One Night in Provence
One Night in Provence is part of a continuity series from Harlequin featuring heroines who all won luxury vacations as part of a charity raffle. The books stand alone, and in this installment, we get to tag along on Jenna Brown’s trip to Provence. Jenna works as a caregiver in a Nantucket nursing home, and this is her first overseas trip. She is nervous to be travelling alone, but incredibly excited to explore a new place – and to be staying in a real French chateau.
When she arrives in the French countryside, Jenna, like many, is enchanted by the fields of lavender and sunflowers. She also finds herself quite taken by the flirtatious stranger, Philippe, whom she meets soon after arriving at her hotel. Though she does not know it initially, he is the heir of the D’Usay family which owns the hotel and many properties in the area. Philippe is quite the charming tour guide and though he is obviously very interested in Jenna, he leaves the ball in her court for her to initiate the affair, a move that made me look favorably on him despite his proclaimed lack of interest in long-term relationships.
The story starts off light and fun. Jenna and Philippe obviously have their issues. Due to family tragedy, Philippe is the last of the family line and is not interested in continuing it further. Jenna, for her part, has her own painful family history. However, while this gets touched on, the plot very easily sweeps readers into Jenna’s dream vacation and the weeklong, very happy romance with Philippe. The first part of the book often feels like a wishful fantasy, and it’s some nice escape reading.
It’s clear that both Jenna and Philippe plan to go their separate ways even though they can’t stop thinking about one another. Jenna gets back into her normal routine at work, and discovers she is pregnant. Thankfully, this doesn’t morph into a secret baby plot. Jenna does what one would expect a mature adult to do – she tells Philippe.
The second portion of the book has a very different feeling than the first, but it still worked. The baby-to-be comes as a surprise to both Jenna and Philippe, and this portion of the story deals with how each works through their reactions to the news. Philippe comes off a bit heavy-handed at times, but he listens to Jenna when she calls him on it and they obviously care about each other. Parts of the story felt a little rushed but I definitely enjoyed the book, particularly the chapters centered on the dream vacation in France.