The Riviera by Karen Aldous

Title - The Riviera 
Author - Karen Aldous
Publication Date - July 10th 2015
Publisher - Carina UK
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 384

The journey is only as good as its end...

It's been a hard journey, but Lizzie Lambert's life is a Provençal dream come true. Her business is wildly successful, and with her little boy and the love of her life, Cal, she is making a beautiful home on the vineyard for their blended family.

But when Cal goes to America to support his son through a teenage crisis, it becomes clear the kid's not the only one with some growing up to do: Cal's glamorous ex-wife wants to get her claws in him again. As Cal spends longer and longer away, Lizzie wonders, was it all too good to be true?

 First of all, let me just say that I could have been lost in this book for months on end and I wouldn't have noticed the days slipping by. That's how involved I, as the reader, felt during my reading of Karen Adlous's third novel with Carina. It was utterly evocative, filled to the brim with real emotions and issues, and set in the most beautiful of places, meaning it was impossible for me not to sink into the story which unfolded and completely lose myself to this author's stunning storytelling skills. 

What I adored most about The Riviera by Karen Aldous was that this wasn't just any old love story. It was a beautiful novel exploring the deepest, darkest depths of relationships and tugging them wide open for the reader to take a good look at. As Karen begins Lizzie's story, who we first meet in The Vineyard, it appears that everything is going perfectly. Lizzie, after the most disastrous past in regards to relationships, is feeling warmly settled with the dashing Cal by her side and her son Thierry doing brilliantly. It's clear as day that Lizzie's life couldn't have turned out better. Everything that she'd wished for previously is in her hands and Lizzie is certainly more than happy that things have turned out in such a way. Karen expertly included snippets of information from the past to ensure that the reader's memory was taken back to when they were first introduced to Lizzie, and this also works brilliantly for any new readers who are only just meeting Lizzie for the first time and therefore aren't sure of what happened beforehand. But, just as we're beginning to get used to the idyllic family image, Karen throws a spanner into the works and suddenly, Cal is heading back to the island of Nantucket to deal with his teenage son's life-crisis, and this, dear readers, is where the problems start cropping up for poor, dear Lizzie. 

Karen ensures that the reader is made completely aware of Lizzie's history with men, and therefore, when things begin to get out of hand, it's obvious that Lizzie has good reason to think what she does. The author allowed me to understand Lizzie's emotions perfectly. They were so raw and real and I truly felt for this character. It didn't take me long at all to warm to Lizzie. She had such a gorgeous nature, kind and caring and so grateful for everything that she had in her life, so when things began to turn nasty for her and her mind began to work overtime, I really wanted to jump into my Kindle and give her a big squeeze. Cal is called back to Nantucket, but just when Lizzie's thoughts begin to turn a nasty shade of green, things get so much worse when Cal's ex announces that her relationship with new man Reuben is failing. Paranoid, alone and worrying herself to death, Karen describes beautifully the array of emotions and thoughts that Lizzie goes through. It's clear that Lizzie loves Cal to the very ends of the earth, but throughout this novel, as it progresses, their relationship and Lizzie's trust in Cal is truly stretched to its limits. 

Alongside this fantastic focus and dissection of a relationship and trust, Karen includes the birth of new relationships too. Intertwined into Lizzie's story is the story of long-lost members of her mother's family and the long, gruelling search and putting together of jigsaw pieces which had me completely gripped from beginning to end. What I loved most about this was that it became such a gorgeous, welcoming break when the emotions of Lizzie and Cal's relationship became too much. It was such a fantastically crafted story that had me fighting to keep my eyes open in bed just to continue reading. Karen truly knows how to write a smashing story that has the reader feeling completely and utterly involved in the circumstances that arrive. The setting was absolutely stunning, and the progression of the characters and their situations kept me reading and enthralled. It's safe to say that when I reached the end of The Riviera I felt like I've lived the entire thing right beside Lizzie, I'd even go as far as saying I felt a little bit exhausted from what Karen's characters go through within this novel.

This was a gorgeously told tale about the things that matter most to us. The ones we love, the ones we trust and even the ones that we're only just meeting for the first time but know they'll become a huge part of our lives. Faced with real and raw dilemmas, terrifying choices and the to-ing and fro-ing of intuition, I really cannot recommend The Riviera by Karen Aldous enough. There was so much for me to sink my teeth into, and I'm hungry for more from this author. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next because I, for one, will be waiting with baited breath for the announcement of her next novel. Well done, Karen, this was exceptional. Five cupcakes from me!  

*Special thanks to Karen Aldous and Carina for providing me with a digital copy of The Riviera in exchange for a fair and honest review*

1 comment :

  1. Oh man. Watching characters be pushed to their absolute limits in relationships is a trying wonder you felt exhausted by the end of it! It sounds like Karen Aldous knows how to pack a lot of action into a story and make high-intensity inter-personal relationships work to their full potential.