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From Paris to Provence.

In her delightful first memoir of living la vie Frangaise, New York born and bred Elizabeth Bard took us to Lunch in Paris. Now, five years later, she invites us to a Picnic in Provence (Hachette Audio, $30, 8.5 hours, ISBN 9781478977339), recipe PDF included. Life is changing for Elizabeth and Gwendal, her smart, attractive and unfailingly kind French husband. They move to a small village in the Luberon, have a baby boy and, as this slice of the story winds down, decide to open an artisanal ice cream parlor, serving their fabulous, frozen, Provence-infused creations. Always on the charming side of irreverent and an engaging narrator, Bard does a lot more than act as a tour guide. She muses on cultural differences, French women--from her elegant mother-in-law to the woman she buys cheese from in the local market-- childhood, motherhood, marriage, finding and accepting happiness and more. Each chapter concludes with a recipe. Bard's reflections on life and love (of all kinds) are witty, wise and as thoroughly refreshing as the scent of thyme, truffles, lavender and lemon verbena that waft by on a Provengal breeze.

SOPRANO STALKER

Donna Leon, matchless maestra of mystery, is passionate about opera. No surprise, then, that Commissario Guido Brunetti, the always elegant, worldly and wise star of her charming detective series set in Venice, is an aficionado as well. In Falling in Love (Recorded Books, $24.99, 8 hours, ISBN 9781490672397), famed soprano Flavia Petrelli returns to Venice to sing Tosca. Brunetti and his wife attend and watch as Flavia, whom he knows well, is showered with hundreds of yellow roses from an admirer. But this is an obsessive, intrusive admirer, whose attentions are beginning to alarm the singer. When two people close to Flavia are viciously attacked, Brunetti ups his investigation and, with the aid of the indomitable Signorina Elettra, sifts through stalker profiles to focus on the strange, sad villain. For serious series fans, going backstage at La Fenice, gossiping with a diva and walking the narrow streets of Venice with our beloved Brunetti, perfectly brought to life by David Colacci, are the real treats.

TOP PICK IN AUDIO

On a May evening just before "full dark," Addie Moore, long a widow, pays a call on Louis Waters, long a widower. They are only acquaintances, but she has a "kind of proposal" for him: Would he come to her house at night and sleep with her--not for sex, but for companionship. She is lonely, the nights are the worst, they would just get under the covers and talk. And so begins Our Souls at Night (Random House Audio, $25, 3.5 hours, ISBN 9781101923450), Kent Haruf's spare, slim September Song, read with a flawless mix of restraint and compassion by Mark Bramhall. Addie and Louis do get to know each other's souls at night, but their private, intensely close, rewarding relationship angers Addie's unhappy, uptight son and scandalizes their neighbors in small-town Holt, Colorado. Elegiac, quietly eloquent, Haruf's last novel (he died in November) looks right into the heart of love, friendship, true intimacy and new possibilities even as "the days dwindle down to a precious few."

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Title Annotation:AUDIO; Picnic in Provence, Falling in Love, Our Souls at Night
Author:Howard, Sukey
Publication:BookPage
Article Type:Audiobook review
Date:Jul 1, 2015
Words:527
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