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Book Tour & Review: The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher (+ win a copy!)

Two years after the death of her husband, Heidi is still as lost and heartbroken as the day the tragic accident took him from her.  Coaxed by her family, she takes her son, Abbot (a worrier since his father's death) and her niece, Charlotte (a troubled, misunderstood teenager) to a home in Provence that has been in her family for generations.  But this is no ordinary home.  It is filled with magic!  Its very walls were laid through the sheer power of love.  Heidi's mother knows this home will heal her...give her what she needs...because it has always done that.

Though the journey began out of a sense of obligation, Heidi gradually realizes that through interacting and letting her heart gradually open again actually brings her closer to not only her son, her parents, her sister, her niece and friends from the past...but also to her lost husband, Henry.  She needed to learn to let go in order to hold on.  But it's not simply about Heidi.  Each character grows and develops and pulls at your heartstrings as the story unfolds.  I grew to adore Henry as much as Heidi did with her descriptions of him and how he grew up... "...Henry had been raised so differently.  His family was loud, rowdy, bawdy, quick to anger, quick to forgive--with food everywhere--Southern food mixed with Italian set to the mantra of Mangia! Mangia!--always frying, bubbling, spattering, the kitchen pumping like a steamy heart." p.37

Laced with mouthwatering descriptions of food, meals, wine...and scenes in the kitchen and around the table...this is one of my favorite types of books (books with descriptions of lands I want to visit and things I want to see and food I want to taste). "I loved the order of the vineyards.  The thick trunk of the vine, the neat rows, the way leaves and fruit were supported by the guidelines.  But there was also chaos in those vineyards...The leaves and the gnarled vines and the lurid green grapes grew up wildly from their ordered rows.  It was green against dusty rouge, chartreuse against chocolate." p. 190 A story of love and relationships set amidst food memory and travel.  "The very thickness of the vines showed their age, their maturity, their ability to bear fruit that years later would be the wine on a table with a simple meal of pistou and crusty bread." p. 192  It's a story of sharing your heart, even when it's vulnerable.  The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home and the people who spend time in it.  The sense of calm and unity and grounding become obvious when you just drop your inhibitions and let your senses take over.  It's about realizing that there is more than one kind of love.

Okay, I should probably stop quoting...but everytime I look back to the pages of this book and the penciled in underlines and stars that I added as I was reading it for the first time, I get nostalgic and want to jump in and head back to Provence to spend time with Heidi and Abbot and Charlotte and Julien and Véronique all over again.  Let me end this by saying that I adored this book and to wrap up with my favorite section in the whole book...the one I flip back to time and time again...

    "Véronique then limped into the room, placed the Crock-Pot on the center trivet.  When she pulled away the lid, a breath escaped, and the room filled, and my mind emptied.
    I could see the pale gold chicken resting in its deep sauce of tomatoes, garlic, peppers.  I could smell the garlic, wine, and fennel.  Véronique served and the juices ran sparkling to the edges of my plate, carrying a hint of citrus.  And the smell bloomed  ...  I began to eat, and it was like eating for the first time since Henry's death.  Why now?  ....  The first bite was almost too much for me, so much flavor, and I was so hungry." p. 240-1

Um, in case I wasn't clear, The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher...I loved it.
She said, "I love the way the French shove chocolate into everything.  It's, like, the best nervous tic, ever." -Charlotte p.145
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher to review.  All opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
 ***The publisher has kindly offered to send one of my readers a copy of The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted.  If you have a mailing address in the United States and would like to be entered to win a copy, please let me know by leaving a comment below...just for fun, tell me where you would like to go to "clear your mind and get some fresh perspective" if you could choose anywhere.  All entries must be received by April 19th at 11:59 pm (Eastern) and I will draw a random name to receive a copy.  Please make sure I have a way of contacting you via blog or email address if you win.  Good Luck!***
Update 4/20/11: This giveaway is now closed.  A winner has been chosen by random draw (Pierce....congratulations!!!) and contacted via email. Thanks to all who entered.