Title: The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Provence
Author: Katrina Nannestad
Published: 22nd October 2018
‘FANS OF … JACQUELINE HARVEY WILL LOVE THIS BOOK’
– Kids’ Book Review on The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome
When Freja and Tobias arrive in Claviers, Provence, it feels like home. The hilltop village is surrounded by olive groves, lavender fields and drifts of red poppies. The market square hides a world-famous pâtisserie and an antique merry-go-round. Pippin, their precocious young neighbour, and Vivi, the beautiful chef, fill their lives with chatter and laughter and love.
For a moment, the girl, the dog and the writer are happy.
But a spate of criminal activity casts a cloud over the village. Freja is determined to solve the mystery and uncover the villain, but the closer she gets, the more impossible things seem to become …
Award-winning Australian author Katrina Nannestad is back with the much-anticipated sequel to the bestselling novel The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome.
PRAISE FOR THE GIRL, THE DOG AND THE WRITER SERIES
‘sure to be treasured’ – Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Reading Time
‘Fans of the Clementine Rose and Alice-Miranda series by Jacqueline Harvey will love this book’ – Kids’ Book Review
‘Children from eight up will really warm to this funny, sad, happy book, and many adults will be charmed too’ – The Book Bubble
‘The mini world that author Katrina Nannestad has created is every child’s dream. 8+ readers will love this book’ – Better Reading
2018 Australian Book Industry Awards – Longlisted
2018 CBCA Book of the Year Awards – Notable
‘Provence is an echo of our lives.’ Tobias Appleby says this to Freja as they live in Provence, and make new friends, and try to solve the mystery of the dastardly criminal acts happening around the sleepy French village of Claviers. Not so sleepy, as it turns out. At every turn, Tobias and Freja make new friends: the Diderots, the Jolys, Pipping and gentle giant Henri who runs the charming merry-go-round. At the same time, everyone must contend with needy, demanding famous actress Mimosa Asterisque, suspected of a spate of crimes that see the village brought to its knees. Freja and her new friends – Pippin, Christophe, Edith and Cossette are determined to uncover, and bring joy back to Claviers.
This series continues the themes of friendship and family from the first. Freja feels at home with Tobias – at times, it feels like she is taking care of him more than he is taking care of her, and their move to Provence to follow Vivi. Freja is learning what family and friendship means – it is more than what she knows. She misses Clementine, but her world has expanded, her family has expanded. Of all the new characters, I fell in love with Pippin the most, and also instantly. He’s bubbly and cheerful, and each character brings something unique and new to the story.
The power of this book is in its representation of family – and that family is what we make of it, and the people we choose to be in our lives, as well as our biological family. Friends become family. Freja’s once small, insular world has become large and spans several countries. She had grown in many ways, and has even helped Tobias and Finnegan grow.
The magic in this book comes from the characters, the places, and the way food – gelato and pastries – informs the world, and its sense of timelessness – it could be set at any time in the last thirty years, and allows readers to imagine themselves as Freja and the other characters. It is world we know, and yet in some ways don’t know. Freja and Tobias take us on a journey – in many ways. Provence comes to life, with the scent of lavender and the musical delights of the merry-go-round, and many more. As Freja works to solve the mystery of who has been trying to drive people out of Claviers, and ruining their livelihoods, she will find out that not everything is always as it seems.
Cleverly combined as an adventure and a mystery series with a touch of romance along the way (although Tobby and Vivi might not always realise it), this series is delightful, and moves along at the right pace – not too fast, not too slow. It allows the characters and plot to develop and will enthral readers aged eight and older.
Onto Lucerne, and the final stages of Freja and Tobby’s story!