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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smiles, laughs and...tears...
After a long interlude, I was delighted to resume reading about Karen's adventures in her village. In this third volume, aptly named 'Tout Soul' Karen here bares her soul indeed with her typical candid, honest, and endearing manner. If Tout Sweet and Toute Allure were trepidant with joy and fun, there is in this one a much darker tone. As Biff, the little cheerful black...
Published on 4 Mar 2012 by Ann Fairweather

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its a bit self indulgent
Obviously a very emotional and difficult time for the author but not sure she did not slightly loose her way between telling a true story and getting into the self help theraphy area. Compared to her other excellent books it rather gave out mixed messages
Published 21 months ago by alisonm


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smiles, laughs and...tears..., 4 Mar 2012
By 
Ann Fairweather (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
After a long interlude, I was delighted to resume reading about Karen's adventures in her village. In this third volume, aptly named 'Tout Soul' Karen here bares her soul indeed with her typical candid, honest, and endearing manner. If Tout Sweet and Toute Allure were trepidant with joy and fun, there is in this one a much darker tone. As Biff, the little cheerful black dog trutts his way along Karen's side, there is also on another level, a much sadder 'black dog' shadowing Karen's whole world and soul...Yet for all the hard stuff coming up at her, you have to marvel at Karen's resilience and spirit in face of life 's cruel turn...Never losing her keen eye for people's funny aspects of character, most of the book is an absolute delight of highly amusing observations and happenings...But alas, even in a peaceful and lovely french village, tragedy beckons and the second half of the book cannot easily be read without a tissue at hand...After a desperate struggle to find happiness in the midst of loss and grief, Karen manages to gives us an uplifting, beautiful conclusion...In the harsh world of today, no doubt that readers will connect with her efforts and take comfort in her new found peace of mind...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good title for excellent book, 20 Mar 2012
This review is from: Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France. (Paperback)
I live in the Poitou-Charentes area and have to say I normally steer away from books that say "I moved to France and....." However, Karen Wheeler's books are far more along the lines of 'A Year in Provence' - and that is meant to be a compliment.
I enjoyed her previous books, but think this is the best one so far. It is not necessary to read the previous books as they are all stand-alone, combining 90% fact with 10% fiction, thus protecting the names of the actual people and villages involved.
The sub-title is "The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France" and there is a lot of soul-searching throughout the book, mainly due to hearing untrue gossip about loved ones and loss of trust in a friend who lets her down.
However, she weaves a good story with great atmosphere and you can imagine the clatter and noise in the Cafe du Commerce where villagers gather for morning coffee to put the world to rights. We follow her unfortunate love story with Luis throughout the book, but she has lovely characterisations of Delphine, the Mayor of a nearby village, and Magda, the ebullient Portuguese cleaner. One character who remains stable and lovable is Biff, Karen Wheeler's black dog - read about how she 'acquired' him in her previous book "Tout Allure".
I agree with other reviewers - this book will make you laugh, then cry and then say "aaaah". A very true experience of life in rural France so if you want to move here, read this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finished all too quickly..., 22 Mar 2012
By 
Mrs. Linda Howe (France) - See all my reviews
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Just finished reading Tout Soul. Fabulous, funny and heartbreakingly sad.
So many emotions in one book.
We were on the table next to you on NYE when Biff made a dash for the food.
Then reading about L'Ecurie, which incidentally we thought was OUR discovery, I felt as though
I was reading parts of my diary lol

Can't wait for the next one of your adventures with Biff - the Leader of
the Pack :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not soppy, 4 Jan 2013
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I was very suspicious of this book to start with as I am allergic to 'chick lit' and deliberately chose only to read the last one in the series as it looked the least 'gushing' from the reviews. I did really enjoy it and appreciated the serious side of the book as well as the earlier comedy. I have always fantasised about living in France so it was a nice indulgence for me. Read it on my kindle to avoid having to expose my proclivities to my husband, but ended up telling him about it as I enjoyed it so much!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A privilege to read Karen's most personal thoughts, 12 Mar 2012
By 
N. L. Watson "Neil" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France. (Paperback)
By the time I began reading this third book in the trilogy (which stands alone without the necessity of reading books one or two), I felt that I knew Karen like an old friend. Her descriptions and observations of the people and places surrounding her made me imagine I was living in the same part of rural France as her - trying out the restaurant, sitting at the cafe, the walks with the dog and the village square with its most significant building. The characters come alive too - especially the wonderful Magda, who is more than just the cleaner, and respected Delphine, who is more than just the mayoress. But above all, this is a love story of the highest magnitude - poignant, sad and uplifting in equal measures at each turn of the page. Karen bares her soul like nothing I've read before. I felt privileged to have been allowed to share Karen's most personal thoughts about her dearest friend. A magnetising read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing rollercoaster, 12 April 2013
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Oh, I am really sad I've finished all 3 books, but at least I was able to read them together, one after another! BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN and so well described! I don't want to spoil anything
but this last book is a real rollercoaster! Thank Thankfully I

Had
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul warming...., 5 April 2013
This review is from: Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France. (Paperback)
Reading these books on my daily commute into London made every delay worthwhile! Not quite sure how I'll manage now...
Roll on book 4!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tout Soul, 18 Mar 2013
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I have just finished reading all 3 of Karen wheelers books back to back, I couldn't put them down, she made me laugh,smile and cry, every year we holiday in rural France and she describes living there just how I imagine it to be. The added bonus of Luis the lion and Bif the dog and all of the friends she makes along the way makes for excellent comfy reading
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next title, 13 Jun 2012
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I am not sure that a 58 year old male should like Karens books,
a women having a mid life change of direction !
And I don't ! I love them !

Looking forward to the next instalment. It really makes a change to read a moving to another country book by someone that can actually write.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tout a 'fate', 23 May 2012
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This review is from: Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France. (Paperback)
Karen Wheeler bruised my heart with this beautifully written, poignant, brutally honest book, which illustrates the triumph of the human spirit with much more clarity than many books written for this specific purpose. I feel humbled in the face of Karen's courage and capacity for love and forgiveness - and she still managed to make me laugh out loud and transport me out of the grimy city into the blue skies and golden fields of Poitou Charente. When a writer can not only make you laugh and make you cry, but also thouroughly entertain you and make you take a step back and think, this is a true gift. 'Tout Soul' deserves to be right up there in the 'Best Seller' list. Like all Karen's readers, I'm waiting for 'Tout Four'
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Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France.
Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France. by Karen Wheeler (Paperback - 7 Mar 2012)
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