Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands

Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands returns to the blog today with her new woman’s fiction title, set in the south of France. Please read on for my review and excerpt, and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could be one of two winners to receive a paperback copy of the title.  But first

Drawing Lessons

Patricia Sands instantly brings the reader into Arianna’s story, an older woman with a wonderful marriage and family, and a terrible dilemma. Her beloved husband has been slowly slipping away from her with a diagnosis of dementia. As many of her generation did, perhaps with not as much success, her own life has been enmeshed in her love for him, their love for one another, and their family. She’s truly struggling with her own what now moments, and the guilt that comes with her actually wondering what will happen after Ben is no longer with her. How will she exist? Who will she be after years of beloved wife and mother? Can she redefine herself, accounting for the what was in this new what is?

An artist’s retreat to Arles, in the Provence region of France is a gift from her family: the place that inspired so much of Van Gogh’s work just might allow her to relax and find some peace, while rediscovering her artistic side. And here is where the magic of place, and the singular purpose of ‘seeing’ what is around you, even when everything else in your ‘real life’ is in tumult takes hold. Arianna finds herself relaxing and hopeful, two unknowns in her recent past, as the food, the landscape and even the other artists’ quiet friendships and encouragement allow those first tentative steps to rediscovering her own potential purpose in life.

Sands does so many things right in this book: Arianna is compelling and easy to relate to as she shares her confusion, her guilt and the loss. It’s easy to imagine (even if one hasn’t experienced it) the soul-deep despair while watching the person you know best start to forget you, your special moments, and even your name. As the magic of Provence work around, and then finally on her as she starts to lose herself in the process, and her thoughts are not consumed with what will happen, as she learns to see the now: drawing inspiration from the landscape as interest and hope start to grow for her. Sands brings the place, scents, tastes and magic of Provence to your fingertips, spurring you on for your own sojurn to the south of France.

Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands

Title: Drawing Lessons
Author: Patricia Sands
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Setting: France
Published by: Lake Union Publishing
ISBN: 1542045878
Published on: October 1st 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 352
Audio Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Downpour IndieBound Book Depository Audible
See this Title on Goodreads

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.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.



They walked down the pathway toward the Romanesque two-story square steeple rising above the trees. Arianna was disappointed that the massive flower beds were between seasonal bloomings.

She could imagine the color and fragrance they would add to the setting, although she felt some were modern additions to the vast property. It had been a surprise when Juliette informed them the newer building was still an active health institution.

How many patients find interest in knowing Vincent himself was a patient? I wonder if art therapy is offered here? In many ways, it’s art therapy that is helping me now, the life-affirming pleasure of making art.

A tour of the premises did not take long. One room was a reproduction of Vincent’s room, with a window overlooking a wheat field like ones he had studied and painted. There was lavender in one area now, and Arianna wondered if that had been added later.

Here and there a lone scarlet poppy stood out. Just to remind me, Arianna was certain.

She spent quite a long time at the window, consumed by her thoughts.

Bertram came back upstairs in search of her after the others had left.

“Are you all right?” he asked, slightly out of breath. “I suddenly noticed you were missing.”

“Oh, Bertie, I am so caught up with the ghost of this man. He has come alive in my mind, and I don’t want to leave him. Come look out this window. Can’t you just imagine Vincent leaning on a windowsill like this, contemplating . . . sometimes tormented, other times not. What thoughts did he have to create such powerful beauty in his work?”

“When I think of him and all the devils he fought, there’s one thought that has stayed with me.” Bertram let out a sigh and his voice was full of reverence as he uttered, “Vincent believed that art consoles those who are broken by life.”

They stood quietly looking out the window for several minutes. Bertram rested his hand on Arianna’s shoulder. She laid her hand on top of his.

“He certainly was broken, wasn’t he?” Arianna’s voice was barely over a whisper.

“Terribly,” Bertram replied, his voice tender and filled with emotion. “And perhaps we all are in one way or another. Maybe that’s why we are all here. Maybe that’s why we want to draw and paint and create.”

Arianna turned and looked into his eyes, pleased they were no longer puffy and bloodshot. He had come a long way on his own journey on this course. She felt such warmth for him now, after their rocky start almost two weeks before. She wondered if he knew how helpful he had been by sharing his personal story and encouraging her to “come unstuck.”

“Maybe, maybe,” she replied, “but nothing close to Vincent. And guess what? I don’t want to feel broken anymore. The poppies freed me.”

He leaned toward her and gently planted a kiss on her forehead.

“That’s very good news. I’m pleased to hear it. Vincent would be pleased, I’m sure.”

Arianna chuckled. “You’re too much, Bertie. Thanks for making me laugh. Now I need to lighten up.”



About Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else.  An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France, for her annual visit.

As of January, 2015, along with being a proud indie author, Patricia is also delighted to be under contract with Lake Union Publishing for her Love In Provence series. This is the women’s fiction arm of Amazon Publishing.

With a focus on travel, women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change





9 responses to “Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands

  1. Carol Luciano

    Thank you for your thoughts on Drawing Lessons. I’m looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L

    • There are few places that are better to regroup and retreat to than Provence – and Sands does truly love the area as she presents it so well. Thanks for stopping in!

  2. Thanks for your lovely review. Sorry for not linking and commenting earlier, I was out of the country with very little internet access. Emma at FBT

  3. Thanks so much for your fine review. Somehow I missed commenting on the day you posted. My email inbox is seriously overflowing. I do apologize and want you to know how much I appreciate the time and thought you put into reading Drawing Lessons. I’m delighted with the response this novel is receiving and bloggers such as you are an important part of sharing the news. Mille mercis!

    • No worries! Thank you for the story and the little revisit to Provence. Now go to Brittany (I can suggest Morgat) and my travels will be complete!

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