Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Drawing Lessons

Rate this book
The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself… Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas. Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat―as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy―Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light.

352 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Patricia Sands

19 books963 followers
Bestselling author Patricia Sands lives two hours north of Toronto, Canada, in The Blue Mountains, when she isn't somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on travel, women’s issues and aging, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship.

Her award-winning 2010 debut novel, The Bridge Club, is a book-group favorite, and The Promise of Provence, which launched her three-part Love in Provence series (followed by Promises to Keep and I Promise You This), was a finalist for a 2013 USA Best Book Award and a 2014 National Indie Excellence Award, an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, and a 2015 nominee for a #RBRT Golden Rose award in the category of romance. Her fifth novel, Drawing Lessons, was released by Lake Union Publishing on October 1, 2017.
Lavender, Loss & Love, ~A Season of Surprises ~and The First Noel make up the the Villa de Violettes series, based on the Love in Provence characters.
The Bridge Club ~ Tenth Anniversary edition ~ was released in September 2021 and is now in Kindle Unlimited.

On August 25, 2022, her novel THE SECRETS WE HIDE will be released.

Sands also contributes to such Francophile websites as The Good Life France and Perfectly Provence and loves to visit Book Clubs either live or on ZOOM! Info on her website.

Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her website. There are links to her books, social media, and a monthly newsletter that has special giveaways, photography from France, and sneak peeks at her next book. She loves hearing from readers.

Patricia has led six 10-day tours of the French Riviera and the countryside of Provence. She will be co-hosting another 'Sold Out' women's tour of Provence in September 2021 with her good friend Deborah Bine aka The Barefoot Blogger.

Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads or her blog where you will find links to her books, social media, and monthly newsletter. She loves hearing from readers, so don’t hesitate to email her.

Follow her on Instagram @psands.stories

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
468 (48%)
4 stars
309 (31%)
3 stars
131 (13%)
2 stars
46 (4%)
1 star
16 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 165 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,080 reviews1,412 followers
October 5, 2017

Arianna and Ben had the perfect life...childhood sweethearts, family-owned business, and most importantly each other.

Their perfect life was shattered when Ben was diagnosed with dementia at a young age. As the disease progressed, it became more and more difficult to cope with the illness to the point of Arianna's children worrying that they were going to lose her too.

The children booked their mother a trip back to her beloved France where she had spent a month or so during college. The trip was for two weeks at an art retreat to try to take her mind off of the stress of Ben and her loss of him even though he was still living.

Arianna met wonderful people at the art retreat, but would the trip and the time away help her to realize she is alone and must learn to cope with the loneliness?

DRAWING LESSONS has absolutely marvelous descriptions that put you right into the story and into France soaking in the landscape and drooling over all the delicious-sounding food.

The characters were ones that would be great to be with. They all had their quirks as well as their endearing qualities that made the group well-rounded and enjoyable as companions.

If you enjoy traveling, reading about France's beautiful landscapes and life of the French people, French artists especially Vincent Van Gogh, making new friends, and helping another person to feel welcome and overcome a problem, then DRAWING LESSONS will be an enjoyable read for you.

DRAWING LESSONS was a beautiful, heartfelt story about truly examining your life for the pleasures you have enjoyed and the pleasures you need to look for and experience. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,939 reviews1,899 followers
September 30, 2017
A few months back I read Sands Love in Provence series and absolutely loved it, she creates realistic characters in the most beautiful settings dealing with the same type of issues and problems that many of us can relate to on some level. She takes the reader on a poignant and emotional journey that is just a gorgeous experience.

I adored her protagonist Katherine from LIP and was hoping I would have another strong connection to Arianna and I totally did! I love that Sands has heroines that are not in their twenties, they’re more mature and worldly bringing a sophistication to the story. Arianna’s situation was heart wrenching, dementia is a devastating disease and I had so much sympathy for her. When she takes a chance and heads to the artists retreat she begins a journey of personal growth and self introspection that was amazing. The rest of the people at the retreat are eclectic and interesting, they added an additional layer of depth to the story.

Sands truly brings a setting to life, from the mouthwatering, scrumptious food descriptions to the stunning landscapes she paints the prettiest picture with her prose. There was a strong, rich sense of history of Arles that was fascinating, I’m not a history buff or remotely artistic by any means but it was compelling and I definitely learned a few new things. This was a bittersweet read with plenty of life lessons and inspiration, a really positive and lovely tale.

All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com
Profile Image for Liza Perrat.
Author 16 books244 followers
October 18, 2017
When Arianna’s beloved husband, Ben develops dementia, she decides to leave Canada and take part in an art retreat in France, in an effort to quell her grief and to rekindle her interest and talent for art.

She joins a very eclectic group of artists from all over the world, each of them aiming to improve their craft. And, like Arianna, each of them with their own reasons for travelling to this stunning region, south of Arles. Together, they support and encourage each other, form friendships, coax out hard-to-share stories.

Besides the opportunity to meet some memorable, strong and very human characters, I loved the way the author wove the story around the magnificent landscape, the fauna and flora, as well as the incredible historical, cultural and architectural aspects of this region; the same beautiful buildings and scenery that Van Gogh once painted. And, of course, the usual plethora of gourmet French food and wines.

Drawing Lessons is a story to lose oneself in; an emotional but wonderful escapade to the Camargue region in France as we accompany Arianna on her journey from grief to joy. Highly recommended for all Francophiles!
Profile Image for Linda Zagon.
1,394 reviews118 followers
September 13, 2017


I just had an emotional journey as I finish "Drawing Lessons" by Patricia Sands. The genres of this novel are Fiction and Women's Fiction, with a touch of Romance.

The story takes place in Canada and in the South of France, where the author provides a detailed view of the gorgeous colorful landscape and scenery, and provides a sensory image of the feel, taste, touch, smell and sights of the region. It is a perfect place for an artist or painter to enjoy the spectacular views. The timeline of the story is in the present.

The characters are described as sensitive, creative, loving, and caring.The situations that the characters face are complicated, complex and distressing.  Ariana faces each day as if looking at a blank canvas, and sees everything in black, gray and white. Ariana, now 62 once had the passion to be an artist. As she watches her beloved husband Ben, slip into the cruel world of dementia, Ariana hopelessly stands by. Her family encourages Ariana to go to the Southern part of France,  and found herself through Art.

Ariana does meet new friends, and has new experiences, and as the short time passes is in the process of creating and accepting a new life for herself.

I appreciate that the author describes dementia, and how devastating at first it is to the patient, and family members. How incredibly frustrating and sad it is to see the person you love physically be present, but no longer emotionally aware, I also  love the way the author discusses the importance of family support, friends, love, and hope. I also like the way the author describes individual growth and acceptance to live life. I would recommend this story for readers who look to see the positive in life, when there is negative.  I received a copy of this ARC for my honest review.
Profile Image for Laura.
676 reviews143 followers
March 15, 2022
The premise was interesting. A 62 year old woman decides, encouraged by her family to attend a two week artist's workshop in France. Back in Toronto her husband is in a care facility as dementia slowly takes his life. His wife and family cared for him tenderly for as long as possible. If you like excessively descriptive novels, this is for you. To me having every thought, feeling, everything seen, said, smelled and eaten described in detail dragged out the narrative.
Profile Image for Marla.
1,262 reviews224 followers
September 7, 2017
Patricia Sands writes beautiful stories that transport the reader to the Provence area of France. She knows how to make the area part of the story. The group of artists who spend two weeks together was a very hodgepodge of personalities who got along great. I enjoyed learning a lot about the area. What I had a hard time with was two people barely knowing each other and one changes their life because of this short encounter. I just don't believe stuff like that happens. I know it's fiction but it felt rushed at the end. Other than that, anything by Patricia Sands is enjoyable.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,631 reviews139 followers
October 8, 2019
62 year old woman's (Arianna) life changed drastically when husband (Ben) was diagnosed with dementia.

"Art is to console those who are broken by life." - Vincent Van Gogh

Twice, Arianna and Ben's lives were rocked to the core. The first time was over 20 years ago when Arianna's father, Nikos, was killed in a car accident forcing Ben to take over the family's Greek bistro and Arianna to quit her art historian job to help. The second time was in the present when Ben was diagnosed with Pick's Disease, or frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Arianna cared for Ben until he became unaware of his surroundings and no longer remembered her or their children, Faith and Tadeus (Tad). As a respite from reality, Arianna embarked on a solo trip to the South of France and took drawing lessons hoping to reignite her passion for art. What better place to do that than where Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted? While there, will she find herself again?

Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night:

Much to my surprise, there was a snippet of history about Buffalo Bill, his visit to France, and his grave site in Golden, Colorado which I visited this past summer with my son and friends!

I am a sucker for books about artists, and this one was no exception! I had to stop reading many times so I could look up photos of locations mentioned, or Van Gogh's paintings. Upon completion, I am left feeling inspired to create art of my own, and/or to visit France ... or hopefully BOTH in tandem, just like Arianna!

Town Square Fountain/Obelisk in Arles, France:

Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for a free advance copy of this book! All opinions are my own.

"And perhaps we are all [broken] in one way or another. Maybe that's why we are all here. Maybe that's why we want to draw and paint and create." - Jacques to Arianna

Location: (1) Greektown in Toronto, Canada, (2) Lesvos, Greece, and (3) the South of France
Profile Image for Mary.
643 reviews
January 22, 2018
I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. Reading this book was an emotional experience for me. I am dealing with a loved one, my mother, and dementia. When I first began reading I almost had to put it aside, it really affected me. But I kept on. I'm really glad I did. Well written, with amazing characters and scenery and food , all so well done I could see it, smell, it. taste it. This is a wonderful book filled with so much information about art, the Camargue horses, the idyllic way of life in this lovely town. The love story while predictable, was sweet and really well done. This book was inspiring, gave me hope, and yes, peace. It was also nice to see an older couple having a shot at happiness. It made me long for the lush French countryside (as I imagine it, anyway, I've never been) And as soon as I finished, I ordered some salt from Camargue. Yes, I did.
Profile Image for Barb Taub.
Author 10 books63 followers
August 24, 2017
What do you do after your happily-ever-after? Arianna Papadoupoulos-Miller has already had the great love of her life. She and her beloved husband Ben raised their children, welcomed their grandchildren, and worked hard to make their family restaurant a success. Just as they’re poised to reap the rewards of all that, they receive devastating news. Ben is diagnosed with a rapidly deteriorating form of dementia that robs him of his memories and leaves him in a vegetative state with nothing left of the person he’d once been. Arianna is left in limbo—not yet a widow, but without the love that formed the center of her life and her identification—she’s also lost so much of her identity that she retreats to a shell where the only emotion she allows herself is grief.

But the family that she and Ben had nurtured refuses to let her life end with her husband’s decline. They encourage her to turn back to an earlier love, the art career she’d abandoned decades earlier when she joined Ben in running their restaurant. Reluctantly she agrees to apply for attendance at a two-week art workshop in Arles, France, chosen because of its association with her art idol, Van Gogh, but also because she and Ben had never been there and so she would be making new memories.

But despite her brave attempt, Arianna finds herself closed off from the art she’d once loved, consumed by grief, but also by shame and anger. She’s prepared to give up on the course and return home. As she hesitates, the other workshop students and artists reach out to her. But just as much, she finds that the setting—with its beautiful old towns, history, culture, and especially its food and scenery—reaches out directly to her soul. Like the sunflowers that turn incrementally to face the sun, she slowly and reluctantly opens to possibilities and even to love.

Drawing Lessons is a book that takes on difficult subjects. Is it right to embrace new experiences, visit new places, take up new passions, when your old life is still unresolved? Does romance belong to older women? Can new love—beautiful, romantic, love in all its fragile beauty—be right when the husband you’ve loved for four decades is still alive?

Starting with scenes showing what Arianna has lost—the love and support of the man who knows her better than anyone else—Drawing Lessons sets a deliberately slow and careful pace. As family traditions and normal life disappear, Arianna’s world becomes a sterile place. Friends, companionship, even the Thanksgiving dinner they all loved are abandoned.

What I loved about Drawing Lessons is the way Arianna is seduced back to life by the beauty of the French countryside, the stimulation of the food, the other students, and slowly, incrementally, her art.

[QUOTE] “Fields exploded with the bright colors of purple-pink valerian, yellow broom, and red poppies, lending an almost festive air to the landscape. She inhaled the colors, already planning her painting. How could she not?” [END QUOTE]

Their workshop is visited by Jacques de Vileneuve, a famous artist who also invites them to be his guests and experience his other passion, as gardian (cowboy) in the Camargue river delta preserves. I enjoyed learning about the Camargue, with its iconic Camarguais white horses, colorful flamingos, famous bulls, and the gardians‘ traditional life. It was easy to see how Arianna would be captivated by the setting, and especially by Jacques. But I also loved the well-developed three dimensional characters of her fellow students. They are a diverse group whose mutual reservations about each other slowly gell into true friendship over shared meals, experiences, and art.

Drawing Lessons is a different kind of love story. But if you like romance with complex, believable, mature characters in a gorgeous setting—plus great food!—I highly recommend it. I just have to warn you that you’ll be VERY hungry by the time you’re done.

***I received this book from the publisher or author to facilitate an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
Profile Image for Becky.
623 reviews109 followers
September 22, 2017
I received this book as an advance copy to provide an honest review.
I thought I had read that there was something about Van Gogh in this book.....I have been a huge Van Gogh fan for many years & while that made me look forward to read the book, I had no idea how much or how little a part he was in this story.
The book is mostly about Arianna, a 60+ woman who lives a lovely life, has a wonderful marriage, family etc, something sad is happening in her life & her family sends her off on a trip to get back to her art interests & to take some much needed time for herself. She goes to the South of France, to Arles, & attends an artists retreat, in the heart of where Van Gogh once lived.
The story is truly picturesque. The visualization is just breathtaking & beautiful. I felt I could smell the flowers & taste the food.
We meet the rest of the people on this retreat & we learn a little about each of them, but the parts I loved best were the descriptions of the area, the food, the towns people & the history of the area & then add Van Gogh into it all & I just loved it!
I have never highlighted so many words, places, & sayings in any book before.
This was my first book by Patricia Sands, but I look forward to reading many more by her!
I did receive an advance copy from NetGalley & the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Claire.
663 reviews284 followers
May 19, 2019
I read The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands and loved it. Her ability to immerse the reader into the emotional lives of her characters is thoroughly engaging and insightful and the stories of those women characters and the event that brings them all together to share parts of their history together has long stayed with me.

Drawing Lessons offers something a little different, in that this time the main character, 62 year old Arianna, leaves her Toronto home, family and troubles behind, somewhat reluctantly, but with the blessings and encouragement of those she's left behind, to try and heal a little from the heartbreak of what she has left behind her.

It is an interesting an provocative premise. Her husband has been diagnosed with a debilitating dementia and her family have encouraged her to go on this two week artist's retreat/workshop in the countryside and landscape that inspired Van Gogh, Arles to produce over 300 works of art in the frenzied sixteen months he spent there, until driven out by the locals.
"In his letters to his brother Theo, he said drawing helped him combat his depression. He knew, as we do, that working en plein air, we are able to capture light and images more quickly and from that create our interpretation."

She hasn't painted for a long time and is wracked by guilt at leaving. Slowly she will find her way, through the surroundings and with the eclectic band of artists that have come together to reaquaint with their inner muse. And then there is the strange allure of the man from the Camargue.

Living in this area and knowing how much the author loves the south of France and how much of her writing is informed by her own experiences of living a few months of every year here, I wasn't surprised to feel how immersed in the area this book made me feel. She really does capture something of the essence of being in this region of Provence, in the landscape and the town of Arles, adding something of the fantasy of a mysterious artist, horseman, the romance element.

It's a timely read if you're interested in Van Gogh, as this year there was the film Eternity's Gate that came out and he is also the subject of the new show running from March 2019 - January 2020 at Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux de Provence, a truly spectacular and original depiction of works of art, set to music, displayed on the inner walls of an old stone quarry.

Certainly, if you haven't been here and have any interest in open air painting, it's a read that transports you to this place and ignites the imagination and is likely to make Francophile readers wish to visit.

The cover couldn't be more appropriate, it being May and everywhere you go at the moment, the poppies are in full bloom.
Profile Image for Andrea Stoeckel.
2,674 reviews108 followers
October 12, 2017
(I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility)
Read 9/23-10/3 review postponed until 10/12 as part of FranceBookTour

( I recieved this advanced copy from NetGalley and voluntarily chose to review it. )

“The gifts we give each other at Thanksgiving are priceless,” Ben reminded Arianna now. “The best kind—love, laughter, and lots of delicious things to eat.”

Ben and Arianna have been part of a wonderful community, running a welcoming family restaurant and raising a multi generational family.

And then, Ben is slapped with a terminal diagnosis. And the world changes as Arianna steps forward to become the head of her family.Watching Ben deteriorate by inches as he retreats into himself is devestating. Her family and friends are supportive but this is a trail Arianna must forge herself.

Coming across a travel opportunity she joins a group of artists varied in their experience but all converging in Provence to learn more about van Gough and have some interesting experiences most tourists don’t get. Each participant brings their own lives with them, and adds to the bouillabaisse of the splendid table. Arianna becomes stronger and more open as her life begins to reopen. Every day of the trip is a reminder that life goes on, and it’s Fall can be as wonderful as its Spring. But for that to happen, her closed in soul must find its own way back to the “...love, laughter and good things to eat”

This is a story about the invasion of an impeding death and how it affects the rest of life. It is a hopeful understanding of an attempt at mindfulness and the courage to “soldier on”. However, it is a lovely saying “goodbye” to your love and turning towards a hope filled future.

As a minister and elder advocate, I applaud Ms.Sands treats these subjects with tenderness. Having red almost everything she has written, I am in awe of the mirror she holds up to the human psyche. I cried myway through the beginning of this well researched situation, and cried my way through the long goodbye that ends it. The tears in the middle were sweet and full of life, color and life. This is a book to be cherished. 5+ Stars and a spot on my list of the best books of 2017.
1 review
August 31, 2017
Although I missed the cast of characters from the Provence series, this new novel from Patricia Sands did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed following Arianna along her journey of recovery and renewal. Once again, the author's writing makes us feel that we are enjoying the spectacular countryside and food along with the characters. Every person in the book has a story and there is something to relate to in every one. I found myself thinking of them long after the book had ended. Once again, a great pick for a book club - lots of relevant issues to debate!
Profile Image for Christine Nolfi.
Author 25 books3,859 followers
June 21, 2018
Set in the magical French countryside, Drawing Lessons tells a remarkable tale of separation and loss. Patricia Sands unfolds a passionate story of self-discovery and learning to love again that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
Profile Image for Letty.
626 reviews
October 1, 2017
What do you do when life throws you a curve ball that you didn't see coming and just shatters your world into pieces? That is what happens to Arianna when her husband is diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia. Devastated and heartbroken as she sees what the disease is doing to her husband that she can no longer care for and who no longer recognizes her, she decides, with her family's encouragement, to go to Arles, France for a two-week art course. I loved what her daughter Faith says to her at the airport, "Let the sadness go, Mama. Let it go. Reach for that light in Provence." It isn't easy for her to let that sadness go right away but once she is there in Arles, she meets an amazing group of people in the art course that in their own ways help her in rediscovering not only her love and talent for art but also to live and enjoy life to its fullest.

I loved the characters in this books, and the vivid descriptions of the setting and food in France made me feel I was right there experiencing it with them. One of my favorite parts in the book was when they were stuck indoors because of a mistral and they decide to cook a meal together. They laughed and danced to music by the Gypsy Kings (a favorite group of mine) while prepping and cooking and just had a marvelous time together. I was happy for Arianna and her time there in France as she seemed to be getting some much needed emotional healing. The writing is beautifully done, and I let out a big sigh when I finished the book. I actually did not want it to end as I wanted to continue on in Arianna's journey.

This is the first book by Patricia Sands that I have read and it will certainly not be my last. Her writing is just superb. I highly recommend this beautiful book.

I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
1 review1 follower
September 22, 2017
First, let me make a confession... I am a book "gobbler". I read super fast, generally only needing a day or so to read a book the size of Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands. However, THIS book is the literary version of a wonderful 7 course meal, prepared to perfection, with every little bit of it a delight to savor! Patricia's wonderful imagery and detail forced me to slow down and really enjoy every bite of this beautiful book. Additionally, the struggles that Arianna, the main character, experiences resonated deeply with thing that are going on in my life (and, I would assume, the lives of many of my baby boomer compatriots). Patricia's perfectly articulated descriptions of Arianna's thought processes as she worked through the issues she is facing rang very true to life. All of this, coupled with a cast of interesting characters, interesting descriptions of the life of Vincent van Gogh and the history of the region near Arles, France, combine to provide a reading experience that made me feel like I had been on a two week vacation myself! I'm not going to spoil the story by going into more detail than that, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bravo, Patricia!

I was provided an ARC by NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Profile Image for Grass monster.
519 reviews14 followers
October 9, 2017
The Blurb :
Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas.
Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light.

My Thoughts :
We meet husband and wife, Ben and Arianna, who have been married for nearly 40 years. Life takes a sudden turn when Ben is diagnosed with Dementia. Arianna cant bear to see her husbands decent and after doing her very best for him she can no longer look after him as his condition worsens. With her familys encouragment they book for her to go away to France to rediscover her love and passion of Art in a form of a Course for 2 weeks. She needs this break to have some much needed time to herself and to be at peace. There she meets fellow Art lovers and they help her see that life is too short and its for the living.
Set against the beautiful backdrop that is Provence in France, Patricia Sands has filled this story with such vivid descriptions and its wonderful surroundings. Capturing the culture, history, cusine, smells, colours and Vincent Van Goghs paintings with lusture.
There are some great charactors in this and they really come alive as we progress through the story.
Ariannas situation was relatable for many and heart wrenching at the same time. Dementia is a devastating disease, that effects everyone involved especially family and friends. The Dementia has been covered thoughtfully and with care. A beautiful written book with a mixture of sadness, joy and self discovery.
Looking forward to more from Patricia Sands.

Profile Image for Carol Boyer.
437 reviews21 followers
September 1, 2017
This richly beautiful book - I savored every page, it filled my heart with things I love, art, and a poignant story of finding oneself anew through grief. There are magnificent descriptions of Arles, France, and the Camargue, the horses, the culture, the azure to pink 'water rose' sunsets of the Mediterranean not to mention all the food choices of cheese, wine, deserts mignardises and the incredible passages about Van Gogh. Arinana is torn with guilt leaving her husband Ben who has dementia, to attend a two week artists workshop but she knows this is a chance of a lifetime. I felt her sorrow yet loved her strength to follow her heart with her families blessings. She finds a symbiotic companionship with Jacques de Villeneuve. He is an artist who helps her re-find her passion of sketching, drawing painting, in the beauty of this country, and in sailing with him to Cote Bleue. I loved this quote by Araina - "This is my reality today. My moments of happiness. By choice." Thanks to the author, publisher, the Ninja Review Team and Net Galley for letting me read this outstanding book. I truly loved it and highly recommend it as a book you want to stay with and not have it end.
Profile Image for Lisa G. Hudson.
596 reviews29 followers
October 1, 2017

Drawing Lessons is tantalizing! Author Patricia Sands paints exquisite word pictures that takes her readers through the emotional journey of Arianna's life. She has lived a fabulous life up until the last few years when her husband & soulmate Ben developed dementia. She once was an accomplished artist and she decides to take a class in France to renew her interest and hopefully renew her spirits as well. She is joined together with other artists who are craving to improve their craft under the careful tutelage of several gifted artists. The group is very diversified with people from the US, Canada and England and they all have very different backgrounds for their art skills. Sands takes readers on a phenomenal adventure as she tells the stories of these artists coming together, finding common ground, encouraging one another and forging friendships for a lifetime! They begin to see how the gorgeous areas of France - the flora, fauna, food, culture, history, and people - influence art past and present. Sands' superlative descriptions will have you feeling as though you're seeing the breathtaking sights of flamingos flying over iridescent marshes, seeing the beautiful old buildings and natural scenery that Van Gogh painted and tasting all of the gastronomic delights at each meal or snack. I was provided an ARC by NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Profile Image for Bambi Rathman.
323 reviews47 followers
September 19, 2017
This book is artwork in words. Patricia Sands gift of the descriptive settings in France was a visual I could see in my mind so clearly. I enjoyed the different characters and their personalities, too.

Sometimes getting away from a situation or circumstance that's overwhelming can open up new opportunities to find old passions and interests long forgotten or put on the back burner. It's a new opportunity to find ways to face an unknown future. This book brought that message to me. The characters were all searching for something in their lives and they were brought together at a time and place that was meant to be. They helped each other discover things about themselves to be able to move forward in their lives. There was laughter, crying, caring and love for each other as they journeyed together.

I enjoyed the book very much and believe it's a great book to add to your "to read" list.

TY Patricia Sands for the great book!
Profile Image for Ginger Pollard.
376 reviews3 followers
October 9, 2017
This book is a Goodreads win. Thank you, Goodreads. Let me start by saying some people will find this book wonderful. Please don't hesitate to read it. For me it was just ok. It wasn't what I was expecting and it's rather sad. Being in a little bit of a depression myself, I'm not the best person to read nor review this book. Maybe I'll revisit it again one day and love it. I gave it three solid stars because the author is a great writer.
Profile Image for Judith Keim.
Author 93 books858 followers
September 11, 2018
Having just finished Patricia Sand's DRAWING LESSONS, I'm left with a sense of loss that I won't be sharing Adrianna's travels through France and sharing one delicious meal after another with her. The book is a delight, as are the characters in it. You'll root for them all as they progress from the "now" into the future.
Profile Image for Gaele.
4,079 reviews80 followers
October 6, 2017
Patricia Sands instantly brings the reader into Arianna’s story, an older woman with a wonderful marriage and family, and a terrible dilemma. Her beloved husband has been slowly slipping away from her with a diagnosis of dementia. As many of her generation did, perhaps with not as much success, her own life has been enmeshed in her love for him, their love for one another, and their family. She’s truly struggling with her own what now moments, and the guilt that comes with her actually wondering what will happen after Ben is no longer with her. How will she exist? Who will she be after years of beloved wife and mother? Can she redefine herself, accounting for the what was in this new what is?

An artist’s retreat to Arles, in the Provence region of France is a gift from her family: the place that inspired so much of Van Gogh’s work just might allow her to relax and find some peace, while rediscovering her artistic side. And here is where the magic of place, and the singular purpose of ‘seeing’ what is around you, even when everything else in your ‘real life’ is in tumult takes hold. Arianna finds herself relaxing and hopeful, two unknowns in her recent past, as the food, the landscape and even the other artists’ quiet friendships and encouragement allow those first tentative steps to rediscovering her own potential purpose in life.

Sands does so many things right in this book: Arianna is compelling and easy to relate to as she shares her confusion, her guilt and the loss. It’s easy to imagine (even if one hasn’t experienced it) the soul-deep despair while watching the person you know best start to forget you, your special moments, and even your name. As the magic of Provence work around, and then finally on her as she starts to lose herself in the process, and her thoughts are not consumed with what will happen, as she learns to see the now: drawing inspiration from the landscape as interest and hope start to grow for her. Sands brings the place, scents, tastes and magic of Provence to your fingertips, spurring you on for your own sojurn to the south of France.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Review first appeared at I am, Indeed
Profile Image for John’aLee .
212 reviews34 followers
April 20, 2022
Loved this book except for a few things I will mention at the end.

I had a hard time at first staying with the book, but I’m so glad I did. It was a pleasure hanging out with these characters at an art retreat in France, following in the footsteps of Van Gogh, all the while bringing more meaning and depth to their own art. The book has made me want to do just what they did-on the bucket list it goes.

Cons: I didn’t like the adultery aspect of it in the end, and felt it was so unnecessary. We live in a culture of ‘do whatever makes you happy’, setting God’s laws aside. Adrianna could have waited until Ben died to pursue the love interest. It would have been much more honorable.

Also, it is becoming more and more prevalent in contemporary fiction, to put some sort of gay character or couple into the narrative. I feel like it is a liberal agenda to desensitize humanity and make it acceptable, when in God’s eyes it clearly is not.

If you are an artist or aspiring artist, if you love France, if you like doing things completely out of your comfort zone, I think you would enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Keith Sickle.
Author 4 books53 followers
October 4, 2017
At an artists’ retreat just outside of the ancient Roman city of Arles, Arianna begins to rediscover her love of painting…and of life. She is helped along by her fellow artists, a colorful crew that becomes a supportive family over the course of the book. My favorite character was Bertram, a rather pompous Englishman who reveals surprising depth as the story unfolds.

This is a tale of love, grief and renewal, brilliantly told. All of us who have lost a loved one can understand the confusion and darkness that cloud Arianna’s mind. But slowly, petit à petit, she opens herself to new possibilities, connecting with her newfound friends and allowing the artist within her to reawaken. It’s a beautiful book, a mix of sadness, joy and discovery, as Arianna “reaches for that light in Provence.” By the end, her life has begun to move forward again.

I live part of the year in Provence and I tip my cap to Patricia Sands for her magnificent descriptions. She does a masterful job of capturing the glorious colors, sights and smells of this most beautiful part of France. From the weekly outdoor markets to the charming hilltop villages to the wild horses of the Camargue, Sands makes you feel as if you are in Provence. And she gives the mouth-watering Provençal food a starring role, reflecting the way that so much of French life revolves around the table.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Christie Sitterly.
259 reviews11 followers
May 10, 2018
Devastatingly tragic, yet beautifully hopeful. Patricia Sands’ novel Drawing Lessons is a story about a wife forced to face difficult circumstances. She has lost herself over the years, and gets the opportunity to attend an art course in Europe. There, she meets colorful characters and lets go of things beyond her control. She finds truth and hope in her art, and embarks on a new adventure. Sands’ characters are unique and inspiring, and her story gives the reader hope that happiness can, indeed, be found even when life’s curveballs attempt to thwart us.
Profile Image for Girl Well Read.
526 reviews56 followers
November 2, 2020
A special thank you to the author, Patricia Sands, for generously providing me with a copy to review.

Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop. She is full of anticipation, but weighted down with the guilt of leaving her husband, Ben, back in Toronto���he is literally slipping away before her very eyes.

After her husband's devastating diagnosis with dementia and caring for him with little time for herself, Arianna's family have convinced her to take some time away. It is in Arles where Arianna rediscovers her passion for art, finding comfort in her her fellow artists and from the guest lecturer, Jacques de Villeneuve.

Drawing Lessons is one woman's moving journey to seek the permission of her heart to create a new life for herself.

I had the sincerest pleasure of meeting Patricia, totally by chance, at a launch party for another author. She is absolutely delightful and her warmth and wonderful personality comes through on the page—her books are like reading letters from a cherished friend.

Sands' intimate portrait of Arles will have readers falling in love with the city. Rich in art history, most notably, van Gogh, it is the perfect canvas for her story. Patricia carefully and compassionately writes about dementia, a disease that is sadly so prevalent today. It is through painting that Arianna begins the healing process and she is able to come to terms with her husband's condition. Art is the perfect vehicle for Arianna's story to unfold.

What I love most about the book is reading about characters that are not widely published—a mature woman as well as someone who is on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is refreshing. Thank you, Patricia, we need more stories with diverse characters.

Drawing Lessons is a reminder to enjoy the pleasures life has to offer, even the simple ones.
632 reviews17 followers
December 3, 2018
This is the story of Arianna and Ben, who after raising children and running a successful business are given life - changing news, Ben has been diagnosed with Dementia. Arianna has devoted her life to Ben and her family and as Ben's condition declines, Arianna has to find who she is without Ben. At her children's urging Arianna takes a 2 week art class in France! As the reader, we learn about the beautiful French landscape while Arianna learns about herself and her future.
This is a hard subject to read and a harder subject to write about. For me, it was very personal , my parents are dealing with this now and Patricia Sands writing gave me such insight into how Dementia affects everyone in the family.
This was my first Patricia Sands book and it will definitely not be my last!
Profile Image for Elisabeth  - Comet Readings .
104 reviews11 followers
March 29, 2018
Drawing Lessons is a fantastic portrait of a woman in her sixties, who suddenly must face suffering and loss, and fight again for her dreams. Patricia Sands has wonderfully presented all her characters. She has drawn them, like in a painting. While I was reading, I could actually see them, and all her descriptions have such strength and delicacy.

Years before Arianna Papadopoulos Miller have abandoned all her artistic dreams when she and her husband Ben decided to manage the family restaurant which represented all the hopes of her father, Nikos and the anchor to their Greek origins. Now with Ben’s illness, everything is going to change, and after about two years in dealing with this situation, her family encouraged her to take part in an artists’ workshop in Arles, France, to finally rediscover her dreams and herself.

This challenge could be a new beginning for Arianna, a deserved second chance to observe in a new perspective all the events which have colored her life, both joyful and painful. In Arles, Arianna will learn to share her story and emotions with new courage, thanks to a wonderful group of artists that will live side by side in the amazing atmosphere of the Mas des Artistes. Juliette, Bertie, Barbara, Joan, Lisa … you will like every individual of this colorful group. In fact, each one with different and sometimes painful experiences will receive and give support to the others, not only in the artistic field.

I really enjoyed reading about Arianna and her family and all the love and enthusiasm which made the Papadopoulos Miller family bond so special. Patricia Sands is really an acute and emotional observer. I appreciate her talent in describing with so many details not only her characters’ personalities but also the beautiful panorama, that give you a perfect glimpse of Arles and surroundings. While reading, I can feel all her enthusiasm and love for the places and the situations she has described, and that made me smile so many times.

Drawing Lessons is a very heartwarming and touching novel about love, dreams, being faithful to open our heart and soul to new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to rediscover all the colors’ beauty and their numerous nuances.

I also posted my review at CometReadings.com
Profile Image for Gena - My Book Reviews for You.
514 reviews17 followers
January 21, 2018
This was a very moving novel, both heartbreaking and beautiful! I enjoyed the colorful way that Greece and France were described. Arianna’s husband, Ben, is diagnosed with dementia. They have shared a life together for almost forty years, spending the last twenty years running their family restaurant together. Arianna and Ben cling to their love and their memories throughout his diagnosis. Over time, Ben’s condition worsens and he no longer knows any of them. Their children, Faith and Tadeus, and Arianna’s mother, Sophia, come together to help take care of him and to help each other deal with his condition. Sophia, Faith, and Tadeus urge Arianna to take some time to travel to Arles, France, to an art workshop. They hope that Arianna can bring back the joy she used to find with art. And they also want Arianna to find some inner peace with Ben’s deteriorating condition. During her travel to France, Arianna reminisces of the Greek island where she grew up. She thinks back of the Greek heritage, traditions, and food that she grew up with. Once Arianna arrives at the art workshop in Arles, she meets the couple who will host them in their home and the other artists that will attend the workshop. Over the next two weeks, the group will work on their art and visit the surrounding area. Patricia describes the special places, scenery, animals, and flowers of France in vibrant detail. Arianna and the others eagerly take notes and photos of everything they see, anxious to use it in their artwork. Besides working on their art daily, the group also enjoys their meals every day. Their meals are described in mouth-watering detail. Arianna shares meaningful conversations with the other men and women attending the workshop. The special friendships that are formed help Arianna with her emotional journey. Arianna returns back to her home in Toronto a different woman, ready to let hope and joy back into her life.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 165 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.