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Wild Lavender

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,158 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Simone Fleurier is wrenched from her home on a Provençal lavender farm at the age of fourteen after the accidental death of her father. Forced to become a maid at the boarding house of her aunt Augustine in Marseilles, Simone's life is hard and impoverished. But one of her aunt's boarders, the beautiful Camille Casal - a star at the local music hall - gives Simone a dream. ...more
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Published May 21st 2012 by Bolinda Audio (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,027)
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Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars
This story starts on a lavender farm in France. But Simone has no inclination or aptitude for farm work. At fourteen her life changes when her father dies and she is sent to work at her aunt’s boarding house in Marseilles. Life is hard and drab until she discovers the music hall. Simone also discovers the great gift she has – singing and entertaining people.
Over the years she falls in love and pursues her singing career. But then the darkness of war comes and Simone is forc
This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Firstly, I was expecting a historical fiction that jumped back and forth between present day and days-gone-by - my mistake, there’s nothing about that in the blurb and I’m not sure why I assumed it would be like that. Secondly, I was expecting the story to be set amidst lavender fields, at least in part, and while it was partly set in the lavender fields of Provence, that was only a tiny fraction of the story, with most of it being set in Paris and some ...more
Dec 06, 2009 Bluesky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very disappointing follow up to White Gardenia. The main character was sickeningly perfect - everything fell into her lap. It seems to me Belinda Alexander wrote this to share what she'd learned in her research , rather than because she had a cracking good story to tell.
Bronwyn Rykiert
This story covers the life of Simone Fleurier from just after WW1 when she is 14 to the end of WWII. We meet her family, friends and work comrades and the many people who shape her life.

Simone’s father died when she was 14 and she was sent from her home on a Provençal lavender farm by her Uncle to work in Marseilles at the house of her Great Aunt. Her life there is hard and impoverished, but Simone discovers the music hall and dreams that one day she would be a famous entertainer.

She becomes tha
Feb 22, 2013 Chrissy12 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I haven't given many bad reviews as I have always found something good in every book. Unfortunately, Wild Lavender for me personally, did not meet that conclusion.
This book was suggested to me by a saleswoman after I mentioned that my favourite book is The Bronze Horseman. Apparently these two books have something common, if I love one I will love the other... But for my case that was not true.

To start off, Simone, the main character, is barely tolerable. For me I found that the people she met
Trail of the music halls of Paris and Berlin

With real historical figures and fictional characters woven onto such a rich background of tapestries, from the stages of the best musical halls in the world to staring war in the face, this trail is also a tour of the musical halls in and around Europe and the rise of a musical star as the rise of Hitler casts a dark cloud over Europe.

The blurb is slightly misleading in my opinion though as lavender or the significance of it has nothing really to do
Kelly Marianne
Esse livro foi uma grata surpresa para mim. Não esperava gostar tanto.
Simone Fleurier inicia sua jornada como uma jovem que perde o pai, e é obrigada a mudar-se para a casa de uma tia desconhecida e cruel em Marseille. O que parecia ser um caminho para uma vida de sofrimentos, na verdade dura pouco e Simone consegue logo sair da casa de sua tia e ir trabalhar em um teatro de variedades, dos tipos que faziam muito sucesso na França dos anos 20. A partir daí, seu esforço e coincidências felizes a
Heidi Blackmore
This book so long for me to get into, I was at 60% of my way through it before a story even started to form. After that it stopped and started a bit but was a good read. I have read three of Belinda Alexsandra's books now and this is the one I have least enjoyed. In saying that I will eventually read the ones I have not got to yet.
Oct 19, 2013 Bettina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed learning about the music theatres in Paris. Simone was such a strong character which showed throughout the story. Enjoyed the storyline of Simone and Andre, although that story didn't turn out the way that most of us would have liked. Didn't like Camille's character, but I guess every story needs a bitch in it somewhere. I cried when Simone realised that she'd lost her whole family in the war, but at least the story finished on a happy note and Roger was found alive. I would have ...more
Kate Forsyth
An epic historical saga that follows the life of Simone Fleurier from her days as a poor girl on a lavender farm in Provence to the heights of fame as a singer on the Parisian stage and then through to her involvement with the French Resistance during the dark horror of Nazi Occupation. I enjoyed every moment of this rags-to-riches-to-rags story – the characters and the historical period were all so real and I really enjoyed every aspect of it.
Gill Brown
Jan 26, 2016 Gill Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book I loved it. One of my favourites.
Jan 29, 2015 Nat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled to get into this book. For quite a while I thought about putting it down and giving up but I'm glad I kept on. When the book finally took off, I understood the reasoning for the setting up and the background on the main character. The era the book is based is very interesting to me so to find out more details about what went on during the war had me turning the pages and kept me captivated.
Alicia Hope
Jul 11, 2013 Alicia Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written, engaging story filled with interesting characters and situations. I enjoyed being 'inserted' into the main character's life early in the story, and having the political element come to the fore toward the end of the book. The personal experiences made the political element in WILD LAVENDER more enjoyable than that in WHITE GARDENIA, and made me care about the character and want to read on.
The Casual Librarian
Felt a bit 'meh' in the 1st half of this book, but am so glad I pressed on! I loved the story & the WW2 history from a French perspective was fascinating. The characters were maybe a bit 2D if I'm gonna b picky - but I really loved this.

Never read anything from this author before (this was recommended by a bookmobile regular!), But will def read more of Belinda Alexandra's stuff!
Marion Brownlee
Much too long and drawn out. In the middle of the book the 2 main characters did an about face to what I thought they would do. The author builds up your knowledge of them so securely, that the reader is dissapointed with the characters choice. Quite frustrating, and hence UNBELIEVABLE.
I just wanted it to be OVER after 20 hours.
The second half of this book was compelling historical fiction that spans about 20 years but feels very unbalanced beside the other half of the book that was only one year... Took me a long time to get in to it but loved the second half.
Liz Allen
Sep 13, 2010 Liz Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story. It was very well written and the characters were easy to warm to. A wonderful novel I'll read again in years to come.
The Cats Mother
Overly long epic about Simone, a teenager from Provence who is sent away from her family's lavender farm by her miserable uncle to work for an elderly relative in Marseilles and finds her way into a music hall in 1920s France. She decides she wants to be a singer and the first 300 pages describes in tedious detail every step of her meteoric rise. As with White Gardenia, the young heroine is difficult to like because of her obnoxious vanity, and I now suspect this is deliberate and we are suppose ...more
I finished this book with mixed feelings, hence 3.5 stars.

Firstly, I think it was a mistake that I read this book just a couple of days after I finished Sarah’s Key however I thought it would be a different sort of setting. This is because the 2 other books of Belinda Alexandra (namely White Gardenia & Silver Wattle) were mainly set in Australia. Oh, they did start elsewhere but the main protagonists migrated to Australia so I had the same sort of assumptions for this one. I was just the tin
May 10, 2015 Irs rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
He estado unos dos meses leyendo este libro y aunque pareciera que no iba a acabarlo nunca, por fin he podido cerrarlo. Y digo por fin, por ciertas razones que paso a explicar a continuación.

Elegí este libro por mi gusto por los libros sobre viajes a otros países, aunque la estética de romance suela echarme para atrás en la mayoría de ocasiones, pero pensé "bueno, la trama pinta bastante bien, la vida de una artista y sus experiencias (buenas y malas) hasta llegar a lo más alto, y encima, de hac
Feb 27, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me a long time to read and didn't exactly keep me up reading at night, though I was very busy when I was in the middle of it. Another Belinda Alexandra book set during WW2. Beautiful imagery through her descriptions of the theatre, Paris, and the beautiful French country side. Quite a sad story, lots of romance, a happy ending.
Lauren Chater
A compelling read by Belinda Alexandra. If you like modern historical romance, you’ll probably enjoy this. The main character is likeable, but of course flawed, and I had enough empathy for her to continue reading about her to the end. The descriptions of France are beautifully researched (Ms. Alexandra is nothing if not thorough) and although she has taken liberties with certain events to make the story more engaging, she still manages to make the world feel ‘real’ for the reader. I have read q ...more
Marie Jones
Jun 13, 2015 Marie Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
I read "Silver Wattle" first and liked the style so much I decided to read "Wild Lavender". I really loved this one even more! Alexandra's books are so full of local history, interesting items, characters,story lines-they have it all!
Jackie Costello
Aug 09, 2015 Jackie Costello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. I'm not a history buff but enjoyed the historical references around the story.
Sonia Lady Acacia
En la trama de esta historia encontramos: Amor, desamor, sueños, guerra, tristeza… y es lo que hizo que me gustara tanto el libro. No se centra en una única temática.
El libro me absorbió de tal manera que me sentía parte de la historia.
La considero una gran obra para leer y recomendar por su protagonista, una chica valiente, trabajadora y decidida, dispuesta a llegar a ser una estrella, pero que nunca caerá en las tentaciones lujosas que le ponen en el camino.

Reseña completa: https://ladyacacia
Oct 02, 2015 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I preferred white gardenia. Both books were similar.
Ruth Bonetti
A good weekend read. Sagged a little in the middle when I wondered if i might have been pruned, but the momentum picked up to the climax. Evocative writing of the turbulent WW2 era.
Arlene Blackmer
May 08, 2014 Arlene Blackmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love ALL her books!
Apr 12, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very engrossing. I really loved the main character's journey; starting from very humble beginnings, and then becoming a very big success. I also enjoyed the novel as it is set in France during the 1930's - 40's, hence, you get a detailed account of occupied France during the war; which I found fascinating. I always enjoy anything written by this author - always well researched and intriguing, looking forward to Sapphire Skies!
Nov 05, 2012 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A long story, very gently unravelling. Starting with the young gal on a farm, her father dies, she's sent off to the south of France to stay with an elderly, miserly great aunt. Here she discovers the music hall, and then her life becomes entwined with the stage. Later in the book, we encounter the WW11 and we close the book at teh end of the war. It reminded me of a Sunday night drama series,something you start watching to relax by.
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Belinda Alexandra has been published to wide acclaim in Australia and internationally. She is the daughter of a Russian mother and an Australian father and has been an intrepid traveller since her youth. Her love of other cultures is matched by her passion for her home country, Australia, where she is a volunteer carer for the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES).
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“I knew what it was like to be poor, and that once you had become rich, anything was better than being poor again.” 6 likes
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