In the European summer of 2003 a deadly heat wave strikes France. To Mary Moody, living in her rural village in the south-west of France, it seems that the weather is merely imitating the stifling heat of her own relationships. Her marriage, already under strain from the freedoms of her new life in France and the revelation of an affair, now reaches breaking point.
At the heart of The Long Hot Summer lie Mary's two conflicting passions: for her newfound independence; and for the love of her husband and family in Australia. Confrontation and heartache are inevitable, yet both sides of her life are still capable of producing enormous joy and excitement. Can new needs exist alongside old loves?
Mary Moody's two previous books, Au Revoir and Last Tango in Toulouse have become national bestsellers and made her one of the best-known and best-loved writers in Australia. With all the warmth and candour we've come to expect, The Long Hot Summer explores the minefield of relationships and changing desires, set against the beautiful backdrop of rural France.
Au Revoir is the story of Mary's solo journey. It is funny, warm and reflective, as Mary adapts to life as a single person in one of the most delightful parts of rural France. Revelling in the food, seasons and characters she encounters, Mary's book will strike a chord with every woman managing a busy life.
In her new book Sweet Surrender, after all of her escapades and adventures, Mary has come full circle and has embraced surrendering to the inevitable. Surrendering to ageing, to the pull of family, to the happiness derived from a life that is centred on others as well as herself, and to the undeniable influence of her parents and her family on the person she is. It's been a journey that has taught her a lot, but in the end the needs of her family - her four children and her grandchildren - turned out to be a lot more important than her French affairs.
At the heart of Sweet Surrender, Mary challenges the illusion of eternal youth that's attributed to the baby boomer generation and the idea that she can obtain complete happiness by living life putting her own needs first. Yet like in her other books, she does so in a very personal way, describing how she herself was drawn in by the notion of denying the ageing process and by living life without the burden of obligation to the needs of others. That was until events in her life conspired to make her realise that you can't just run away from the essence of who you are, and that the most deeply satisfying moment in life can be experienced when fulfilling the needs of those who you love.