Book review: Vanessa Couchman, Augustine

Today, on the blog, I’m featuring the wonderful Augustine, the prequel to the Alouette Trilogy. Having previously reviewed the first in the series, Overture, it was wonderful to go back to the start and meet Joseph and Augustine. 


Here’s the blurb, to tempt you in…

Love conquers all. Or does it?

Rural France, 1880. Augustine is not conventionally pretty and fears that she may never marry. Joseph rents his land and dreams of owning a farm one day. But without a wife and children, he lacks the help he needs.

When Joseph saves Augustine from a drunkard at a dance, they are immediately attracted to each other. They meet again, and the attraction deepens, but they face opposition from Augustine’s strict parents, who want better prospects for their daughter than Joseph can offer.

And dramatic events threaten to drive them apart.

Will Augustine and Joseph overcome the barriers? And at what cost?

Set against the rolling landscape and hilltop villages of Southwest France, Augustine is a prequel to the Alouette trilogy. It can be read either as a standalone or before Book 1, Overture.


I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this, and appreciate that some minor elements may have changed since my reading.

This was a wonderful story, and brilliant to get to know Augustine and Joseph. By having the tale told from both of their perspectives, we get to see their very different worlds, including the struggles each are facing, from a challenging sibling rivalry, to an arrogant landlord, and repercussions from the incident which first brings them together. Having enjoyed Overture, I thoroughly enjoyed this, and would definitely recommend it, either before or after reading the first in the main series.

About Vanessa

Overture - Vanessa Couchman

Vanessa never expected to end up in the south of France, but since moving there more than 20 years ago she hasn’t looked back. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. Or singing. Or walking. Or enjoying the cuisine for which France is famed.

Being a “history nut”, she lives in absolutely the right place. The beguiling Mediterranean island of Corsica also provides great inspiration for her writing, and she visits it whenever she can get away.

Two of her three novels, THE HOUSE AT ZARONZA and THE CORSICAN WIDOW, are set on Corsica; the third, OVERTURE, is set in Southwest France and Paris. All three are very loosely based on true stories.

Vanessa also writes short stories, many of which have been placed in creative writing competitions and published in anthologies. Some of her stories inspired by and set in France are published in her FRENCH COLLECTION: TWELVE SHORT STORIES.

Find her on her website: or sign up for her regular newsletter:


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