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