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Wish You Were Here by Catherine Alliott

Wish You Were Here

Family Drama   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
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One of our Books of the Year 2015.

James, a foot surgeon, saves a child from a peanut allergy and the girl’s grateful mother, a famous opera singer, lends him her chateau in France for a month. Out go James, his wife Flora, their two teenage daughters and boyfriends, James’ elderly father, two of his sisters, Flora’s zany mother and a French boyfriend and Flora’s ex-fiancé, now with one of her sister-in-laws. Chaos. Flora does not cope well but family secrets come out and wounds are healed. This is terrific. The sparks between mother and teenage daughter, the feelings of seeing an old flame and the general family dynamics are incredibly well drawn. Great stuff. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Catherine Alliott you might also like to read books by Jane Costello, Jane Green and Cathy Kelly.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Maz Tucker - 'Great new book by Catherine Alliott, this book will make you laugh in some places and cry in others.' Read full review >
  • Jayne Burton - 'A book to lose yourself in. Wonderful!' Read full review >
  • Emily Wright - 'An escapist read capturing the tensions and joie de vivre of an eventful holiday; Catherine Alliott depicts a melting pot of family and friends with light-hearted humour, warts and all.' Read full review >
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'France is a holiday of life time. What could be nicer? And what could possibly go wrong?' Read full review >
  • Christine Waddington - 'Catherine Alliott held my interest right to the last page with many twists, turns and unpredictable events. I loved this fast-paced novel, and could not wait to pick it up again.' Read full review >
  • Helen Treadwell - 'Packed full of well-written characters, all with their own secrets, it is a very entertaining book with a satisfying ending.' Read full review >
  • Cathy Small - 'A really enjoyable read with the expected twists that happen when you holiday with your family and your in-laws.' Read full review >
  • Isobel - 'Take yourself away to the south side of France. Bliss? Two's company 10 is a crowd...' Read full review >
  • Sharon Matthews - 'A summer holiday where secrets will be revealed.' Read full review >
  • Joan Sidwell - 'I think it could have been a book with a heart and a story but sadly, for me, there was very little real warmth coming through the pages.' Read full review >
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'It wasn’t trying to make a statement, there was nothing gratuitous about its content, it was simply a good read about normal people for anyone from teenagers to grannies.' Read full review >
  • Candy Hart - 'I must admit that I was a little disappointed with this book, it took me quite a while to get into it, however I did find it quite amusing in places.' Read full review >
  • Kath Martin - 'for a few days I was transported to the south of France, with clear blue skies, the buzz of insects...Catherine has produced the perfect escapist novel, just what is needed on a grey winter's day.' Read full review >
  • Samantha Lewis - 'I liked the fact that there were a few twists that made it unpredictable. Funny and heart warming, highly recommended.' Read full review >


Wish You Were Here by Catherine Alliott

When Flora, James and their two teenage daughters are offered the holiday of a lifetime in a chateau in the south of France in return for one simple good deed, they jump at the chance. They exchange the confines of Clapham, the weight of the mortgage and anxieties over their future for a blissful break. But Flora didn't anticipate a mysterious guest and a whole heap of family baggage coming too. With James developing a schoolboy crush on a famous singer and Flora distracted by ghosts from her past, their dream holiday suddenly takes some very unexpected turns.


'Warm, witty, easy to read... a thoroughly engaging, entertaining read' Daily Mail

'A breezy, comic, summery romp that will appeal to fans of Jilly Cooper' Sunday Mirror

About the Author

Catherine Alliott

Catherine Alliott was our Guest Editor in August 2013 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.

Catherine Alliott started her first novel under the desk when she worked as an advertising copywriter. She was duly fired. With time on her hands she persevered with the novels, which happily flourished. In the early days she produced a baby with each book, but after three she stuck to writing as it was less painful. She writes with the nearest pen in exercise books, either in the garden or on a sofa. Home is a rural spot in Hertfordshire which she shares with her family and a menagerie of horses, cows, chickens and dogs, which at the last count totalled 34 beating hearts, including her husband.

Author photo © Neil Cooper


I first met Catherine because my youngest son was at school with her son. Catherine writes her novels in the first person which immediately makes you feel you know the heroine. I love all her books, including the latest The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton : I usually spot other people's twists but I didn't get this one until it jumped up and hit me off the page.

Author photo © Neil Cooper

Below is a Q & A with this author.

Q. If you couldn't be a writer, what would you like to be?
A. A painter – as in artist, not decorator.

Q. When you need to escape from your everyday routine, what do you do?
A. Light the fire, watch daytime TV and eat chocolate.

Q. Who is your style icon?
A. Wasn't aware I had one but very much admire Kristen Scott Thomas's style. So cool.

Q. What is your favourite food?
A. In - macaroni cheese. Out - Dover sole.

Q. What's your favourite movie?
A. Truly Madly Deeply.

Q. What's your idea of hell?
A. Shopping malls.

Q. When did you last cry and why?
A. Two weeks ago, at Badminton Horse Trials, watching a great friend's daughter jump round the cross country course. Amazing. I've known her since she was seven.

Q. What is so your idea of perfect happiness?
A. So corny. All my children plus boyfriends, girlfriends, any other friends and of course my husband, eating around the same table. Or actually, a table somewhere hot, on holiday, abroad, i.e. without me having to cook. Oh - and grandparents too.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A. Deplore. Golly. Quite strong. Well I'm not mad about bad manners which come in many guises.

Click here to read the full Q&A

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd July 2015


Catherine Alliott

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Penguin Books Ltd


432 pages


Family Drama
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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