Book Review, Enemies-to-lovers, England, Historical Fiction, Inspirational, Regency, Romance, Second Chances, Strong Heroine, Widow Heroine, Widower Hero

Review | The French Wife by Diney Costeloe

An emotional and accurate portrait of French and English societies in the late 1800s.

The French Wife is a beautiful story about overcoming obstacles and persisting in the pursuit of happiness.  Our thanks to Head of Zeus, and NetGalley for the advanced reader’s copy.

Book Details

Title: The French Wife
Author: Diney Costeloe
Publisher: Head of Zeus (May 7, 2020)
Publication Date: May 7, 2020
Language: English

Book Description:
(By the Publisher)

Love, secrets and danger abound in the new historical novel from bestselling author Diney Costeloe, set in 19th-century France. 

As the St Clair family prepare for the grand wedding of their daughter, Clarice, trouble is brewing. An old friendship, a new love and a dangerous secret threaten to destroy the life the St Clairs have built. 

Their younger daughter, Hélène, became friends with orphaned Annette during the terrible events of the 1871 siege of Paris. Now they are reunited, with Annette working below stairs for Hélène’s parents. But she is hiding a dangerous secret, which Hélène has promised to keep at all costs. 

Meanwhile, Hélène has begun to fall in love with a young nobleman from England, whose family has plans which do not include their son choosing a French wife.

This is not an affiliate link


Diney Costeloe is a new-to-me author, and I was very impressed by the quality of her writing. The narrative is beautiful and flows effortlessly.

I love that she tells the story without taking shortcuts. She takes her time describing the characters’ experiences and, as a result, the reader feels a deep sense of connection.

How easily I got immersed in these characters’ world. 

The story happens in the late 1800s and starts by introducing Agathe and Annette, two women working for a clergyman. The hardship women had (and still have) to endure was heartbreaking, but their strength in fighting back was very uplifting.

There is a strong element of kindness and friendship throughout the story.

There is a strong element of kindness and friendship throughout the story.

As the narrative progresses, a romance starts to flourish between a roguish English second son and a seventeen-year-old French girl.

The romance is sweet, but the real gem in the book is its accurate portrait of the society of that time. From family relations to land interests,  also stopping “downstairs” to  describe the servants’ quarters, their lives and dreams. 

Overall, a great choice for anyone interested in reading fiction set in France and England during this period.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Warning: Sexual Violence

About the Author:

Diney Costeloe is the daughter of a London publisher and has been surrounded by books all her life. Encouraged by her father, she has always written stories and poems. When she left school she trained as a primary school teacher, and taught in the East End of London and in Somerset.

Website Facebook | Twitter


26 thoughts on “Review | The French Wife by Diney Costeloe”

  1. Great review! I haven’t read a historical romance in a while but it sounds interesting. I’ll be sure to check it out. I love when a book is thoroughly researched and accurate. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the review! I feel like I never know enough about time periods to know for sure when they’re completely accurate but I’ll feel if something’s off. Glad to know hers is accurate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a really nice review! I liked what you said about the book feeling accurate protrayal of society, I always appreciate fiction where you also just kind of learn things as a consequence. I might have to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That period of time is so interesting. And taking a look at the society back in that time through the lenses of fiction is a very enriching experience. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s