Second-time author Julia Stagg revisits the Ariégois village of Fogas in this highly-enjoyable and well-written romance.Stéphanie has a good life in a picturesque village in the French Pyrenees. She’s full of her plans to open an organic garden centre, and she has a budding romance with another organic gardener. Her daughter Chloé is a self-taught gymnast who drops in for chats with the ghost of the dead owner of the village shop and bar.
They are joined by an amazing cast of crazy characters – Fabian is a burned-out banker who has moved home to see if he can modernise the village shop, half of which has been bequeathed to him upon the death of his uncle Jacques. His aunt Josette resists his changes strongly at first, but it soon becomes clear that some of his ideas are definitely going to improve things. An English couple, Lorna and Paul, shocked all the locals when they took over the local hotel and actually managed to impress the fussy local epicures with their cuisine.
When a mysterious man is seen hanging around the village and worrying incidents start to take place, the whole community really pull together to help each other out. Everyone has their own special skills – whether that is with a gun or shimmying up drainpipes – which are called on in the defense both of the village itself and particularly of Stéphanie and Chloé.
This really enjoyable romance is much more than the sum of its characters and parts, the location is the trump card which elevates the whole novel to another level altogether.