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Wild Lavender

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  1,339 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Belinda Alexandra returns with an exciting new novel as memorable as the scent of lavender.

At fourteen, Simone Fleurier is wrenched from her home on a Provençal lavender farm and sent to work in Marseilles. Her life there is hard and impoverished, but Simone discovers the music hall and a dream: to one day be a famous dancer and singer.

But when war threatens, Simone makes
Published May 1st 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2004)
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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 05, 2009 Bluesky rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
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
Nov 15, 2010 Bronwyn Rykiert rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 01, 2011 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
Heidi Blackmore
Jan 04, 2013 Heidi Blackmore rated it liked it
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.
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
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
Nov 20, 2016 Beatrix rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, romance, drama
Nagyon szép történet volt egy fiatal lányról, aki egy provence-i levendulaültetvényről indulva Párizs ünnepelt sztárja lesz. A történet az 1920-as években kezdődik és a II. világháború végéig tart. Simone egy igazi életrevaló kislány, aki megragadja az álmait és küzd azért, hogy elismert énekesnővé váljon. Az írónő végig kalauzol minket Marseille majd Párizs varieté világán. Olyan híres szereplőkkel ismertet meg, mint Josephine Baker vagy Mistinguette, akik a kor nagy dívái voltak. Akár a Toscán ...more
Oct 05, 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
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.
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.
Alicia Hope
Jun 16, 2013 Alicia Hope rated it really liked it
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.
Marion Brownlee
Apr 23, 2014 Marion Brownlee rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 30, 2012 Anji rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 10, 2015 Susiekenzie rated it liked it
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
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.
Gill Brown
Jan 26, 2016 Gill Brown rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book I loved it. One of my favourites.
Nov 12, 2009 Danielle rated it it was amazing
amazing! ~
Tricia Riley
Jan 25, 2017 Tricia Riley rated it really liked it
This was a nice read. It is the story of Simone Fleurier, a country girl on a lavender farm who through a series of events ends up being a star on the stage in Paris. When the Nazis invade Paris Simone becomes part of the resistance and risks her life to help smuggle allied soldiers out of occupied France.

The story is a good but multifaceted one. First there is the love story between her and Andre. Andre makes her a star and they have a love affair that lasts 10 years. Then there is the relation
Kristin Hedstrom
Jan 14, 2017 Kristin Hedstrom rated it it was amazing
This book was intoxicating. Wild Lavender is the story of Simone Fleurier who grew up on a lavender farm in Southern France. Conflict ensues when Simone is ripped from her family after her father's death, and sent to work for a cruel great aunt. Through her dedication and perseverance, Simone becomes a rising star who finds love, but all of her success is threatened by the ravages of war. This novel was beautifully and expertly written. Fans of historical fiction, particularly fans of The Nighti ...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
Barbara Taylor
Stunning. Moves through my favourite period of time.
Marilyn Beyer
Nov 07, 2016 Marilyn Beyer rated it it was amazing
Simone Fleurier is a young, 14-year-old girl living in Pays de Sault, Provence, in southern France in the early 1920s. Her family lives on a lavender farm, but they are very poor and in debt. Her father dies in a tragic accident, and her uncle forces her to leave the farm to work out for a battle-axe of a great aunt who lives in Marseilles. From there, the story moves somewhat slowly into the longer tale of Simone's commitment to hard work and finding herself, building the groundwork for her com ...more
Breakaway Reviewers
Jun 07, 2016 Breakaway Reviewers rated it it was amazing
The love we give never dies…
Simone Fleurier is just fourteen when her father dies and she is sent away by her uncle Gerome; in a flash her life changes forever as she has to leave her idyllic life on a lavender farm in Provence and become a skivvy for her Great Aunt Augustine in Marseilles.
Away from her loving family and the life she knew Simone is drawn to the stage door of the music hall and there she dreams of a life on the stage. Her chance comes when she is offered a job of assistant to the
Sep 25, 2012 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
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
Lauren Chater
Jan 14, 2013 Lauren Chater rated it really liked it
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
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
Feb 19, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
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!
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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
“There was a saying in Provence: "Those foolish enough to keep a snake as a companion will get bitten sooner or later".” 0 likes
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