Review & Author Interview: Weak at the Knees by Jo Kessel

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of Weak at the Knees in return for my honest review. This does not in any way reflect upon my review. All thoughts/opinions of this novel are 100% my own.

“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”

Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning. 
The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.
Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible. 
Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.
But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul? 

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps.


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

My Review:  I was a little unsure about this book at first. Its not every day you read a synopsis that tells you the heroine of the story falls in love with a married man - and you expect to like it. I decided to give this book the benefit of the doubt as I was intrigued by Dani's history. What death plagued her unexpectedly? How was her life sheltered? Why would she break her promise to never get involved with a married man? 

All of these questions (and more I never thought to ask) were answered in this novel. The author had a way of writing that was very engaging, and that keeps the reader coming back for more. Will Dani find her happily ever after? What of Oliver's wife? Is she a cold-hearted bitch that gets what she deserves or an innocent pawn in a tragic game? I found that as soon as I began reading Weak at the Knees, I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened next. I had to have all the answers. 

I will admit that the affair angle, might but a few people off, but if you can look past that, I think you will find an enjoyable read. The characters had flaws, they had problems and issues that they needed to address, but it was all written in a way that made them human. You could relate to Dani's loss, if not on the same level, but in the same way. You could begin to understand why she acted the way that she did, and why some of her choices were smarter than others. 

I would definitely recommend this novel, and am looking forward to reading more from this author!

You can Purchase your very own copy of Weak at the Knees from: Amazon

 (Gift Basket including: a signed book, a signed bookmark, a giant pen from the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, and several French goodies featured in Weak at the Knees including a French manicure kit, an Edith Piaf CD (one of France's greatest international singers), personalized merchandise from Montgenevre, the village in the French Alps where Weak at the Knees is set, as well as  a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape - a gloriously rich (and expensive) red wine produced in the Rhone wine region in southeastern France. It is a wine that should be drunk to celebrate a special occasion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

You can follow the tour HERE.
About the Author:
Jo Kessel is a journalist, working for the BBC and reporting and presenting for ITV on holiday, consumer and current affairs programs. She writes for several national newspapers in the UK including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Express and was the anonymous author of the Independent’s hit column: Diary of a Primary School Mum.

When Jo was ten years old she wrote a short story about losing a loved one. Her mother and big sister were so moved by the tale that it made them cry. Having reduced them to tears she vowed that the next time she wrote a story it would make them smile instead. Happily she succeeded and with this success grew an addiction for wanting to reach out and touch people with words. Jo lives in London with her husband and three children. She loves traveling and since becoming a mother anything even remotely sad makes her cry. She’s a sucker for a good romance and tearjerker movies are the worst. She’s that woman in the cinema, struggling to muffle audible wails as everyone else turns round to stare.

 Want to learn more? You can find out via: The Author's WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitter or GoodReads

Author Interview: Recently, I had the chance to interview Ms.Kessel, and I'd like to share my interview with you now:

1. First of all, Thank You SO MUCH for agreeing to this interview! Would you like to share with us a little bit about yourself? What your (other) hobbies are? Anything we don't already know? 

Hello and thank you so very much for having me! Well, what’s to say about myself? I’m a Londoner born and bred and absolutely love the vibe of the city. Occasionally it’s nice to escape the hectic chaos of both London and my life however (I have three small children who keep me on my toes) and to do that I practice a lot of yoga which really helps to clear my head. I’m a big fan of travel too. For me, it’s a real treat to plant myself in a remote part of the world and soak up a new culture – it also gives me lots of fresh ideas for my writing. Most people don’t know that I have really curly hair which I’m forever blow drying straight and my sense of logic is next to nil – sometimes my husband truly despairs. Map-reading, time-keeping and leaving everything till the last minute also peak on my ‘not great at’ list.

2. What made you decide to become an author?
Since I was a little girl I’ve always loved writing and making up stories - my mother and big sister so enjoyed reading them that it fuelled my desire to write more. After University I was lucky enough to land a job as a journalist and actually get paid to write! But whilst I love being a journalist, the desire to create deeper, longer stories inspired me to try my hand at novel-writing. And now that I have, I’m not sure that I will ever be able to stop. It’s wonderful to lose yourself in other peoples lives, in another world….
3. Are there any author's you look up to? Or ones read as a child/teenager that inspired you?   
Jane Austen is my all time favorite author. I have read all of her novels repeatedly, but particularly love Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Her heroines are just fabulous – sassy, intelligent and outspoken, but with great integrity – and romantic heroes don’t come better than Mr. Darcy! As a young teenager the first book that made an indelible impression on me was One More River by Lynn Reid Banks. It’s about a Jewish teenage girl who lives on a kibbutz in Israel. She befriends and falls for an Arab boy (utterly forbidden due to their religious divides) and it’s a classic story of ‘love not always being enough’. This hit me hard at the time.

4. What can you tell us about your new book; Weak at the Knees?
Weak at the Knees is a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps. The heroine, Danni Lewis, loses her way when somebody very close to her dies. Struggling to pick up the pieces and move on, the story explores her journey as she tries to make sense of her life. This journey takes her to France, arguably the most romantic country in the world. Here Danni falls in love with a very hot Frenchman. The problem is that his situation is way more complicated than she ever thought possible. He’s married and whilst Danni’s morals tell her to stay away from him, her heart disagrees. Danni and the cliché ‘sometimes love just isn’t enough’ collide dramatically. I’ve always found it gut-wrenching to believe that love might not be enough, because the fairytale has it that love conquers all. I don’t want to give too much away, so you’ll have to read to find out if, in Danni’s case, love is enough.
5. What types of readers will be interested in Weak at the Knees?

This book should pretty much appeal to female readers, age 17+. Danni is recently graduated from University and struggling to find her career path, so fans of ‘coming of age’ novels will enjoy this just as much as readers of new adult/contemporary romance books. There’s a very strong travel element in the book too, so anyone with a passion for France or for being transported to a different country and culture, will especially enjoy this. Also, anyone who has suffered from a bereavement of a loved one at a young age might find solace in this book. Weak at the Knees explores how people we lose live on in us – in our hearts and in our minds, with a very strong presence.

6. What do you think differentiates your book from other books in the same genre? 

Weak at the Knees is half-based in France and I think (and hope) that this sets it apart from other books in the same genre. It also makes the main love interest Olivier more intriguing…………..and definitely sexier! He only has to open his mouth and speak in his delicious accent and it’s an instant turn-on.

7. And finally, is there anything else you'd like to say?  

I so hope readers will enjoy the romance of Danni and Olivier and its setting. My aim as I wrote was to transport the reader to France to such an extent that they will be able to close their eyes, taste the wine and smell the aroma of fresh croissants baking. Not to mention the hot chocolate scene. Yes, there’s a fabulous chocolate scene (chocaholics beware!) It’s designed to make the reader swoon and salivate and wish that they were there with Olivier. I’m still wishing that someone, one day, will serve me a hot chocolate just like that……………   

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  1. Krystal, thank you so much for hosting me today on your blog and for your lovely review. I am truly thrilled you enjoyed Weak at the Knees so much - and how fitting that your blog is called 'red wine' when red wine has such a strong association with the book, and indeed the fabulous giveaway we are running!

  2. Krystal, thank you so much for hosting me today on your blog and for your lovely review. I am truly thrilled you enjoyed Weak at the Knees so much - and how fitting that your blog is called 'red wine' when red wine has such a strong association with the book, and indeed the fabulous giveaway we are running!