Member Reviews

In this fun and cozy modern novel, readers follow Nina, who has a chance at a new start on her fortieth birthday when her divorce papers come through. Realizing that choosing security over excitement her entire life has made her life dull and sensible, she decides to take some risks -- leaving her steady job and seeking out her high school exchange boyfriend and first love Pierre. Recreating that experience through a house-swap with French businessman Jean-Luc, Nina wants to find some excitement, happiness, and love as she starts her forties on her terms. A fun, enjoyable read full of heart and emotion, Nina is a fantastic, realistic, and relatable heroine whose struggles are all too common and relatable for modern readers. Her relationships with her new and old friends in this novel are supportive and kind, and the novel flashes between her present day life and her time on exchange when she was seventeen and in love with Pierre. The setting of France is whimsical, romantic, and beautiful, very different from Nina’s prosaic life in England, and it helps create the shift in choices and life for Nina’s character arc. The characters are the star of this fun and easy summer read that fans of cozy reads and holiday reads are sure to enjoy.

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Gillian Harvey’s The Riviera House Swap is a gloriously escapist tale drenched in sunshine, romance and heart perfect for Jo Thomas fans!

Nina has spent most of her life playing it safe and taking the sensible option – and it’s got her nowhere. With the divorce papers having come through on her fortieth birthday, all Nina has to show for her life is a boring job and ex husband who was the human equivalent of dry paint. At seventeen years of age, Nina had her chance at excitement having met a gorgeous French boy called Pierre. But having refused to elope with him she has spent the intervening decades stuck in a boring rut -but not any more. The time has come for Nina to unshackle herself from her daily routine and take a few risks.

Booking a house-swap in France seems like an excellent starting point – although what businessman Jean-Luc is going to make of her cottage in rural England is anyone’s guess! But Nina just wants to leave her staid life behind and indulge herself by staying in a beautiful villa on the French Riviera. Being in France will also enable Nina to try and find Pierre and recapture all the hope and passion of their youth. But is Pierre still the man of her dreams? Or should Nina look elsewhere for her happiness?

Gillian Harvey writes with such verve, style and élan that reading one of her books is the next best thing to a luxurious French holiday. The Riviera House Swap is a lovely read about letting go of the past, love lost and found and taking a chance on yourself that is so hopeful, inspirational and entertaining, I found myself completely immersed and engrossed in Nina’s story.

Witty, charming and enjoyable, The Riviera House Swap by Gillian Harvey is a fabulous page-turner that makes for the perfect holiday companion this summer.

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I really wanted to like this book, but the FMC goes on at length about the guy who was her first love, and how great their life will be all these years later. Very tiresome, DNF.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley, I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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The lack of editing actually offended me as a reader. One page a character is Brigitte, the next page it's Bridgette.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC for an honest review.

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A brilliant synopsis, very promising, but the result was... well... not so brilliant. I mean, it was not bad, it has its moments, but on the whole it felt very simplistic, very predictable, very meh. At the beginning the characters almost killed me with their dialogues, they took PAGES to get through one conversation - the whole book, to be honest, was more on the slow side. The retrospections to Nina's exchange in France read as if they were really written by a 17 - year - old, so not sure if it's good or not so good, but for me they read awfully.

If you're looking for something absolutely undemanding about self - discovery and starting afresh, this might be a book for you - it's easy to read and it's there to entertain you, not to make you think.

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When I saw this book I was so drawn by the synopsis and I simply had to read it.
If you're familiar with "The Holiday" starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet (which is my all-time favorite movie, by the way), then you'll understand the concept of a house swap.
It's quite straightforward: two individuals exchange homes anywhere in the world for a set period. This is precisely the premise of "The Riviera House Swap."
I devoured most of the book in a single day, finding delight in every page.
Gillian transported me to the south of France, and although the story unfolds in November, I envisioned splendid summer days, savoring buttery croissants and sipping rich, sweet coffee at street-side cafes.

"The Riviera House Swap" unfolds over two time periods: the present and flashbacks to when our main character, Nina, was seventeen and participating in a French exchange program. Now at forty and feeling discontent, Nina begins to ponder the paths not taken...
Stumbling upon a collection of old but unforgettable love letters while clearing out her cupboard, Nina is inspired to make a significant change. She decides to embark on a solo adventure, arranging a house swap with a man whose residence is on the French Riviera—the very place her long-lost love hailed from.
Will she seize her opportunity for a second chance?
I won't spoil that for you. You'll have to read the book yourself!
My gratitude goes to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for providing an advance reader copy.

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A woman leaves her train wreck of a life to see if she should have followed her heart years ago and married the 17 year old boy she met in a French student exchange program. The premise was pretty predictable, but I did find it interesting how blinded the woman was by creating a love story for herself and not seeing all the red flags popping up when she meets her first love years later.

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All of this author books I have read have been a fantastic read and The Riviera House Swap
Gillian Harvey was no different. This book was a wonderful read and beautifully written from start to finish.

Now, Would you swap houses with a total stranger?

Nina, is a 40 year old and recently divorced English woman she is at a crossroads in her life and has become miserable! She feels she is in a bubble and she needs a big shake up and big life change.

Impulsively Nina goes online and finds another kind of French exchange….......a house-swap.
She can’t imagine what French businessman Jean-Luc wants with her terraced home in rural England, but she can’t wait to stay in his beautiful, spacious, bougainvillea-strewn villa on the French riviera......

What an adventure this will be?

Maybe Nina will find love she missed all those years ago!?

But will Pierre still be the man of her dreams after all this time?

This book was a lovely read and touched my heart.

I highly recommend this beautiful book.

Big thank you to Netgalley and Boldwood Books for my ARC.

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Thank you @netgalley for the ARC of The Riviera House Swap by Gillian Harvey. I like reading books about middle aged women redefining themselves and can relate to the restlessness at this age. I also like romance about people going to little European towns to do so. I liked the story of Nina taking a break from her life and becoming more adventurous. I wish it had been just her going instead of hunting down a romance from her teens. It was a bit creepy for her to stalk him and surprise him in France and also to have been pining for him all these years over a short fling. This is a cute summer romance perfect for a beach read.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book. It made me feel like I was on vacation!

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Thank you NetGalley and publisher for this ARC!

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure I was going to be fell in love with the characters and the setting and the writing style of this book.

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So poorly written that it was a chore to finish; I do not recommend this book- save your money for one of the many good books out there.

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A divorce, a 40th birthday, a job she has become miserable at have all lead Nina to a crossroads or as she says mid-life crisis. She has lived her life doing the "safe" thing and now feels that it has all blown up in her face. Impulsively she does a house swap with a man from France taking her back to the site of her student exchange town from high school when she last acted impulsively. Will she find the missing love of her life or will it be a flop? Even better, will Nina find her true self?

This book has some truly fantastic characters that show what true friendship and support are supposed to look like. Supportive, funny and at times the dose of reality that you need. While at other times, the "bad influence" to get you out of your rut! The book has wonderful dialogue and slowly shows Nina as she navigates her holiday with her pro and con lists on hand continually. The plot was well thought out, although it did move slowly at times, but it did keep you entertained and engaged in Nina's journey. The underlying theme being that you must love and trust yourself before you can love and trust someone else. I enjoy this author's writing and she definitely gives me wanderlust. Everytime I read her books; I end up wanting to go on an adventure of my own!

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3 Stars
One Liner: Good concept and themes but…

Nina has played it safe for years but when she receives the divorce papers on her fortieth birthday, she decides to make the most of her remaining life. Nina plans a trip to France to track down the only man she loved, Pierre.
A house-swapping chance makes it easier for her to take the next step. It is a good opportunity for a fresh start. But will it be with Pierre or will Nina find something else?
The story comes in Nina’s third-person POV.

My Thoughts:
I enjoy lighthearted reads with some important themes. This book promises fun with a touch of romance and some introspection. While the premise is attractive, the results are sadly mixed.
What I Like:
The side characters are cool (except for one person). Nina’s best friends are the right mix of support and caution. They know when to let her rant, when to tease her, when to encourage her decisions, and when to remind her to be careful.
Sabine is proper sunshine. She can be overwhelming but gives exactly what Nina needs. Moreover, the humor in scenes with her feels more realistic and natural.
Nina’s pros and cons lists are great. As a list maker, I see the rationality of this approach even if her actions and decisions aren’t great.
Some scenes with Nina’s fears and vulnerabilities are well done. Her confidence has taken a hit, which makes her do some stupid things but she does realize in time.
The hubby is not the bad guy (this is not a spoiler). Given how most ex-husbands are supposed to be jerks, I like that he is a decent human.
What Could Have Been Better:
For a light read, the pacing is a bit on the slower side. While the plot doesn’t drag, it doesn’t sustain the tempo, either. I was easily distracted during the first half.
This is not a romance. It is women’s fiction with barely a touch of romance. While I enjoy both genres, I wish the ‘love’ track was better handled. I couldn’t feel any chemistry despite liking the character.
The track with Pierre was easy to smell from a mile away. While predictability is a thing of the genre, I think the whole part could have had a little more depth. It is not fun when the reader thinks the FMC is not using her brain cells even when we are 70% into the book.
The initial humor feels forced. It doesn’t become seamless until Sabine enters. That makes the FMC a weaker character. In fact, I never laughed or chuckled when she tried to be funny. It was the others who made me smile.
To summarize, The Riviera House Swap is an easy read with some decent themes. I’d say your enjoyment will depend on how well you connect with the main character.
Thank you, NetGalley and Boldwood Books, for eARC. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
Links updated.

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My Thoughts :
We meet Nina, she has been in a job for years which she hates and an unhappy marriage for even longer.
When she receives her divorce papers on her 40th birthday, she decides thats it, no more playing it safe, she wants to start living her life and the time is now.
Going online, Nina decides on a house swap, she will go to live in France whille which the other person, businessman Jean-Luc comes to live in her house in England. She thinks this is the perfect answer as her first love Pierre, who she met in her teens on an exchange programe came from there and she has always wondered and toyed with the what ifs!.
As Nina settles into life in France, meets some new friends and builds her confidence, will she get the chance to re live her youth or is there much more out there for her to explore?!.
This story is pure escapism at its best. Gillian Harvey fully delivers the sights, sounds and tastes of France and will leave the reader wanting more.

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A really nice story with lovely (mostly) characters. For me it was a little slow to start with, but it was so worth persisting. I just wish there was an epilogue. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Nina is 40, newly single and entirely predictable.
She decides, after much dithering, to track down an old love in France and dies a house swap.
She meets some nice people and also reconnects with Pierre who is something else.
I like the throwing caution to the wind theme because I often dream of doing that but am too afraid.
I wanted the book to end in a certain way and it sort of left me in limbo.

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Nina has spent her life staying firmly within her comfort zone. Her 40th birthday has now arrived, and none of her 'safe' choices has turned out quite how she expected - something made very clear when the anticipated birthday card she opens turns out to be her final divorce papers. It is time to shake up her life a bit and tick off some of those things that have been waiting on her bucket list for far too long.

Reflecting on the past reminds Nina of handsome Pierre, who she met on a French student exchange holiday when she was seventeen, and in a burst of adventurous spirit she decides that a trip to the town where she fell in love might be just the thing to set her on a new path. The ideal opportunity just happens to present itself on a house swap website, so she sets off for a month at a beautiful villa near Nice, while its owner, Jean-Luc, comes to stay in her Victorian terrace in St Albans. Will Pierre still be there? And, if so, could that passionate flame be rekindled?

Gillian Harvey's latest gorgeous, French escapade is a delightful play on The Holiday, which finds forty-year-old Nina picking up the threads of the life her seventeen-year-old self might have had. The story unfurls in two timelines, following Nina's French adventure in the present and the events of the exchange trip in the past that have always stayed with her, which combine to make this something of a coming of age journey for both her forty-year-old and seventeen-year-old-selves.

Harvey floods this book with her trademark themes of friendship, family, and second chances in picturesque France, and the way she explores teenage notions of love is poignantly relatable. There are lovely (and not so lovely) characters to get to know, with storylines that weave romantic suspense and luscious humour throughout - the text and email conversations Nina has with her friends and parents in St Albans, and her lists of Pros and Cons around pivotal decisions are especially comedy gold. But what really makes the story is the relationship Nina develops with tender-heared Antoine and his sister, free-spirited Sabine, in France, who help her on the way to a new destiny. 

This book sums up everything I have come to love in Harvey's enchanting stories, carrying you away on an escapist tide to a warm and ahh-filled ending full of hope. Perfect for snuggling up with on the sofa while the unseasonable rain falls outside.

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Review for 'The Riviera House Swap' by Gillian Harvey.

WOW!!!! What can I say?!?! What an absolutely beautiful book that I fell in love with!!! I cannot wait to read more books by this extremely talented author!

This book is stunningly written with vivid descriptions setting the picture perfectly in the readers mind. The title, description and cover works perfectly with the storyline.

This book is an absolutely gorgeous escapism!! If you enjoyed the film 'The Holiday' then you will absolutely fall in love with gorgeous French escape! It is an absolute rollercoaster ride of emotions filled with humour, romance, friendship, second chances, love, loss, and so much more. I was completely swept away with the storyline and loved having a holiday in the beautiful French Riviera with Nina. Gillian does an absolutely fantastic job of weaving the present timeline in with the past when Nina was on a French exchange trip, timing the chapters in perfect sync with each other. I have never actually been to the French Riviera myself but thanks to Gillian's evocative writing skills it definitely felt like I was on a holiday there myself seeing the gorgeous surroundings, making friends and falling in love.
I absolutely loved each and every single moment of this beautiful read. I loved the amazing sights, adventures and the fantastic characters who I was devastated to say goodbye to as they had become like friends to me and they would make absolutely amazing best friends in reality! This book really is one of those stunning stories that you can read curled up on the sofa in front of a fire or laying on a beach getting a suntan. It doesn't matter where you read this book as Gillian will whisk you away to the beautiful French Riviera at the turn of a page!. I was utterly glued to the pages and I could not bring myself to put it down. I was carrying my phone and kindle around every chance that I got. I adored the gorgeous ending and would love to see this book turned into a series. I don't want to say anything else about the storyline as I don't want to give to much away as this is one of those gorgeous books that you just have to read for yourself!! I would seriously recommend this book to anyone and everyone but especially to fans of the stunning film 'The Holiday' which also happens to be one of my favourite feel good films!!! A gorgeous uplifting page turner that will warm your hearts 💝 Well done Gillian on an absolutely stunning and unputdownable success!!

Clear your schedules as this is one gorgeous and unputdownable stunner ❤️

I absolutely loved these amazing, strong characters who captivated my heart from the very first moment I met each of them, especially our main protagonist Nina who is such a friendly, relatable and amazing woman! I was completely invested in her from the moment I met her and was rooting for her throughout!. Gillian does an absolutely fantastic job creating this stunning storyline and bringing it alive to the readers. Gillian weaves the multiple timeline chapters together absolutely superbly to give us a deeper insight into Nina's past and present. Each of the characters are relatable, strong, realistic and I became completely invested in each and every one of them. They all had their own unique personalities and I just absolutely loved getting to know them all. I felt each of their love, friendship, pain, heartbreak, happiness, sorrow and so much more. I really was rooting for Nina throughout the pages and hoping that she would find the happiness that she more than deserved. Gillian does an absolutely amazing job of bringing the story to life and the characters leap out of the pages as your turning them thanks to her amazing evocative writing skills!! It is so hard to say more about what I feel about the characters without giving anything away so I won't say anymore about them as I don't want to go into too much detail at the risk of spoiling it for other readers but Gillian really has done an amazing job at bringing each of the characters to life and I am missing them already. Well done Gillian!!!

Congratulations Gillian on an absolutely gorgeous, escapism filled with everything you could one in a page turner!!! I am looking forward to reading more of your previous and future books. I would absolutely love to see this book turned into a movie!!! This is the exact reason I would like to welcome you to my favourite author list and here's to your next success 🥂

Overall an absolutely gorgeous book that will take on holiday to the stunning French Riviera and warm your heart ❤️!!!

#TheRivieraHouseSwap #GillianHarvey #BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers #BookAndTonic #theboldbookclub #boldbookclub #RachelsRandomResources #rararesources

@GillianHarvey @RachelsRandomResources @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks @BoldwoodBloggers @BookAndTonic @theboldbookclub @boldbookclubÀ

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Enjoyable travel romance

This is a very enjoyable travel romance about a woman of a certain age, newly divorced, who swaps her almost-sold house to see whether she can recapture the romance from a long-ago school exchange in France. Obviously not literary fiction, but a great choice for the summer beach or backyard read.

Thanks you to the publisher who lent me an e-arc via Netgalley. This review is optional and my own opinion.

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