Click here to read reviewer Swapna Krishna's take on The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted.
Asher’s tender, poignant novel tells the story of loss, love, and healing. Heidi – a pastry chef – was once as passionate about the art of creating beautiful desserts as she was about her husband. Now, two years after her husband’s death, she is moving numbly through life and taking care of her young, obsessive-compulsive son, Abbot.
As a child, Heidi spent her summers at the family home in Provence, a place thought to be magical by the women in her family. The house, it is believed, can cure broken hearts. When the house is damaged in a fire, Heidi’s mother and sister implore her to go to Provence for the summer to renovate it. Reluctantly, she travels to France with Abbot and her teenage niece, Charlotte, who needs some heart-mending herself.
After a disastrous beginning in Provence, they settle into the family home. Heidi reacquaints herself with the house, the family who shares the property, and with the people in the village. But she is haunted by the memory of her mother running off to spend the summer alone in this house when Heidi was thirteen.
As Heidi rehabilitates the house, she starts to rehabilitate her life. Her passion for food returns, and she is learning to live again. Abbot keeps experiencing miraculous events, and Charlotte seems happy and thriving.
However, certain things threaten to disrupt their peace. Charlotte is carrying a weighty secret that impacts the entire family. Heidi is in turmoil over her growing feelings for a handsome Frenchman and must also come to terms with the truth about her mother’s “lost summer.”
The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted comes to its inevitable, happy conclusion, but not before Asher gracefully navigates her characters through several stormy situations. The Provençal landscape and the food are as much a part of the story as the emotions that drive the characters (there are even recipes included in the back). Overall, it’s a lovely and charming novel with a dash of magic added, worthy of being savored.