I don’t know about you, but for me reading a book is one of the best pleasures in life. There is nothing like taking the time to settle down with a cup of coffee and a nice read. It is even better when the scenarios in the books I read actually take place somewhere I am familiar with. I am crazy about Bordeaux. You know that by now. What is more, is that I love to combine my passion for the city with the one for reading. Putting two and two together I embarked on research about all the Books set in Bordeaux I could find.
Of course, there are many, but most of them are historical. This is great. I love me some nonfiction. But what about the fictional ones? Thankfully I was surprised to discover that there were many books about Bordeaux that vary from crime literature to historical romance. Research shows that people are more inclined to read a book with a specific destination while on a vacation. Therefore, I prepared this little reading list for anyone who is coming to visit Bordeaux, France. I will be going through the books myself so share if you have read them and let us discuss.
Eleanor of Aquitaine is a 12th century icon who has fascinated readers for 800 years. But the real Eleanor remains elusive.
This stunning novel introduces an Eleanor that all other writers have missed. Based on the most up-to-date research, it is the first novel to show Eleanor beginning her married life at 13.
Overflowing with scandal, passion, triumph and tragedy, Eleanor’s legendary story begins when her beloved father dies in the summer of 1137, and she is made to marry the young prince Louis of France. A week after the marriage she becomes a queen and her life will change beyond recognition . . .
This is the first book of three dedicated to Eleanore of Aquitaine. I must say I am a huge fan of hers which is what drove me to add this book to my list. She was a fascinating figure in history. As the most powerful woman of her time, she had an extraordinary story to the tale. Especially when it is mixed with some good, old romance. The beginning of her journey takes place in Bordeaux. Elizabeth Chadwick is a best selling author, so I had no doubt that she will represent the duchess of Aquitaine flawlessly in her book. The book is a bit of a slow paste, but I kind of enjoyed that myself.
Spies, bed-hopping, treachery and executions – this story of espionage in wartime Bordeaux is told for the first time.
Game of Spies uncovers a lethal spy triangle at work during the Second World War. The story centres on three men – on British, one French and one German – and the duels they fought out in an atmosphere of collaboration, betrayal and assassination, in which comrades sold fellow comrades, Allied agents and downed pilots to the Germans, as casually as they would a bottle of wine.
In this thrilling history of how ordinary, untrained people in occupied Europe faced the great questions of life, death and survival, Paddy Ashdown tells a fast-paced tale of SOE, betrayal and bloodshed in the city labelled ‘la plus belle collaboratrice’ in the whole of France.
As someone who is very interested in World War history, this book is on the top of my reading list. I love the idea of spies going around Bordeaux doing… spies things. Idk, what do spies do actually? Guess I will find after reading the book, heh? It is interesting to see the point of view of three completely different sides in the war during that time. Also, I’m intrigues to find out where the expression ‘la plus belle collaboratrice’ comes from. The book has a pretty high score on Goodreads so it must be a good one.
English widow, Jean Valeix, is the owner of a vineyard in the French wine village of Saint-Emilion. But her cherished château is struggling to sell its produce. A handful of people – among them a charming middle-aged Scotsman, a jaw-droppingly beautiful girl and a talented autistic boy – will change her life completely. But not all her visitors are who they claim to be. All she needs to do is find out who’s telling the truth, save her business from bankruptcy and solve a murder. Only then might she discover that sometimes even good things come in threes.
Viticulture and poetry, mental health and murder all tumble, along with the cabernets and merlots, into the fermenting vat of this dark but uplifting novel.
Another book set in Bordeaux, that sounds like a little french retelling of a Miss Marple novel and I am all for it. Patrick Hilyer is the author of an award-winning guide to French Vineyards so he must know what he is talking about. Broke the Grape’s Joy is book one in the series. This kind of often so cozy to read with a glass of good, Bordeaux wine.
Who hasn’t dreamed of running away from it all?
The Haunt family have gone and done it. On an impulse, Maude, her husband Horatio and their two small children have left their tiny London terrace for the sunflower fields and the vie rustique of Southern France.
Up the road, the scruffy Hotel Marronnier is about to change hands again. Daffy Fielding has fallen in love with the place and has dragged her husband to France to persuade him to buy it. Which he does—before heading straight back home to his mistress. Can timid Daffy make a life for herself alone?
Watching over all the new arrivals is the glamorous, predatory, eternally bored Lady Emma Rankin. From her exquisite château nearby, she pulls strings to bring the new wives together. But is it Horatio, rather than Maude, who she really wants to sip Sancerre with? Or is her eye on the gorgeous local builder, the only one of them all who is party to the Haunt family’s explosive secret?
A charming chick-flick and who doesn’t want that as a quick read on a vacation? I personally always enjoy to have a book like that on hand when I travel. It doesn’t need us to keep a close, constant attention to the plot. It is simply enjoyable and fun.
Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noel Balen and Anne Trager
The start of a 22-book wine plus crime mystery series, this journey to Bordeaux takes readers behind the scenes of a grand cru wine estate that has fallen victim to either negligence or sabotage. World-renowned winemaker turned gentleman detective Benjamin Cooker sets out to find out what happened and why. Who would want to target this esteemed vintner? He and his assistant gumshoe around the region to find out. The series is a hit on TV in France
Wine and Crime, how about that? It even rhymes. Well, I must say that a 22-book series sounds kind of intimidating, but the plot does sounds pretty swell.
In the spring of 1940, the mutilated body of a homosexual is discovered in a street near the Bordeaux railway station. It looks like a straight-forward sex crime, but when Superintendent Lannes is warned off the investigation, his suspicion that there is a political motive for the murder seems justified. In defiance of authority, he continues working on the case. And then another body is found…
Meanwhile, the Superintendent has other troubles. His eldest son, Dominique, is at the Front, his wife, Marguerite, is depressed, and when the Battle of France breaks out, Bordeaux is filled with refugees fleeing the war. Suddenly civilian crime seems of little importance compared to the chaos that ensues.
As Bordeaux becomes an occupied city, Lannes’ chief suspect is untouchable, protected by a relative in the Vichy government. Lannes himself is threatened with blackmail on account of his Jewish friends and Dominique is taken prisoner. Common sense should make Lannes abandon the investigation, but honour and a natural obstinacy lead him to pursue it. However, as events turn increasingly bleak, Lannes begins to doubt it can ever be solved…
Death in Bordeaux is the first in a trilogy which will take Lannes through the war and up to the grisly, but inevitable purge of those found guilty of German collaboration. However, Death in Bordeaux is also a novel that explores the moral complexity of France’s time of trial, the horrors which afflicted France between 1940 and 1945, and the reasons why it has taken the French people so long to emerge from the shadow of war.
The last one on my list of books set in Bordeaux is another thrilling crime story, this time mixed with the reality of War during occupied Bordeaux. All the little detailed surrounding the crimes put the character in some very tricky situations. I think it will be pretty fascinating and layered read for everyone who loves mysteries.
Hopefully this will help you to plan your own reading list for your trip to Bordeaux next time! Also, do not hesitate to let me know about other books set in Bordeaux, as I would love to read them.
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