Fiona Valpy talks about her novel
The French for Christmas
Hello Leah, and thank you very much for inviting me to contribute to your blog. I’m delighted to be here and to have the opportunity to tell you and your fellow-readers more about my latest book, ‘The French for Christmas’.

As the book opens, we meet Evie, who is dreading Christmas this year. So when her friends offer her the use of their French holiday home she grabs the chance to escape. But she hasn't counted on the neighbours - and one of them in particular - who help her to work through her grief and anger and to find forgiveness, which may just allow her to face life again. She finally realises that, no matter how hard you try to escape it, Christmas Happens!

'The French for Christmas' is a bit different from the usual seasonal chick-lit, in that the book does tackle some very painful subjects. But at the same time I’ve tried to capture the beauty of the French countryside (even without the summer sunshine) and to highlight what, for me, are the things that are really important at Christmas: family, and offering kindness and support to others. I hope it has something for everyone – a lovely festive read with a bit of depth too. And, in the spirit of Christmas giving, I’m donating 10% of the royalties I receive from sales of the book to the charity Médécins Sans Frontières, (Doctors Without Borders), who do such vital and courageous work around the world - and especially in Africa at the moment.

'The French for Christmas' is the third book in 'The French for...' series. What all three books have in common is that they are about being in a foreign culture and finding out a lot about yourself when you see life through a different lens. But, no matter what challenges are thrown in their paths, all my heroines have romantic encounters along the way as well – I’m all for romance and happy endings!

The first two books, ‘The French for Love’ and ‘The French for Always’, were very much summer reads (although lots of readers have said how much they’ve enjoyed reading them as an escape from dreary winter days too) and so for the last book in this series I thought it would be a good contrast to write about the local area out of season, the side that people who come for summer holidays don’t see. But, at this time of year, the importance of community can be even stronger and there’s always the sense that another beautiful spring and sun-filled summer are just around the corner…

When you pick up your copy of ‘The French for Christmas’, I hope you’ll curl up beside the fire and lose yourself in the story of hope after a long winter of grief, of light shining out at the darkest time of the year. Because for me, that’s what Christmas is all about. Letting the light shine; hanging on to the belief that, even in in the darkest times, spring is just around the corner. And even if it’s cold and grey outside, we will generate enough light and warmth and joy to see us through until the summer sunshine is with us again.

Merry Christmas – I hope yours will be a brilliant one.

For more information, please visit Fiona Valpy’s website.