Profile for FrenchVillageDiaries > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by FrenchVillageD...
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,101
Helpful Votes: 203

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
FrenchVillageDiaries "Enjoying the quiet life in rural France" (France)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-15
pixel
Citadel
Citadel
by Kate Mosse
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-racing, intense and emotional, 26 Mar 2014
This review is from: Citadel (Paperback)
I have to admit that this is the first Kate Mosse book I have read and I’m embarrassed by this oversight, but to be honest Labyrinth was such a huge book and I can’t pronounce the second title Sepulchre so they seemed rather daunting. Citadel, the third book, however, really did appeal as it is set during the occupation years of World War II and highlights the work of the women in the Resistance movement. Not having read the first two books didn't spoil my enjoyment of this book.

Set in Carcassonne and the mountain villages of the Pyrenees, this book follows the lives of more than one character and as Kate keeps their stories separate, to begin with it took me a while to slip into a rhythm. However, once there I was taken over and by building up each story, then cutting back to a different character I found the excitement and my emotions much more intense.

It made me cry in places and made my heart race in other places. Many times I was unable to put it down, but sometimes it was so intense I had to stop reading and have a break. The stories will stay with me for a long while especially those of Sandrine, Raoul and the other Resistance fighters, bravely trying to outwit the German Milice, never knowing who to trust, putting themselves in horrendous situations and losing many of their friends and loved ones. As well as their fight for the freedom of France the race is on to find and protect an ancient codex that legend says is hidden in the mountains and has a dark power that must not fall into enemy hands. This adds an extra dimension of mystery and danger to the story.

This book was totally addictive, the characters felt real, the plot felt very real and I forgot I was reading a novel. In fact it felt like I was learning about a period of history, but without being lectured to.


My Wish List
My Wish List
by Gregoire Delacourt
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A quick read that raised many questions, 25 Mar 2014
This review is from: My Wish List (Paperback)
This book is set in France and has been translated from French to American English. The story follows Jocelyne, an ordinary wife and mother in a family with communication issues, who doesn’t have a great sense of self-worth as she reminisces about her life and unfulfilled dreams. When she wins 18 million euros on the lottery she makes a list of things she would like, things she could now buy without worrying about the money and these are surprisingly ordinary things! She is very level headed but also frightened of change and keeps the win to herself initially. However, not everyone in her life thinks the same way she does and this is where the real story (and the lies) begin to unravel.

I found this a quick read novel with a rather bizarre set of characters, many of who were difficult to warm to. It is real-life and gritty so I didn’t find it an uplifting book, maybe not ideal for those who want an afternoon or two of happy escapism and Champagne filled glasses. However, I liked that it made me think. What is it that is important in life? What is happiness? What difference would a lottery win make? Does/can money make you happy?


Virgile's Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country
Virgile's Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country
Price: £5.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning the way of the wine from the heart of the vineyard, 24 Mar 2014
In this first book, we join Patrick as he spends a year in the Languedoc at the house he inherited from his uncle. As well as exploring, taming his land and getting to grips with the unique water supply, Patrick sets himself a challenge to discover and understand the wine of the region. With his three self-appointed experts we learn alongside him; the history of the area (from an expat divorced history teacher), the way of the locals (from Manu, his wine drinking neighbour) and the art of Languedoc wine making (from Virgile, a local vigneron).

This book was a pleasure to read and I have to admit to smiling to myself from the very beginning as so many of the great descriptions were spot on. It is not difficult to imagine you are in the Languedoc and learning about the life and wine, alongside Patrick with just enough information and snippets of history to be interesting rather than over bearing.

For a memoir, Patrick unusually keeps himself in the background and it is his three experts who come alive from the pages, especially Manu – the loveable rogue. I couldn’t wait to carry on and read book two Arrazat’s Aubergines.

This book has recently been updated and re-released and would be ideal for those who love life in France memoirs, plus those with an interest in French wine and the food of the Languedoc. But be warned, it will make you hungry and want to visit the area.


Arrazat's Aubergines: Inside a Languedoc Kitchen
Arrazat's Aubergines: Inside a Languedoc Kitchen
Price: £5.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A year spent tasting the best the Languedoc has to offer - yes please!, 24 Mar 2014
Following on from Virgile's Vineyard, Patrick is back in the Languedoc but on a more permanent basis and it is the food that piques his interest this time. Many of the people we met in book one are back, enriching and hindering Patrick’s life, but also encouraging his love of food. Neighbour Manu and his wife persuade him to dig a large potager and fill it with their favourite vegetables. Winemaker Virgile takes him to lunch at Laurent Arrazat’s new restaurant where he finds himself invited to follow behind the scenes and learn about food from a master chef. As well as trying his best to keep up and help out during busy services, Patrick also makes many other foodie visits during the year to meet cheese makers, snail farmers, honey producers, salt masters, oyster farmers and more. This book often made me hungry and despite the privilege of learning what goes on in a French restaurant kitchen it was the visits to the local producers I enjoyed the most and it has made me more determined to get out and explore my local producers.

The antics of his neighbours, as in book one, regularly made me chuckle and having read these two books back to back I’m going to miss the daily goings on of Manu and Patrick.

This book has recently been updated and re-released and would be ideal for those who love life in France memoirs, plus those with an interest in French wine and the food of the Languedoc. But be warned, it will make you hungry and want to visit the area.


Hotel Paradise (Kindle Single)
Hotel Paradise (Kindle Single)
Price: £0.99

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mediterranean island spell, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Beginning and concluding in the present day, most of the story in Hotel Paradise occurs twelve years earlier when a young couple, who met by chance in Paris, make their way south to an island off the Cannes coast following an unknown path of adventure.

Genevieve and Paul find themselves in a long forgotten, dusty hotel that might just be ready to awaken to their touches. There is passion, a sense of adventure, hurt, grief and many other emotions, and the spell of the place fills their heads with dreams and ideas for the future. Then a newcomer arrives on the island, but will this upset the balance and with it their dreams?

Throughout the book there is no doubt about the location, Carol’s beloved Mediterranean coast. She describes the food, the markets, the flora, the wildlife, the coastline, the weather, the sounds and the scents. I feel I know the shores of this island despite never having visited it. I think it’s familiarity comes from the pages of one of the Olive Farm books and Carol’s descriptions make me feel I am returning to somewhere special. It has made me want to delve back into her earlier books (again).

This is a neat, perfect example of a short story. A quick morning read on a beach or by the fire – actually, it doesn’t matter where you are, just sit back and let Carol take you to the Mediterranean.


Two Classic Stories
Two Classic Stories

4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a laugh or two whilst drinking your morning coffee, 4 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Two short stories that are funny takes on life in Paris when your French isn't up to much, resulting in unexpected situations! From its title, I'm guessing the second story is a taster of his book Me Talk Pretty One Day and I certainly want to read more from David.


A French Dictionary of Food and Drink
A French Dictionary of Food and Drink
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I was really pleased to find this, 4 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love France, I love food and although I speak French I've come across some foodie terms that I didn't know, especially cuts of meat. This dictionary is clearly set out in the standard French/English and English/French format and helped me fill in the gaps. I will keep it to hand on my iPhone for my next meal out, but it will also come in handy in the kitchen when translating recipes. I also love the front cover!


I See London I See France
I See London I See France
Price: £3.15

5.0 out of 5 stars A really emotionally charged read, 26 Feb 2014
The main character Caroline is 100% devoted to her three young children and when her husband Scott walks out, claiming he’s had enough, she has to decide what it is she wants for her future. Years of marriage and parenting have left her feeling like she’s lost her way, but she’s not one to wallow in her misery. She sells her minivan, packs their bags and crosses the Atlantic, taking the children to London. Ever the home educator they sightsee from London to Tintagel Castle to Loch Ness to Paris before her emotions and exhaustion catch up with her. It is with friends in Aix en Provence where she finds some peace and the strength to decide what fires her passion; is it Scott her work-a-holic husband, is it Jean-Marc the sexy Frenchman she first met in her early twenties, is it dark and mysterious Gustave from the shores of Loch Ness, or is she happy just to be a Mother? I knew what decision I wanted her to make, but Paulita made me wait and sweat it out right to the end of the book.

Paulita’s writing went straight to my head; I felt every emotion Caroline was feeling, so much so this book affected my mood even when I wasn’t reading it. This book has a great story line, moved along at a nice pace and with some added interest as it jumped back and forward from the present to her time in Aix en Provence as a nanny in the late 1990’s. This is a book I will read again and I hope Paulita is busy working on her next novel.

I was sent a copy of this book by the author.


Vic's Big Walk
Vic's Big Walk
Price: £3.15

5.0 out of 5 stars A 70 day, 2000km epic walk by a man approaching his 70th birthday, 21 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vic's Big Walk (Kindle Edition)
Vic is cool! Vic walked from his ‘home’ in the south of France, to the house he was born in 70 years earlier in Blackpool (north west UK). This epic walk of nearly 2000kms was timed to take 70 days and arrive on his 70th birthday. It is not uncommon to want to celebrate a big birthday with a challenge, but for Vic the real goal was to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer research and he felt it had to be a significant challenge to bring in the donations. He was always happy to talk to those he met en route about his fundraising and continues to raise money through the sales of this book. So far he has raised over £9,000.

In addition to the walking, Vic also updated his blog as he was on the road and made plenty of notes for this book which is so much more than a walkers diary of ‘I got up, walked, got there, had dinner, went to bed’. It is an entertaining account of his adventure and I was a bit sad when I finished this book. I was obviously pleased that Vic had achieved his goal, but to be honest I could have gone on rambling alongside him, although I’m guessing he was pleased to leave it there.

Although this was a solo walk Vic had a great team behind him - his wife; who was driver of the motor home support vehicle/accommodation for the trip, chief laundry steward, cook, route planner and more. The physical challenge of this walk would make me, a person half Vic’s age, think twice about completing it, but when I read that Vic also has an eye condition that makes map reading almost impossible it just increased my awe for him. Vic is tres cool! If Vic can walk an amazing 2000km to raise money the least we can all do is buy this book to help him.


The People in the Photo
The People in the Photo
by Hélène Gestern
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turning mystery of family secrets buried but not forgotten, 17 Feb 2014
Knowing nothing about her Mother, who died when she was three, the main character Hélène Hivert turns detective and takes out an advert in a newspaper in an attempt to find some information. Her only link to her Mother is a photograph taken in Interlaken in 1971, but she has no idea who the two men pictured with her are. Until, that is, she is contacted by Stéphane, a Swiss biologist living in Kent and the son of one of the men in the photograph.

A correspondence between the two of them begins, formally by letter at first and then as they grow comfortable with each other they chat and email more frequently and informally. It is obvious that a relationship is growing, but with so many unanswered questions from their ‘shared’ past they must proceed with caution. Her investigation brings as many questions as it gives answers and as every new bit of information is found and shared between them, their lives (past and present) change forever. Many of their family friends and relatives have died or are too old and infirm to be quizzed, but how much do Hélène and Stéphane really want to know? Has Hélène left it too late to find out the truth about her past? Will knowing give her closure and will that bring them together or drive them apart?

This is a very different book to my normal reads, has an intriguing plot and as it is written as a collection of letters and emails is very easy to read. It is engaging and page turning as you are drawn into both the investigation into the past, but also in wanting to find out how their relationship is coping with what is uncovered. I loved how the tones of the correspondence changed throughout the book as their relationship evolves. I will probably read this book again as I’m sure there will be bits I missed first time around.

I was sent a copy of this book to read and review by the publisher.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-15