The Recipe for Hope

Escape to France

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Pub Date 01 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2022
Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing

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In this charming novel from the bestselling author of The Dressmaker’s Gift, food was once the language of Evie’s soul. Now, can she remember the recipe for happiness?

Evie’s running away: from her soon-to-be ex-husband’s shiny new life, from the devastating loss of her baby last year, from a memory-filled London and, most particularly, from Christmas. A remote cottage in the South of France seems like the perfect peaceful place to soothe her sorrows.

But the countryside soon proves anything but quiet, from the rooster crowing at dawn to the barn owl hooting through the night—not to mention Evie’s handsome neighbour, doctor Didier, who works away in his garage at all hours.

Unexpectedly, the sights and sounds of life amid the sparkling beauty of the Dordogne give Evie a renewed sense of inspiration, and with her French grandmother’s recipe book for company, she begins to rediscover her love of cooking. Soon, the tight-knit community begins to enfold her, reminding Evie what really matters in life.

But are Didier’s gorgeous blue eyes on more than Evie’s delicious dinners? And can a cancelled Christmas—complete with a Not-Christmas feast for two—heal her heart?

In this charming novel from the bestselling author of The Dressmaker’s Gift, food was once the language of Evie’s soul. Now, can she remember the recipe for happiness?

Evie’s running away: from her...

A Note From the Publisher

Fiona is an acclaimed number one bestselling author whose books have sold over a million copies and been translated into more than twenty languages worldwide. She draws inspiration from the stories of strong women, especially during the years of World War Two, and her meticulous historical research enriches her writing with an evocative sense of time and place.

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Fiona is an acclaimed number one bestselling author whose books have sold over a million copies and been translated into more than twenty languages worldwide. She draws inspiration from the stories...

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ISBN 9781662503726
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Average rating from 37 members

Featured Reviews

This is one I already read back in 2015 under the title of <i>The French For Christmas</i>. This heartwarming story introduces us to Evie Brooke, a woman carrying immense emotional pain after the stillborn birth of her daughter a year ago, the loss of her marriage and her beloved bistro. The last thing she wants is to get dragged into the revelry of the Christmas holiday. When her best friends offer Evie the use of their cottage in the French countryside, Evie accepts their offer in the hope that this will be the perfect opportunity to avoid the holiday and the reminders of all she has lost.

I loved this story. My heart broke for everything Evie has gone through and I felt a deep empathy for her continued struggle to come to terms with everything. I applauded her choice to try something new instead of burying herself in her flat and hiding from everyone. I thought agreeing to go to France was a brave decision and braver, still, was her willingness to reach out to others, her sister, about to give birth to her own child, her parents, her estranged husband, her friends and her new neighbors in France. She could have stayed hidden in the cottage and became a hermit, but she didn’t and that made this story so beautiful. She even participates in helping a mare birth her foal.

This story also had some very humorous scenes involving a pig running loose and meeting the handsome Doctor Didier for the first time. Laughter through tears is very therapeutic and I loved how these new experiences begin to bring Evie out of her shell. Add in wonderful food and the love of family and friends and a Christmas miracle is born. I highly recommend this book if you like stories of love, healing, forgiveness and new beginnings.

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Love the title. The characters are quirky and fun and come alive on the pages. The author writes a quick read. The book was sent to me by Netgalley for review. Enjoy

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This is a fast, fun, holiday read. We get to hang out with old friends and find the miracle of Christmas.

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Evie’s life has fallen in around her. The loss of her marriage and her unborn child have her searching for a new beginning. A cottage in a remote village in France seems like the perfect place to lick her wounds and lie low during Christmas, a time she used to love but now dreads. But instead of finding solitude, Evie finds a village full of noisy animals and a handsome and charming neighbor. What starts as an escape from her past becomes a pathway to a new and promising future. This is a lovely story that will give a much needed boost to those weary of inflation and pandemic woes

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A heartwarming quick read …. which seems very familiar (I believe it might of been released under a different name some years ago) To escape after what can only be deceived as a truly dreadful year, Evie takes advantage of a friends offer and heads off to a cottage in the French countryside for the Christmas period. It’s a lovely book full of hope and elements of sadness too

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The Recipe for Hope by Fiona Happy

Evie’s running away: from her soon-to-be ex-husband’s shiny new life, from the devastating loss of her baby last year, from a memory-filled London and, most particularly, from Christmas. A remote cottage in the South of France seems like the perfect peaceful place to soothe her sorrows.

A perfect title for a winter's evening in front of a roaring fire.

I was really rooting for Evie and hoped her new life in France was going to work out for her. Lovely story , great plot , fantastic characters.
Fiona Valpy at her best.

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Rating: 2.0/5

Firstly, I would like to draw the attention of prospective readers to the fact that this book was originally published in 2014 under the title "The French for Christmas", so please do not be under the misapprehension that this is new material from the author.

This quick read tells the story of Evie, a London-based American lady who has become estranged from her celebrity chef husband, following on from experiencing the traumatic stillbirth of their daughter. As Christmas approaches, Evie has no desire to celebrate and wants to simply escape and pretend it isn't even happening. Following a friend's suggestion, she decides to spend the period in a remote part of France. Formerly no mean operator in the kitchen herself, Evie has lost her culinary mojo, but it is about to be rekindled during her trip to the Dordogne ... and that is not the only thing that will we reawakened during her visit.

I find Fiona Valpy's work quite frustrating. Every book I have read by her to date has contained ample amounts of promise, but without that potential being fulfilled. "The Recipe for Hope" is no exception. Although there is much to appreciate in the quality of Fiona Valpy's writing, it is too often a case of style over substance that leaves me with a sense of not feeling satisfied.

The setting for this is fine and is nicely drawn by the author. The characters, too, are not without appeal, and the predicaments they find themselves faced with offer up the potential for some heartrending drama ... but it never quite gets to that point, because it is all a bit superficial. Consequently, there is also no real sense of an uplifting experience as a result of triumph in the face of adversity. Instead, it errs too much on the side of being sickly sweet and hard to swallow.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for supplying an ARC in return for an honest review.

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Reeling from the tragedy of a stillbirth and the resultant failing of her marriage Evie escapes Christmas to stay in rural France. There she finds kind and helpful neighbours who can help heal her grieving heart.
A lovely heartwarming quick read

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Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the eARC.
Evie has had a traumatic couple of events: she lost her stillborn baby and her husband has left her. Not at all in the mood for Christmas, she escapes to a friend's cottage in France. There she can slowly find some piece and also meets a very handsome doctor. So far, so good.
There's a cheeky pig who comes into her garden to steal apples, which I thought was so sweet... until I realized the pig was going to be slaughtered and Evie was going to help with the preparation. Call me a wimp, but even though I live in the country, I became a vegetarian 30 years ago and I couldn't read any further. Sorry!

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I received an ARC of, The Recipe for Hope by, Fiona Valpy. Evie has mot had an easy life, leaving her husband, and starting over, is where we find her in this book. Can she risk it, and fall in love again?

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I’ve just finished this wonderful novel with tears streaming down my face. Happy/sad tears, it’s such a moving story with the perfect ending and quite inspirational. I love all Fiona Valpy’s books and this certainly hasn’t disappointed, it’s the 3rd in a series but can be read as a stand alone. My only regret is that I’m reading it in the height of summer, it’s such a perfect Christmas book, definitely one to curl up with in a cold winters day…you won’t want to put it down.

Thank you to the author, publishers and Netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review, it’s been a huge pleasure!

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With grateful thanks I've read this book a few years ago excellent story .
Very dissatisfied that it's got a new name giv3s readers false hope.

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“The Recipe for Hope” by Fiona Valpy is the final book in a series, however this book can be read as a stand-alone. This book is being reissued, as it was originally published in 2015 under a different title. I found this book to be the weakest of the trilogy, which I found disappointing as the first two books were decent reads. Evie’s story about overcoming the stillbirth of her daughter (and break-up of her marriage) was so deep and encompassing that while “hope” might’ve been the theme for the book, the hope seemed in some places a bit Hallmark Christmas movie-like. Evie’s ex may not have been a good fit with her, but he seemed to be broadly painted as “I’m a shallow bad guy” that his character didn’t work for me - even when causing drama. I did like the Author’s Note giving more information about Doctor’s Without Borders. I found this story okay. I think it would make a good Hallmark Christmas movie, but having never actually seen one of those movies I’m making an assumption.

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A little sad for a holiday novel. The beginning of the book rips your heart out. Not my favorite book by this author, I’m sorry to say. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this early read.

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The Recipe for Hope by Fiona Valpy tells a beautiful story of love, loss, and hope. Being able to picture the love interest as a French Bradley Cooper, was a definite bonus to this sentimental tale.

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Christmas time in the French countryside was such a dreamy setting! I enjoyed this third and final novel in the Escape to France collection. This was more emotional than the others, but beautifully written. A story of loss, hope, and love. Very heartwarming and highly recommended.

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I loved this book! I cried at the end because I was over come with emotion for Evie.
I look forward to reading more from Valpy and seeing more of these characters.

Thanks NetGalley for this ARC!

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I sadly had to stop reading this book due to how boring I found it.

I agree with other reviews that the writing is amazing in quality but how slow the story progressed really made me not want to carry on.
The characters, story and scenery were very fleshed out and developed - giving potential to the book that I felt it didn’t live up to.

It is a sad tale for a Christmas story, where Evie has to grieve the loss of her stillborn child, the life she wanted, and her divorce from her celebrity chef husband. She decided to go to France for the Christmas season as this is when her life fell apart one year prior.

There were a few funny scenes, such as when there was a pig in her garden and she slipped trying to scare it away. Other than that, I didn’t find any events entertaining to read.

This is the final book in a trilogy by the author, but can be read as a stand alone. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is such a gorgeous story of hope and new starts. I adore Christmas stories and this one ticked all my boxes for a lovely heartwarming story.

This is the story of Evie who after having a terrible year which saw her lose a baby and having her marriage break down has decided to run away to a remote cottage in south of France. She soon finds her self finding her love for cooking and making friends with her neighbours.

Highly recommend!

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In this contemporary women’s fiction novel, Evie is reeling a year after her baby is stillborn and her marriage to a celebrity chef has collapsed and her bistro has closed. It is Christmastime but she is not feeling merry. She is offered the use of a cottage in the French countryside and jumps at the chance to get out of London and away from her problems. Once in France, she reconnects with her love for cooking and is not immune to the attractions of a doctor neighbor. I was rooting for Evie to rediscover her zest for life and pull herself out of her doldrums. A solid read.

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The Recipe for Hope by Fiona Valpy was beautifully written. Wow, I cried and felt the emotions in the book. I thought the book was a little slow but did pick up. A great story!

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A good read, gives you hope for better times no matter how dark and ugly the world gets. It also promotes the beauty of unity and community. I was down for a few weeks and this was exactly the sort of book to balm my wounded heart. The food descriptions (except for the pig blood soup) were to die for. If you're a foodie who's looking for a feel-good holiday book, this one's for you.

Thank you, NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK, for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I think I am becoming a Fiona Valpy fan. I had been looking for an uplifting read and this book fulfilled that need. That might not be the case for someone who is still grieving over the loss of a baby (so trigger warning), but Valpy again writes well about grieving and coming through that journey.

Having just read a book about countries in Africa, I am aware that they are often used in stories for stereotypical elements. I would not have thought of this before reading the aforementioned book so I don't blame Valpy for using South Sudan as a place where doctors go to help, but, in the future, perhaps she and other authors can use places in their own countries or places not stereotypically used such as Europe. Having said that, it was lovely to see Valpy is donating a percentage of her royalties to Doctors Without Borders, and she also includes sources of support who have experienced the sorrow of stillbirth.

I did not realize that this book is number three involving a town and family, but it is a stand alone book. I did enjoy meeting characters from one of the previous books. I am going to buy this book for my mom for Christmas. Maybe I need to think about buying her all three.

Although it does deal with the sorrow of stillbirth, I still found the book uplifting, well-written, and enjoyable. I loved reading about the French countryside and the food. The book was originally published in French so I trust that the setting is accurate. I devoured the book quickly from July 7 to July 10. Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for this ARC.

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I've been meaning to try one of Fiona Valpy's books for quite some time now, so I decided to get a copy of The Recipe For Hope on a whim. What I didn't realize at the time was that this isn't exactly a new story; it was first published back in 2014 under the name The French For Christmas, and it's actually book number three of a series. And while it's true that this story can be read as a stand-alone, I would have liked to know this as apparently at least some of the characters appear in the previous books as well. This wasn't the reason why this story sadly didn't work for me though; more about this below.

First of all, I have to say that I do love the Dordogne setting and the descriptions really made the wintery French setting come alive for me. I also loved the food element and the many different descriptions of local food and preparations both made me want to cook and crave the food mentioned. The setting made for a great backdrop for this Christmas story and the food itself was festive inspired as well. It was probably these two elements that made me keep reading, because I did have some major issues with this story.

I think part of the problem is the fact that I was expecting an uplifting Christmas read, and instead The Recipe For Hope is mostly very heavy and almost depressive. There is a huge focus on dealing with a stillbirth and grief in general, and instead of balancing things out the heaviness seemed to go on forever. The hope came only in a small portion and the lighter moments weren't really spaced out evenly enough to make the plot feel more balanced. Especially the final part almost felt like a cliche Hallmark movie, and the characters themselves lacked fleshing out for me. I did like the community feel of the small village, but most of the characters felt rather flat to me.

The writing itself is beautiful, which in a way is such a contrast with a rather uninspiring and predictable plot... In the end it couldn't save the story for me. To make things worse, there is even a love triangle introduced, which kind of sealed the deal for me. I'm never a fan of the trope, but in this story it seemed completely unnecessary and it ruined whatever positive feelings I had left towards this book. A warning is also in place for the mention/description of animal slaughter; I know that there are a lot of people out there who could have done without this element.

As a whole, The Recipe For Hope unfortunately ended up being a total miss for me, and it was most definitely not the cheerful and uplifting Christmas read I hoped it would be. The food descriptions and Dordogne setting were great though.

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Another great book by Fiona Valpy of which I was drawn in by the title. Especially as it involves a recipe book, a love of cooking and family.

It is a feel good book, easy to read and and has some humour along with some feel good moments as well as some sorrow and loss. The setting is good, the characters are good and the story is good.

An easy, entertaining book to read that isn't over the top but is quite enjoyable.

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I've never read this author before and found this one to be an enjoyable and easy read. I liked the writing style and characters and would read another book by this author in the future.

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This is a very endearing heartfelt read. With a lovely romantic element running throughout. It is an easy read. Which just goes to show how.muvh effort the author and team have put into this book to make it flow so effortlessly.

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A charming tale that touches on stillbirth, relationship breakdown and third world poverty and medical provision. Deciding to spend some time in a rural French village to try to avoid Christmas, Evie ends up unexpectedly, finding love and friendship. A well-written, easy to read, romantic novel which ends happy-ever-after. Just a little too twee for me!

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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. This was a nice gentle read, nice characters and a nice storyline, I enjoyed it.

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My rating:
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Writing: 4 out of 5 stars
Character development: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for readers of:

Women’s Fiction
General Fiction



This is a story about coping with loss and grief but also about love and second chances. Overall it has a light hearted feel to it. The plot flows well and is nicely written very vivid and captivating. It feels like you are actually there. The characters are interesting and portrayed with enough detail to make them realistic and likeable. A great feel good story that captures you and doesn’t let you go until the end.

Review copy provided by Netgalley at no cost to me.

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Enjoyable easy romantic fiction from Fiona Valpy. I liked the setting and enjoyed the story - good beach read!

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Another fabulous tale by this amazing author! Rich characterizations, realistic emotions, and a lovely story make for a can't-put-it-down emotional read. Oh my GOSH!!!!!! I read this emotionally charged, compelling book in one sitting.

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I think this is the fourth book I have read by Fiona Valpy and it's my favourite so far. The story centres on Evie who is struggling to come to terms with the sorrow of stillbirth, the loss of her relationship and her bistro business. As the title suggest though, this is a hopeful story, and
Evie is offered the use of her friend's holiday cottage in the French countryside at Christmas, as Evie just wants to hide away somewhere to avoid to the bright lights and buzz surrounding Christmas at home.
Pretty soon Evie is settling into her French holiday home and begins a gradual healing, through the kindness of neighbours and the joy of the seasonal food with her grandmother's recipe book as her companion.
There is humour in the book with the neighbours pig getting up to mischief, and there is a dishy doctor with his own reasons for being tucked away in a very quiet French hamlet. The full cast of characters are just so well drawn, the descriptions of the surrounding area sound beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the uplifting, new beginnings story which unfolded.
For anyone who has gone through the loss of a baby I think it would be much too hard to read, but aside from that I would very highly recommend this.

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“The Storyteller of Casablanca” was my first Fiona Valpy book, in 2021, and I thought the storytelling was spectacular so I expected much of the same with this, and it’s what I got.

It’s got everything I needed in a book; Christmas (okay, not always seen as a positive in the context), the French countryside, and delicious food. I’ve even noted down some of the festive French offerings mentioned for me to bake later - as it’s never too early to bake Christmas treats in my opinion.

I’ve never wanted to spend Christmas in a different country or by myself, but Fiona makes quite the convincing case, at least for some of the build up, or maybe in that weird in between time between Christmas and New Years, especially if it comes with a handsome neighbour.

I get the feeling that food - and French food in particular - is an important part of Fiona Valpy’s life. We can all talk about food and describe it, but to me, there are few authors who can concoct such a vivid image and I am happy to add Fiona to that list. There is a specific piece, about 25% of the way through, that reminds me so much of Charles Dickens’ description of festive food in A Christmas Carol, and if you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that Dickens features at the top of every literary list for me.

It’s not all happiness and light. There are some very difficult topics - baby loss, death, grief, divorce. It is sad, I won’t say it’s not, but there’s a lovely balance to the happiness amidst the grief.

It’s a short book at about 200 pages, a quick read and I felt I could have read another 200 pages. I am so glad I have copies of the other two in the series (even if this one was meant to be #3; it doesn’t matter what order you read them in, but the festiveness drew me in first)

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As in the other three books in this series, The Recipe for Hope is a tale of love and second chances. Didier is an interesting love interest, a bit different from this author's norm. Evie, on the other hand, is lost in her own emotions after the stillborn birth of her child and her estrangement from her husband. She is looking to forget all the hurt and instead what she finds is hope (hence the title of this novel!) It got a bit too melodramatic near the end . . . but it's a romance; so all's well that ends well. A fast read.

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Another great easy read by Fiona.
Heartbroken after the loss of her daughter and failed marriage, she flees to France to escape Christmas in London.
Finding herself in a house surrounded by farms, woods and peacefulness, she meets her new neighbours and she begins to discover herself again. Remembering forgotten dreams and plans.

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