7.9.13

INVITATION TO PROVENCE, by Elizabeth Adler

Adler writes deliciously fun romances - without the totally explicit sex that other authors employ - in far-flung and exotic settings. I used to sneer at this genre; you know, anybody can write this junk. Well, my friends, lemme tell ya that anybody can NOT write them.
There's no difference between the requirements of a decent romance and a decent thriller or mystery or espionage novel. I'm backing out John LeCarre, Dennis Lehane, and other super-duperstars, of course. A good romance has to have a believable plot with a strong hook (in Adler's case, the reunion of an estranged family), very believable and fully-drawn characters, and what sparks up a book: interesting secondary characters. The author writes with touches of suspense, a couple of murders, a tetchy butler (who maybe didn't do it), and more than one romance (past and present). All of this in the luscious, luxurious setting of a Provencal winery. Adler really knows France; the details are wonderfully evocative. This perfect beach read is available in large print, as well. Each of Adler's romances is free-standing, so you can read them in any order: I'm going for Adler's Summer in Tuscany next. Give her a solid 4.