Book Title: Aix Marks The Spot
Author: Sarah Anderson
Release Date: June 16th, 2020
Synopsis: Meet Jamie, an American teenager who has been sent to live with her grandmother in a small town in France. A grandmother she has only heard of, but never met. An accident leaves her mother in a wheelchair and to be able to focus on her healing, Jamie is sent away for the summer. And there, she finds a map of love letters from one parent to the other that takes her all over parts of France on an adventure she wasn’t looking for, but now can’t escape.
Review: If you’ve never been to France, this book truly does take you on a journey through parts of the country you might only have heard of. I, however, have never heard of these places and the experience of going on this journey with Jamie felt really good. I got to see parts of France through her eyes and the amount of knowledge and research that went into making it realistic will blow your mind.
Jamie and her grandmother don’t get along, not only because of the language barrier, but because her grandmother is still harbouring some resentment at losing her only child to a different woman and country. Her father, a Frenchman, met her mother, an American, fell in love, got married and had a kid and at the same time, was practically disowned by his mother. So they moved to the States, where they set up a life for themselves and for their newborn child.
This works out for Jamie when she goes wandering and bumps into charming Valentin, a French boy who wins her over without even doing anything. And he’s such a great addition to Jamie’s adventure, that much you are guaranteed from the moment they meet.
While in her grandmother’s stuffy house, Jamie comes across a letter that leads to a treasure hunt of sorts. And she realises that it’s a documentation of her parents’ relationship. While her French is terrible, she enlists Valentin’s help to get her all over the place. Each letter takes her down memory lane to how her parents met and fell in love, their little secret spots and hiding places and Jamie gets to relive it all thanks to the letters. Each letter leads to another and another and over the course of the journey, she falls in love with Valentin and with her parents’ relationship.
I did adore this book and while it took me some time to really get invested in it, I found myself cheering Jamie on as she got all the way to the end. Stubborn, difficult and selfish are things you can use to describe Jamie, but wouldn’t we all be that way if put in a situation like this? There was so much to enjoy – the journeys, the food, the culture, the friendship and banter between Jamie and Valentin. But I felt like the book took too long to get to the point, which was disappointing, but it tied everything up really nicely too.
I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.