blackbird flyReviewed by Anna F.

After her husband dies, Merle Bennet is left with feelings of guilt, news of another woman and daughter, not enough money for her son’s schooling, and a house in the quaint French village of Malcouziac. Practicality takes her to France, determined to sell the place. What she finds is a real fixer-upper, and a French whore living there claiming it as her own. A filthy business ensues, the mayor and police get involved, and the squatter winds up murdered.

Merle, of course, is the prime suspect. Since her passport is revoked and she is stuck in France, she sets to work on the house, where she discovers many tantalizing secrets and horrifying mysteries. Many characters have you guessing at their motives and no one seems entirely trustworthy in this foreign place. But, the thrill of the mystery and the luxury of fine French wines may be just what Merle needs to deal with her husband’s death and her own idiosyncratic widowhood.

I enjoyed the glimpse of the American widow in France. Merle becomes quickly enthralled in the French mystery and finds out just how differently things are done in France. The effort she puts into the house and into deciphering its past helps her pull through the present and anticipate all the possibility of the future.

Blackbird Fly was a fun read, with French phrases charming there way onto the pages. The descriptions of the French village and house brought them to life, making them a character with very much influence on Merle’s experience. While the book itself wasn’t life changing, and the mystery didn’t have me seriously perplexed, it was a pleasant, breezy escape into another person’s life and another culture. Blackbird Fly has love and intrigue, and proof that family bonds are strong enough to reach across oceans and beyond the grave.

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