Last December, Claire over at Word By Word reviewed “The Bridge Club”, Patricia Sands’ first book. Claire’s a fabulous reviewer and, the more I read, the more I wanted to read it. So, thanks to modern technology, it was downloaded and on my iPad in mere seconds.
It’s a book about a group of women and their friendship. A friendship they began as young women. Over the years the friendship grew stronger and stronger; and they became closer and closer. They were there for each other through thick and thin. Heartbreak and happiness, marriage, divorce and widowhood, sickness and health. The more they went through, the closer they became.
I loved the story because I saw my own friendships in it. I loved it, because the older I get, the more my friendships mean to me. The more I appreciate them. The more I count on them. And depend on them. I also loved it, because it takes place in Toronto, which I didn’t know when I bought it. So as I read, I visualized. I was there, with them. I could see exactly where they were, all the time.
The story was set here because the author, Patricia Sands, and her husband live here. And lo and behold, because she had read an exchange between Claire (Word By Word) and me, she (Patricia) decided to check out my blog. Happily she liked what she read and started following me. And one day, she commented we should meet for coffee. Which we did; and we talked and talked and talked. Like old friends. Like women do.
That’s when she told me she had another book, “The Promise of Provence”, coming out, in the not too distant future. She was at the
final revision stage at the time. Because I’d enjoyed the first one, I was really looking forward to this new one.
Interestingly, it came out just this month, at a time I’ve been saying I’m bored and want an adventure. It’s interesting, because the main character of the book, Katherine Price, does a home exchange and goes to Provence for a couple of weeks. She wasn’t bored, though. She was devastated because her louse of a husband waited for their anniversary to tell her he was in love with another woman, and wanted a divorce.
Oh, wait, it gets better.
He didn’t tell her in person. He left a letter for her, along with a bouquet of twenty-two roses, as was his custom on their anniversary. The roses, not the letter. Nice, huh.
If it’s not enough of a co-incidence that I’ve considered, for a couple of years now, renting a house in Provence for a month to work on my book, Katherine (from the book) lives in the Annex, the same downtown neighbourhood I do. I’ve even thought about home exchanges for a while. The gal who used to stay with my cats when I went out of town, told me about them years and years ago. She did them all the time. I presume she still does. She moved to Vancouver a couple of years back, so we’ve lost touch.
Do you think the Universe is trying to tell me something?
When you think about it, home exchanges are perfect. The lodging part of your holiday costs you nothing. If you’re like me and have tons of frequent flyer miles, even your flight’s free. So all you’re paying for are your day-to-day living expenses. You could end up spending less money to go on a fabulous holiday, then it costs you to stay home! And to me, living like a native is far more interesting, and fun, than being a typical tourist in a hotel. And there’s hardly anywhere in the world where you can’t find someone willing to swap homes with you.
Whereas her first book was about the importance of our relationships with other women, this one is about the importance of our relationship with ourselves. Sometimes we give so much of ourselves to the men we love, we lose ourselves in the process. And if and when those relationships end, we’re lost. Adrift. There’s nothing left of ‘us’. So this is a story of loss and gain, second chances and taking chances. Rediscovering who we are. Re-imagining what life could be.
Patricia Sands’ character, Katherine, does two home exchanges in “The Promise of Provence”. One, her first, to Provence. The other, some months later, to La Cote D’Azur. Read the book and you’ll soon get it. Just like she did. There was nothing stopping her from doing it. Other than herself. Just like there’s nothing stopping me. Is there anything stopping you?