Saturday, 28 December 2013

The French Postmistress by Julia Stagg

When her post office burns down, postmistress Véronique starts lobbying for its replacement. But her fellow residents of the small commune of Fogas in the French Pyrenees are too preoccupied to rally to her cause.

Mayor Serge Papon, overwhelmed by grief at the death of his wife, has lost his joie de vivre and all taste for village politics (and croissants) and it seems as though deputy mayor Christian (whose tendresse for Véronique makes him her usual champion) will soon be saying au revoir to the mountain community. And to Sarko the bull.

Add to this a controversial government initiative to reintroduce bears to the area and soon the inhabitants are at loggerheads, threatening the progress of the sacred Tour de France and the very existence of Fogas itself.

In yet another tale with more ups and downs than a Pyrenean horizon, things are about to get grizzly.

The French Postmistress is the third of Julia Stagg's novels set in a small commune called Fogas, situated in the French Pyrenees; following on from L'Auberge (May 2011), and The Parisian's Return (April 2012) - published by Hodder Books.

I haven't read either of the first two stories, and on reflection, I think it's probably best to read them before The French Postmistress.  Although this novel stands alone very well, I did struggle at times during the first third of the book to tie up each of the characters - I guess that this wouldn't have happened had I been more familiar with the setting and the characters.   Nevertheless, I did enjoy this tale of rural France, the small town politics, the interwoven relationships and most of all, the beautifully described French countryside.

Julia Stagg writes with confidence, as she should and is entitled to, having spent many years herself in the very region that she writes about. There is a darkness that pervades her story of relationships and community, with sinister goings on that are preventing Veronique - the Postmistress in the title, of achieving her aim of rebuilding the post office.  

Love and romance - politics - bears, and a bull!  Written with flair and a touch of humour, this is a novel that will please fans of Joanne Harris, and everyone else who likes a bit of oh la la now and again!

About the author - taken from     Find out more on Facebook, and on Twitter

Cursed from a young age with itchy feet, Julia has lived in Japan, Australia, the UK, the USA and more recently, France. She has worked as a waitress, a 'check-out chick', a bookseller, a pawnbroker and as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language.
In 2004, tempted by a love of cycling and a passion for mountains, she moved to the gorgeous Ariège-Pyrenees region of France to run a small auberge with her husband where she was able to add chambermaid, receptionist, cleaner and chef to her CV all in one go.When not writing or running the business, Julia spent her time out inJulia Stagg at the Auberge the mountains, walking the paths and the ridges that provide the beautiful setting for the Fogas novels or riding her bike through the small hamlets and villages that are a vital part of her books.
She currently divides her time between the Ariège and the Yorkshire Dales and for a short while at least, those feet have stopped itching. 

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