Thank you very much Morton for inviting me on your blog today. I loved the idea of writing about an object special to me, but I was wondering if I could be cheeky and write about two instead of one…
My mother died when she was about the age I am now, and not a day goes by when I don’t think about her. She was a vibrant, funny and selfless woman who had experienced the trauma of having to leave her family home in North Africa when Algeria’s war of Independence started, and arrived in France with not even a toothbrush to her name. She found work, got used to the cold and coped with French people’s hostility towards her and ‘the Africans’ who were arriving in their thousands with whatever possessions they had been able to bundle before boarding a ship in Algiers.
She came from a large family – a family with lots of characters, lots of drama and secrets, and fantastic stories. Like the one about the abandoned castle near Turin which belonged to her mother’s family and which they fled in the dead of night back in 1870; the feud over a stolen jewellery casket (I know, it sounds like a novel, doesn’t it?); the silver ladle which was the only family heirloom left and which they used to unblock the outside toilet (yuk!); and so many more…
My mum was often nostalgic about her childhood, even though it wasn’t always an easy one. They may have had plenty of sunshine but there wasn’t much money around, and as the youngest and the cutest, she was often sent to the corner shop to get food and ask for it to be put on the tab… Sometimes all she would eat for several days would be oranges and slices of bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic.
She was so very brave when she was diagnosed with cancer, and when she died the sunshine really did go out of our lives… She inspired me to work hard and never give up on my dream to become an author.
When I told her I was pregnant with my eldest son, she gave me this statue of a mother and child and said then that there was no greater joy than holding your child in your arms…As you can see, it is quite battered now but I have treasured it to this day.
Sadly my mother died not long after my first son was born, and she never knew my two other children – another boy and a girl, but I think she would be very proud of them. For my birthday in August, my very trendy twenty-one year old son and his fifteen year old sister gave me a piece of embroidery that they made themselves, and my heart melted when they told me how they ordered the kit from the internet and spent hours doing the needlework whilst pretending they were playing video games…
What a lovely post, Marie and I did shed a tear as I prepared the blog. Mx
About Marie Laval
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire and writes historical and contemporary romance. Best-selling LITTLE PINK TAXI was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. A PARIS FAIRY TALE was published in July 2019, followed by BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC in November 2019. ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU is her latest contemporary romantic suspense and was released by Choc Lit in October 2020. She also writes short stories for the bestselling Miss Moonshine anthologies, and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.
Her novels are available as ebooks and audiobooks on Amazon and various other platforms.
Will Amy’s dreams of a Provençal escape come true?
There are many reasons Amy Carter is determined to make Bellefontaine, her farmhouse hotel in the French countryside, a success. Of course, there’s the time and money she’s put in to making it beautiful, but she also has something to prove – particularly to people like Fabien Coste.
Fabien is the owner of the nearby château, and he might just be the most arrogant, patronising man Amy has ever met … unfortunately, he’s also the most handsome.
But as rumours circulate in the local community and secrets about the old farmhouse begin to reveal themselves, Amy quickly sees the less idyllic side of life at Bellefontaine.
Could Fabien be the man to help prevent her Provençal dream from turning into a nightmare?
This was previously published as A Spell in Provence by Accent Press in 2015. This is a revised, edited and updated version. Published October 2020 by Choc Lit.