I want to start off by saying thank you to Carol Wyer and Canelo Publishing, this landed in my inbox and was the perfect feel-good read to enjoy in the bleary, dazed aftermath of Christmas.
"She stood and took her place in front of the camera... It was now or never”
‘What Happens in France’ is about a women named Bryony Masters, she 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…
The way ‘What Happens in France’ is written is highly enjoyable, the pacing of the novel was one of my favourite elements as things didn’t move on too quickly but it wasn’t boring or slow at any time. I actually sped through it as the chapter lengths were a reasonable enough length for me to think ‘just one more’ until I had accidentally stayed awake a lot later than I was going to!
Another fantastic element of ‘What Happens in France’ is the dynamic between Lewis and Bryony. I really liked their easy, casualness around each other and to avoid spoilers I wont say what happened between them, It just wasn’t quite the ending I wanted. Nevertheless their friendship was lovely to read and felt very genuine, a credit to Carol Wyers’ ability to write charming and highly likeable characters! It was almost like reading about a group of people I knew or about a friend who was just informing me about things going on in their life. If you like laugh out loud funny and rom coms then ‘What Happens in France’ will be a perfect match for you.
Having read a couple of the D.I. Robyn Carter series, I knew I would enjoy the writing. It was interesting to see an author actually write a novel unrelated and a completely different genre to their previous work. To be able to write fantastic hard-hitting crime genre novels and a comedic light-hearted novel, I actually highly enjoyed both. Bryony was bold and very humorous, she was written in a way that you could tell everyone around her adores her - especially friend Melinda - the dialogue between Melinda and Bryony was hilarious and I would happily enjoy another book with those two characters. Again the dynamic between characters was perfectly set, and Carol’s dialogue is again suspenseful about finding Hannah and yet very light and funny where it matters.
The tasks and quizzes within the novel for the game show that Bryony competes in are also written well and it was funny and interesting to read them, they didn’t feel like a filler for the novel or a plot motive. Reading Bryony’s blog posts to Hannah was highly emotive and as I have a sister myself, I could feel Bryony’s frustrations and feelings.
As I mentioned earlier, this was the perfect antidote to those cold January evenings and this heartwarming romantic comedy of friendship, love and laugh-out-loud adventures is perfect for fans of Marian Keyes. Overall, it was a very fun read, with well-written dialogue, highly likeable characters a pompous quiz master, which was funny and definitely on the mark with how accurately he was written and even a very cute dog! I would highly recommend ‘What Happens in France’, and definitely check out Carol’s other work!
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.