Release date: October 1, 2017
at Lake Union Publishing
The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself…
Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas.
Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
lives in Toronto,
but her heart’s other home is the South of France.
An avid traveler, she spends part of each year
on the Côte d’Azur
and occasionally leads groups of women
on tours of the Riviera and Provence.
Her award-winning 2010 debut novel, The Bridge Club,
is a book-group favorite,
and The Promise of Provence, which launched her three-part Love in Provence series
(followed by Promises to Keep and I Promise You This),
was a finalist for a 2013 USA Best Book Award
and a 2014 National Indie Excellence Award,
was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013,
and was a 2015 nominee for a #RBRT Golden Rose award in the category of romance.
Sands also contributes to such Francophile websites as The Good Life France
and Perfectly Provence, and she appears as a public speaker for women’s groups.
Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases.
Buy the book on Amazon.com
Market day proved to be as Juliette and Maurice promised: big, boisterous, and beguiling. The parking lot was already full when they arrived, and people were disappearing into the depths of the market.
Arianna watched locals stopping to chat in the midst of the activity. Woven market baskets, panniers, were set down for a few moments as bises and greetings were exchanged. Laughter and banter floated above the busy scene, the language spoken so quickly it was impossible for her to pick out more than a few words.
She stood by the edge of an olive vendor’s long counter for a few minutes, out of the way of the bodies milling around her.
Staring off at nothing in particular, she was lost in contemplation and memories, reminded of words Faith had said when Arianna was packing for the trip. She couldn’t recall now who her daughter was quoting . . . she chuckled thinking about all the books on positivity Faith slipped to her. But she did remember the sentiment.
“Step out of your comfort zone.” “Become at ease with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” I guess that’s what I’m doing.
A voice interrupted her thoughts. “Bonjour, madame. Vous désirez quelque-chose? You like something? Here! Goûtez! Taste this, if you please!”
The grizzled face of the olive vendor smiled invitingly at her as he stretched an olivewood ladle toward her. A delectable-looking large green olive was stuck on a toothpick.
“Oh, merci, monsieur! Mmmm, c’est delicieux!”
She promptly purchased more of those olives, along with some smaller black ones sprinkled with rosemary and some green ones mixed with oil and walnuts.
The entire display was irresistible. The vendor proudly posed as she captured several photos, once again confounding herself. I’m not a picture taker . . . or maybe I have to put that in the past tense now. It appears I am becoming one . . . .
The colorful, sizable ceramic bowls, each filled with a different selection of olives or tapenade, were too inviting to resist. Multiple shades of brown, green, golden, purple, red, and black olives sat in seasoned variations. Rustic clay jugs and glass flasks with olive oil, cider, or vinegar lined the top of the counter.
Images of still-life paintings filtered through her mind’s eye. Inspiration was everywhere. Arianna could feel the artistic flame deep inside her growing stronger. She was coming alive.
Arianna was surprised as the vendor weighed each olive bag carefully, told her the price, and then added a few more olives to each bag. “Un petit cadeau, ma beauté—a little gift.”
As her visit to the market progressed, she saw that this was quite a common practice among the sellers, adding even more friendliness and camaraderie to the business at hand.
She chuckled to herself, observing as she strolled that some of the bonhomie might have been enhanced by the bottles of rosé or pastis next to a torn fresh baguette that could be seen on a table behind the main counter of many stalls. Sharing a glass or two with a neighbor or regular customer seemed to be the norm.
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