About The Book
A gorgeous and bittersweet romance set in the South of France, about an old passion rekindled and the choice between family loyalty and a great love.
Flora and Hugo are devoted to their children, but when their girls leave home for university, their lives seem empty. Hugo is cold and distant, leaving Flora unsure what their future holds. When they are invited to a friend’s villa in the South of France, Flora hopes the summer sun and gorgeous setting may bring them closer together. In a crumbling, picturesque villa in the luscious French countryside, they are introduced to Susie, Matt and their friends. Flora is surprised to meet Xavier, her old flame, who she fell in love with one long lost summer when she was eighteen. They parted suddenly all those years ago, leaving Flora wondering, what if…
Handsome, passionate, sensitive, Xavier is so different from her reliable, predictable Hugo. Both Flora and Xavier have moved on with their lives, but is there something that still lingers between them? Or will Flora’s devotion to her children, and her loyalty to Hugo, show her where her true heart lies…
Today, I’m bringing you an extract from That Long Lost Summer and I think you’re going to really enjoy it.
Flora was engulfed by memories as she stood there with Hugo in the garden of the Villa Emeraude, surrounded by Susie and Matt’s friends.
Xavier said, ‘After all this time. I often wondered if we’d meet again.’ He moved closer to her, his voice soft in her ear. She glanced round the group. Everyone else was talking to each other, or helping carry out the supper from the kitchen. Hugo was still deep in conversation with Ben.
Those dark eyes of his searched her face and she felt herself drawn to him just as she had all those years ago. This was madness. She took a step back from him.
So…’ He turned and looked round the gathering. The dusk was drawing in and lights were beginning to come on. His gaze came to rest on Hugo. ‘That must be your husband, lover, whatever.’ There was mischief in his face and she remembered how he would tease her.
‘Yes, my husband, Hugo, you must meet him. And you, have you someone here?’ She glanced around the group in the garden.
‘No, I am divorced, I’m here alone.’ Again his eyes, those warm and tender eyes lingered on her face and desire flooded through her. She turned away; he must not guess how empty her marriage had become.
Susie was walking towards them, smiling. ‘Come and have supper. It’s so good to see you both. Longing to catch up.’ She put an arm round Flora’s shoulders, hugging her, before turning to Xavier. ‘We used to live in the next street in London, our children – well, their children and Alegria, my niece – briefly went to school together when they were little, and then three years ago, as you know, we moved to Cambridge and somehow we haven’t managed to meet up for more than an instant until now – though we do phone and gossip occasionally.’
‘That’s great,’ Xavier said and Flora waited for him to say that they, too, had once known each other, but he did not and then they were swept up with the others, all sitting round a table groaning with delicious food and drink and she and Xavier were not alone again that evening.
Sylvia slipped away to check on the kittens and announced that there were four, ‘one tabby like her and the others black,’ she said. ‘I’ll put a note up in the village in case she has an owner looking for her.’
Flora was relieved to get to bed. As the evening progressed, night creeping over the garden now dotted with gold orbs from the garden lights, she felt herself wilting.
‘Good to be in bed,’ she said to Hugo, who was carefully hanging up his trousers, ‘and a lovely squashy mattress and linen sheets, no doubt left over from Matt’s grandmother’s day. Such luxury.’
About the author
Minna has had an exciting career in fashion journalism and now writes full time, whilst enjoying time with her grandsons and working as an occasional film and TV extra. She lives in London.
Thanks so much to Aria Fiction for the opportunity to read this book and to take part in the Blog Tour – and of course, for such a fab extract to share!