Four popular novelists of the same generation each wrote a novel inspired by a holiday that the author spent in France.
In the 1950s, Rumer Godden based The Greengage Summer on her recollections of her family’s 1923 battlefield-tour manque in the Champagne region. Margery Sharp’s 1936 holiday in Southern France led to ‘Still Waters’ and The Nutmeg Tree: both the short story and the novel are set in and around the region of Aix-les-Bains.
In 1955, Daphne du Maurier first visited the department of Sarthe to research French family history; the novel The Scapegoat was the immediate result of the holiday. And in 1966, Stella Gibbons’ last trip to the continent took the form of a visit to an old friend in her summer home near Grenoble. The stay is obliquely reflected in The Snow-Woman, in which a similar holiday leads a never-married septuagenarian to experience a renaissance of sorts.