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The French House: Gripping and heartbreaking French historical fiction

4.61  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The vineyards stretched away in every direction as he plucked a perfect red grape, sparkling with dew. “Marry me,” he’d said. “We’ll run these vineyards together.” But now he is gone. There is no one to share the taste of the first fruit of the harvest. And her troubles are hers alone…

In sleepy little Reims, France, grieving Nicole Clicquot watches her daughter play amongs
Kindle Edition
Published March 4th 2021 by Bookouture
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Average rating 4.61  · 
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Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Champagne Widow by Helen Fripp is a 2021 historical fiction release I found on NetGalley. I've never read anything by the author but champagne is one of my favorite beverages--and I've tasted and compared Moet and Clicquot and others--so I picked up a copy around the holidays. This week, I dove in. It took 4 days to finish the book. I read about a quarter each night before bed and enjoyed the writing style and overall story. Let's get into the details...

The tale occurs during the French Revo
Srivalli Rekha
4.3 stars

The book is based on the true story of none other than Nicole Clicquot, the woman who ran the world’s greatest champagne house, Veuve Clicquot, when the world thought the business was no place for a lady. Of course, I wasn’t aware of this when I requested the book. The blurb and cover were enough to attract my attention.
The book deals with the life of Nicole Clicquot since she was 11 years old (1790) until the time things start to look hopeful after Russia defeats Napolean and decides
Brenda Feinen
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-netgalley
Wow! An incredible historical novel about a woman who refused to be anyone other than herself. I have a massive book hangover.
I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Nicole refuses to be young lady - she runs with the boys, breathes the soil and falls madly in love. Together Francois and Nicole lay the foundation for a timeless vineyard.
After his death, Nicole refuses to quietly live in the country. The vineyard becomes her life focus, her obsession to overcome a
Renita D'Silva
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary. Outstanding. This book moved and absorbed me. The story of an absolutely amazing woman so beautifully told. The writing is just wow! Sensuous and fizzy and glorious as the finest champagne. It is vivid and evocative and transports you immediately and completely to the chalky vineyards heady with ripening grapes. Beautifully researched, this book is exquisite. Absolute perfection. A masterpiece. One of my favourite reads ever. Cannot wait for more from this author. Do read this one ...more
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2021
This book takes place during Napoleon’s conquest of Europe. It follows Nicole and her conquest to make the best champagne. Not only does she have to contend with her husband’s melancholy, a rival’s jealousy but also trying to get her champagne to market.
It was an interesting story, Nicole is a strong woman . She has some characters who at times help but also seem to follow their own agenda.
I enjoyed the story, learned a few things about champagne along the way.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publi
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not really very good at writing reviews but I picked this book up and couldn’t put it down fascinating story
Angela Petch
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“You are not just any woman. You are Nicole Clicquot.

The opening paragraph, where a young girl called Nicole is at a cross roads – should she take the shaded alleyway of the “obedient girls” or the “forbidden detour” across the sunny open square? – introduces us to our feisty heroine. Yes, readers: she goes down the more exciting path and continues to do so throughout this beautifully written, fascinating novel.
I loved her passionate conviction and her adventures. And to know that they are mostl
Joanne D'Arcy
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the debut novel from this author and when I picked it up, I knew little of the subject matter and the history of Champagne. And if truth be known I am not a big fan of it - the drink not the book.

The book is simply fizzing with romance, intrigue, war, grief and the history of one of the most well know brands known across the globe.

Nicole as a young girl liked nothing more than running around the village and knew all the locals to chat to, she became friendly with people below her elevate
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Unlike most ladies in nineteenth century France, Nicole was a wild-child tom-boy who refused to marry for society but married François Clicquot for love, and to live her life her own way. Theirs was a love that grew like the vineyards they tended together, but also one fraught with depression and loss, leaving her alone in a world where women were not welcome.

The vineyards, terroir and Champagne making process are all easily visualised in this book, along with the French customs of the era. The
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wealthy but headstrong Nicole marries for love. Her spurned lover becomes her bitter rival and the feud continues after her husband's death. Nicole defies convention to take over the business and founds Veuve Clicquot. Can Nicole and her brand survive personal and political war...?
The French House is an historical novel set at the time of the French Revolution and its aftermath. Nicole was a real person and I loved reading about her true history. It was interesting to see how Helen Fripp has fic
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-reads, netgalley
Helen Fripp, in ‘The Champagne Widow,’ expertly unveils the incredible true story of Veuve Clicquot, a young widow who single-handedly built a struggling vineyard into one of the world’s greatest champagne houses.

Fripp's prose instantly and completely immersed me in a beautiful romance, heartbreak and the passion of Madame Clicquot. The author’s ability to whisk me away to the vineyards of post-Revolutionary France and bring to life a feisty, determined heroine who blazed her own path in a man’
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Reims, France - 1789

Nicole Ponsardin is seeing the pitiful offerings at the market and how results of the Revolution have spread from Paris to Reims. Crops are dying in the fields, buildings are crumbling. Aristocrats are eating well while workers starve. Now, the workers are planning to gather up the aristocrats and cut off their heads via the guillotine. An altercation breaks out between the starving locals and a rich Comte, resulting in the death of the husband of Nicole’s friend, Natasha. Th
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
There were so many things I loved about this book. Most importantly, I love a story about a badass woman entrepreneur who defies all expectations and makes herself a success, especially one that’s based on true events. The French House follows the story of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, the woman behind the famous Veuve Clicquot champagne. Nicole was going to run the vineyard with her husband, but she’s tragically widowed just years into their marriage. Everyone expected her to give up and sell the vine ...more
Corinne Rodrigues
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book transported me to another world and I was completely taken up with a heroine who really plunges into everything with a feistiness that is so admirable.

Set in post-Revolutionary France, the book opens with a high spirit young Nicole who witnesses the slaughter of local townsmen at the hands of an aristocrat and his men. Coming from privileged background herself, Nicole cannot stomach this injustice and vows to put an end to it.

As she grows up, she breaks off the man her family arranges
Poonguzhahli A
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The champagne widow is a historical fiction based in Paris and Champagne during the French Revolution and the Napoleon War of the late 17th century.

The story follows the real life of winemaker Nicole Clicquot. As stated by the author, it is a mixture of facts and fiction.

This is the first book of this genre I have ever read. So, going into it I was not sure how much I will enjoy this book. But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

From the beginning, the book managed to hold my attention comp
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
THE FRENCH HOUSE by Helen Fripp offers a fictionalised depiction of the life of a most remarkable woman: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot. The Widow Clicquot (Veuve Clicquot – yes, just like you see on the brand’s Champagne bottles today) is known for having revolutionised Champagne production methods that are still in use today.

Beyond her skill as a wine maker, Madame Clicquot was an astute and ultimately successful business person in a time when women had few rights to property or business. It was also a
Tanya E
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
I know little about The French Revolution as I was never really a history buff. I know even less about Champagne or how it is made. So this book is probably an odd one for me to choose, but one of my goals for 2021 is to reach into genres that I normally wouldn’t read. The cover was so gorgeous that I felt compelled to raise my hand when the blog tour offer came in. I’m so glad that I did!

This historical fiction centers around Nicole Clicquot, the Widow of Reims, the real-life owner of Veuve Cli
Isabelle D
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The famous vintner Nicole "Veuve Clicquot" is an excellent main character for a historical novel. No matter your level of interest in wines (I don't even drink any alcohol at all), the tale of her eventful life is really worth reading. The novel starts in 1789, when Nicole was 11, and skips years between chapters to show us other key moments of her youth. Then, by the time she's become the widow that gives her name to the reknown champagne, the reader can only feel heartbroken for her loss and a ...more
Rachel Glass
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel. 

This historical story about the woman behind one of the world's most famous champagne producers hits all the right notes. The writing style is not clunky or overly modern, but also accessible, Nicole is a feisty and likeable (though flawed) heroine, and there are plenty of twists and turns to her story.

I didn't know anything about how Veuve Clicquot got its name so it was fascinating to read this story of an unusual time and an
Joanne Wisniewski
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The story of the life of Nicole Clicquot and her struggles to make and sell her champagne during the French Revolution and early 1800s just draws the reader into a whole different world. She refused to marry Moët,her parents choice and instead marries for love. They have one daughter and she stays by her husband’s side and learns all about making champagne, a bonus for the reader. When she becomes a young widow she could have sold out and lived a comfortable life but instead she decides to keep ...more
Helen Gauthier
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book about a strong French woman Barb Nicole Clicquot and her struggle to make her champagne vineyard profitable. She had to stand up to Möet, another champagne producer, and to the superstitions and morés of the town of Reims who didn't want a woman-run company to succeed. She endured many trials, and kept persevering; she refused to give up.

I actually googled Veuve Clicquot to read up on the actual company, because I found it so interesting. She had been mentioned in another book o
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Hey mama, look at me, I’m on the way to the promise land (AC/DC)

--or at least, I’m on a very lucky streak :D last month Edelweiss gave me The Wasteland and now Netgalley is trying to one-up on it with The Champagne Widow by H. Fripp.

First thing first, the cover. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

It caught my attention right away : a pretty drawing, colorful without being too in-your-face, it told me all I needed to know about TCW at a glance. Perfect. I really want to stop for a moment here and compli
Kathleen Gray
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a treat to learn more about Nicole Clicquot. the woman responsible for my favorite champagne! A mix of fact and fiction, this tracks her life from the age of 11 in 1789 until 1825. Oh the history of the time and the political and social upheaval! Clicquot, however, was a focused businesswoman as well as a woman who sought love with difficult men. She stood up for herself and for her vineyard. Fripp brings the Reims region to life along with her characters (I found myself checking to see who ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have heard of the champagne Veuve Clicquot, but did not know anything about the fascinating history behind its creation. Nicole marries Francois Clicquot, and even though she is a from a wealthy family, dedicates herself to the success of the vineyards. The book starts in 1789 France in the midst of the Napoleonic era and its endless wars. In a time that women were expected to stay at home and raise families, Nicole becomes a master vintner, in constant battle with Jean-Remy Moët for prominenc ...more
Katja Willemsen
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was entranced by Champagne Widow and couldn't put it down. Helen Fripp transported me to the early 1800’s and the exquisite vineyards of Champagne, France, where I fell in love with Nicole Clicquot, a feisty, passionate, young widow who is faced with the choice of running her deceased husband’s wine estate (unheard of at the time!), or selling it to his competitor, Monsieur Moët – a man who is doing his best to woo her.

Brilliantly written, rich in atmosphere, and a gripping plot! I loved it.
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
A gentle story based on the real life events surrounding champagne production in France and focusing on those well known names of Moet and Verve Cliquot. My French history is a bit sketchy but the detail certainly brought the turmoil of life back then to life. It was a hard life that Nicole led in pursuing her goal - so much was thrown in her path. Part novel part history lesson.
Debbie Vincent
Mar 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was a departure from the books I normally read. I have to say it is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The story is amazing of a very determined lady making a success in a man's world. Even more inspiring that its based on a true story. One of those books that I couldn't stop thinking about and wanted to savour every chapter to the end. ...more
Michelle Irwin
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Good legs

A term used in describing the body of wine. Enjoyed this tale of a widowed wife and mother fighting against all odds to make a success of the winery her and her husband loved. With the help of trustworthy friends she did just that. Really makes want to have a glass of wine! Good story!
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book, I don't normally like historical novels but as it was based on facts, I decided to give it a go and am glad I did. Excellent read. ...more
Carol Hatch
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Bold and audacious

I loved The French House. The bold and audacious Nicole captivated me as Helen Fripp brought her back to life and retold the story of the Clicquot family saga.
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