

Me: Welcome, Marie. What are your holiday plans for this year?

Marie: This year I'm going to spend some time in France with two of my children and we will stay at my sister's holiday house near Vichy, in the Massif Central. My sister and her friend are renovating a very old and a little rundown cottage, and I plan to relax in their garden and enjoy the peace and quiet. Apparently the house is in the middle of nowhere, and the only neighbours are cows and donkeys...and an Englishman called Justin who lives a self-sufficient lifestyle in his small hold down the road and terrorises passers-by with his flock of geese! One of the highlights of the year is the Potato Festival when people are allowed into a huge field to dig up as many potatoes they can carry in a bag. I believe the area is breathtakingly beautiful, with small villages and chateaux dotted around. I am really looking forward to spending time with my sister whom I haven't seen for two years, and I hope to come back with great ideas of plots and settings for future novels...I will also spend a few days in Lyon and hopefully see friends. Lyon is my hometown and it's always a joy to return and stroll along the Quais de Saône and in the 'Vieux Lyon' - the medieval and Renaissance part of the city. We have two rivers in Lyon - the Saône and the Rhône (although some people say we have three, the third being Beaujolais wine!), which meet at the Southern tip of the city. Being French, one of my favourite occupation is of course to sit at the terrace of a café and watch the world go by!

Me: Which books will you be taking with you?

Marie: It's going to be a mixture of novels and research material for me this summer, Lynne. I am currently writing a novel set in the world of ancient manuscripts and Paris auction houses, and I have found a gem of a book by renown palaeontologist Christopher de Hamel which is called 'Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts' and which I have read already a few months ago, but now need to return to in order to make notes. I will also be reading 'In a Dark Wood Wandering' by Dutch author Hella S. Hasse which is set in the French Court during the Hundred Years War. Lastly I have just bought 'Sleeper's Castle' by Barbara Erskine and 'The French Lesson' by Hallie Rubenhold, and I am very much looking forward to reading them!

Me: What is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Marie: What a tricky question.. I don't really have a favourite place, but I know what makes a great holiday for me: my family, a cottage in the seaside, sunny afternoons and long walks on the beach, a visit to a few stately homes and picturesque villages, and delicious meals in country pubs. My best holidays so far have been in Devon and Northumberland, and in the South of France, but I dream of travelling to the far North of Scotland, where I believe the beaches are magnificent, and which was the setting of my historical romance trilogy 'Dancing for the Devil'.

Me: Thank you, Marie, I hope you have a wonderful summer. I'm looking forward to reading 'A Spell in Provence.'

Marie: Thank you very much for inviting me to your blog, Lynne.

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie moved to Lancashire in England a few years ago. She now works as a teacher, and in her spare time she loves dreaming up romantic stories and irresistible heroes. She writes both contemporary and historical romance, and her novels - A SPELL IN PROVENCE, ANGEL HEART, THE LION'S EMBRACE and The DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy are published by Áccent Press.

You can purchase A Spell in Provence at:

You can find Marie at


Twitter: @MarieLavel1


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