~ Audiobook Review: French Holiday (ARC) ~

Expected publication April 26, 2023

Author: Sarah Ready

Narrator: Kelsey Navarro

Audiobook Length: 12 Hours and 2 Minutes

One (crumbling) French castle. Two enemies-at-first-sight. The holiday of a lifetime.

Merry DeLuca has a problem—a big problem. Her sister just married her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved. Her life is rapidly spiraling down the drain and she doesn’t have an escape plan.

So when Merry is offered a three-month holiday living in a romantic castle in the French countryside she leaps at the chance. Merry knows her French holiday will fix everything—there will be mouthwatering pastries, delicious (meaningless) flirtations, and languid strolls through vineyards at sunset. Her holiday will be perfect.

At least, Merry believes that until she arrives and finds Noah Wright—the best man at her sister’s wedding and the worst man she’s ever known—staying in her castle.

Famous travel documentarian by day and arrogant devil by night, Noah refuses to leave the castle. Which means that Merry and Noah are stuck together in France, in a crumbling castle, in a holiday where nothing goes right. Not for Merry and not for Noah.

So they strike a truce—they’ll live as cohabitating friends for three-months, and then they’ll amicably part ways, never to see each other again.

But the thing about friendship? Sometimes secrets are uncovered. Mysteries revealed. Hearts laid bare. And friendship can start to feel a lot like caring. A lot like love. It can even make you wish that the holiday never has to end.

French Holiday is my seventh read by Sarah Ready as I have read six novels from her Soul Mates in Romeo series. I like Ready’s style of taking simplistic storylines and make them seem like more for the reader. There are some moments in almost every novel that border on the ridiculous, but they are surrounded by many other “calmer” great ones. This story begins with 28-year-old Meredith (Merry) DeLuca at the wedding of her sister, Angela, to her best friend, Leo, after the two shared a whirlwind romantic beginning. While Merry is trying to be happy for the couple she can’t help but feel heartbroken as she has secretly been in love with Leo for the past four years and never worked up the courage to tell him. Merry has also felt inadequate to her “prettier” and “more perfect” sister, so this wedding day is tough on her.

Before beginning the rest of the story, it made me really question Merry’s relationship with both her sister and Leo. It is clear Leo did not know about her romantic feelings, but it is unclear about Angela. The couple get engaged after one day together, but it bothered me a lot that they got together in the first place without checking in with Merry first. Other people may feel differently, but even if Merry did not have any romantic feelings involved, both Angela and Leo crossed the line. For me, I would have preferred Leo and Angela to be left out of the rest of the story as I wrote them off. Unfortunately, this did not happen in the actual novel, but it did not take away from my enjoyment of the writing. While they are included more, the main story does focus on Merry’s three month stay at a French chateau after her godmother, Jupiter, gifts it to her. (I would love to be given a free stay at a chateau!) When Merry arrives, she is surprised to find another guest is already there and this guest happens to be famous travel documentarian (and Leo’s best man), Noah Wright.

The novel is narrated by Kelsey Navarro who does a great job at telling the story from Merry’s POV. Since the reader sees Merry’s side, they do not get to see what is going through the heads of the other characters. Noah seems to have a lot more going on than meets the eye, but, like Merry, the reader has to wait and have everything be revealed in time. I loved these two characters getting to know each other and slowly become more vulnerable with the other. I also loved how their lives integrated with their French neighbors, Pierre, and Camille. They were fun additions to the story, and I love how they played a role in Merry’s journey to moving on. The French setting provides a nice escape for Merry to explore and grow. There are a lot of details about her day-to-day for her time in France, so this may not be for everyone. I enjoy Ready’s writing, but there were a few moments that I felt could be streamlined a bit. Overall, this was a nice easy yet still very enjoyable read.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

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