Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for What Happens In France by Carol Wyer, a brilliantly funny romantic comedy. A massive thank you to the author and publishers for inviting me to join the tour and for providing the advance copy of the book for review. I’ve been a fan of Carol Wyer’s Detective dramas for a while now, but this is my first taste of her women’s lit and rom coms. Before we see what I thought, let’s take a look at what the book is all about.
The Book Bits
“She stood and took her place in front of the camera… It was now or never”
Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.
With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.
Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish…
This heartwarming romantic comedy of friendship, family and laugh-out-loud adventures is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.
What lengths would you go to in order to find a long lost family member? Advert in the newspaper? Internet campaigns harnessing the power of social media? Taking part in a Game Show on national television …?
Bryony Masters has tried them all and it is this last step, putting herself on National TV, that she takes in a seemingly final bid to find her sister Hannah before their father’s health completely deteriorates. Bryony has always felt guilty over Hannah leaving, and when her father keeps confusing her with her sister, she knows she will stop at nothing to find Hannah, even trying to get herself on a brand new game show in order to raise the profile of her search. What follows is a slightly madcap, always funny and often sentimental story that sees Bryony and her fellow contestants racing across northern France in a bid to win the ultimate prize pot. For Bryony, that is something far more important than a pot of money.
What I love about this book is the way in which Carol Wyer immediately draws you into the story. I was completely invested in Bryony and her quest, and intrigued to find out what had happened to tear the family apart. Bryony is a brilliant character, but is not only her determination to help her family be reunited that makes her so endearing. She is a funny, slightly quirky character, so perfectly written that she felt like a real person – someone you felt as though you already knew. She has her share of problems – including health concerns – that have plagued her since childhood, and her own reason for feeling guilt over her sisters departure, but she doesn’t let it stop her. Very intelligent and articulate, you can’t help but want to see her succeed and I found I was totally happy to follow Bryony on her adventures.
I think that characters are one of the big successes in this book. They really pull you in and keep you reading, every bit as much as the need to find out why Hannah left and whether Bryony can succeed in reuniting her with their father. From Bryony’s quiz partner Lewis, to fellow contestants Jim and Oscar and Donald and Nicola, they all added such colour and spirit to the book that I found myself constantly smiling. Each one adds a new dimension to the story, with Jim’s back story as emotional as Bryony’s and just as likely to tug at your heart strings. As much as you want them all to win, you’ll probably find yourself championing one team over the other. Just … don’t go thinking it’s always going to be Bryony and Lewis. As you read you will come to understand why I say this, but also bear in mind that Oscar has a secret weapon, one who nearly threatened to steal the show.
Did you perhaps wonder what the significance of the little dog on the book’s cover was? Well, wonder no more. Enter – stage left – Biggie Smalls, Instagram Sensation and Oscar’s delightful travelling companion. He plays a rather surprising role in the story but will definitely win over even the hardest of hearts. I could even see Biggie (and maybe Oscar – he is his human after all) featuring in his own spin off. I know it would go down a storm.
A good amount of the story is given over to the many challenges, interviews and auditions which make up the game show, What Happens In …’ the author’s extensive research has been used to great effect here and it all felt very authentic, if somewhat insane at times. From the behind the scenes segments, the technical crew, and the presenter from hell, you really do feel as though you are part of a game show, although perhaps one of the last I’d ever consider taking part in, no matter how large the prize behind it.
And one last thing I am very happy to report is that, as great as Carol Wyer is at creating tension and drama in her Detective novels, she is just as adept in creating humour and romance in her novels too. It had me chuckling along from start to stop. And I really love the way in which she portrayed the many relationships which existed in the book, from the clear love Jim has for his wife, the banter between Bryony’s best friend Melinda and her husband Sean, to the little snippets of romantic attraction that we witness from Bryony with one of her Gameshow companions. Carol Wyer has created a tantalising mix of tender moments, sweet romanticism and blatant chemistry and attraction that will keep all rom-com fans hooked from start to finish. Throw in misunderstanding, miscommunication and what can only be described as misguided opinions of how irresistible certain people think they are, and it’s a perfect will they, won’t they guessing game right to the end. Loved it.
A fun, chucklesome, sometimes frantic, but always entertaining romp across France which has cemented me as a fan of all of Carol Wyer’s books, no matter what the genre. Top stuff. Oh and more Biggie please 😉
About the Author
As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.
Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.
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