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16 Reviews
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great - warts and all - devoid of smugness.
I really liked this book - full of the truth of it. How long can one go on believing the myth that moves to France are always perfect? Is it to point out that only relocators have it right and everyone else is a fool? Helen Stevenson follows her heart and we are witness to the wonder and the difficulty of that. I live in both places, but it was a relief to find a book...
Published on 21 May 2002 by Solesio

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTING
Very sorry to say that I cannot join in with the enthusiasm of other reviewers. While I enjoyed the descriptions of the house, the neighbourhood, etc., I found the story of the relationship thoroughly depressing. Luc turns out to be a man who simply can't/won't commit and it is difficult to sympathise with the author as she persists in trying to make a go of her...
Published on 12 May 2003 by Mrs Muffin


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great - warts and all - devoid of smugness., 21 May 2002
This review is from: Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town (Paperback)
I really liked this book - full of the truth of it. How long can one go on believing the myth that moves to France are always perfect? Is it to point out that only relocators have it right and everyone else is a fool? Helen Stevenson follows her heart and we are witness to the wonder and the difficulty of that. I live in both places, but it was a relief to find a book that was temptingly and accurately evocative but utterly un-cliched. Thanks Ms Stevenson. I think you have it about right. As critics often say - a terrific read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 15 Mar 2002
By 
Mrs. Eileen Stear "Eileen Stear" (Norfolk,UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town (Paperback)
This is the best travel book I have ever read.
It is atmospheric, eloquent and so good i was afraid to finish reading it.
It gives such a perfect picture of place and time that I felt I was actually there. Some of the inages are so perfect I had to go back to read them again when I got to the end.
I cannot believe my luck at coming across this book, next time I visit this area it will be in my hand.
Thankyou to the authour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and honest, 24 July 2001
This is not another book about wine makers, truffle hunting and jolly olive pickers - thank goodness! Helen writes an open and honest account of her life in le village. I do not know that area of France, yet through her writing I can walk around the square, smell the coffee and see the people. What was the spell that bound her to Luc? Her story conveys a raw honesty, laying bare her thoughts. A lovely book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTING, 12 May 2003
This review is from: Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town (Paperback)
Very sorry to say that I cannot join in with the enthusiasm of other reviewers. While I enjoyed the descriptions of the house, the neighbourhood, etc., I found the story of the relationship thoroughly depressing. Luc turns out to be a man who simply can't/won't commit and it is difficult to sympathise with the author as she persists in trying to make a go of her relationship with him, despite his continual "blowing hot and cold". I really hope her life is much happier now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly talented!, 16 Jan 2001
"Instructions for Visitors" is a wonderfully witty, cunning and tender book and I cannot think of a more talented writer in the English- speaking world of publishing. I kid you NOT, reader, don't waste time and buy this book right away!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely unput downable book, 6 May 2003
This review is from: Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town (Paperback)
I picked Helens book off the shelves because I recognised many of the place names, having owned a house in that part of France for nearly 20 years. I found the book incredibly poignant and moving. The fact that the authoress was purging herself of a very deep relationship was very obvious but the book was even more interesting for that very reason. This is definitely one that will not be finding it's way to the car boot or jumble sale, this is one for my bookshelf to be read over and over again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love France and the French then BUY THIS BOOK NOW!!, 12 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Insightful and tender. As someone who knows the area and people well, I am delighted to see Ms Stevenson's contribution to the entente cordiale. If you have an interest in France and the French then do not miss this treat! It is even better than it sounds....
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel?, 27 Aug 2006
By 
ACD Schulte Mens (Europe) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town (Paperback)
Despite all the bad reviews I would like to state that this is a fantastic NOVEL. It is,indeed, not a travel guide, but it gives a fantastic idea of how the region is. Use your fantasy ( and a good map errrrr [...] viamichelin??? google) and you know where the story is set. How intriguing ... is it true does that painter really exist. Shall I go and look?? Will I embarrass myself by asking where is ....? How sensitive the I figure is. How is she now?Of course, she is only fiction or ... is she?? is she Helen or isn't she? Anyhow I love her.

Advice to reader of this review "READ IT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely , easy read, 24 April 2011
By 
A. Revell (Peak District England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town (Paperback)
I have read this book a few times, it is a good easy read for when I am in a bit of a holiday mood. I like the style of writing which is straight forward and simple I keep it as a book to pick up and read for a quick glimpse into France.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary writing, 2 April 2003
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This review is from: Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town (Paperback)
I’m only part way through this book but am already completely drawn in by Helen Stevenson’s effortless, graceful prose. I read it in indulgent snatches in between other tasks and keep interrupting my husband’s day to read him passages. Helen Stevenson makes le village and all its characters live and breathe in the imagination. There are no false notes. I have no idea if every detail is factually faithful to the events of real life but each sentence is utterly ‘true’.
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Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town
Instructions For Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town by Helen Stevenson (Paperback - 1 Jan 2002)
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