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4.7 out of 5 stars48
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 April 2012
This 2nd book following directly on from the celebtations in the first is absolutely superb.
Julia has again created a gripping story that is far more meaty than the first and gripping to the very end but with old characters taken further down the lane. In this book we learn far more about the local area, its inhabitants and the twisting roads and precipices in the area. I feel very fond of all the characters now and in particular the ghost who is an unusual character that cares deeply for his village and the people in it and who will do whatever he can to make sure all are safe and happy.

The newcomer to the village - a boy that spent his summers there - appears one day from paris - totally unannounced adn unexpected and mayhem [of a village nature] is the result with many changes developing in the narrative.

The commune of Fogas is deeply in my heart and I look forward to reading the next episode of village life. Plus learned loads in this book as I now know which wine to look out for, what the superb handmade knives are called and what they are used for and far more about French succession laws too! Looking forward to popping into the auberge, the epicerie and bar again very soon. Great stuff. Good read Julia - keep it up and looking forward to reading the next one.
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on 15 October 2012
This book continues on immediately where L'Auberge finishes. I liked that it did this; firstly as all my favourite characters are still there and secondly because there was so much more I wanted to know about life in the village. It is all change in Fogas as the focus shifts off Paul and Lorna (the owners of the auberge) and almost immediately we meet a new character `Le Parisian' and to say things don't go to plan for him straight away is a bit of an understatement. His presence is not initially welcome, especially as he wants to make changes. Change is often difficult to accept and especially so when it happens in the heart of the village at the bar/epicerie. It takes the locals some getting used to, although little by little he gains their respect. Things are also changing for Stephanie, as she tries to get her new business off the ground, but with the distractions of a bit of love interest and a few mysterious happenings, things don't go to plan for her either. The other new character makes a much more understated entrance into the village, but is no less integral to the story.

I found there to be a greater sense of community in this book than in the first, with less `political' bickering (which I know to be a common element in French village life). There is a real pulling together, especially at the end when there is drama and a real danger threatens the safety of some of them. French village life may not have the excitement of city life, but there is never a dull moment in Julia's village. I can't wait to get back to Fogas and read book three, to be published next year. Same village, same characters, but someone else's story to be told.
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This is the sequel to L'Auberge but the focus has moved from the inn to the village shop. Josette's dead husband's nephew has left his high flying, number crunching job in Paris, to take over the village shop. Under France's very complicated inheritance laws, because the shop is a family business, he inherits two-thirds to Josette's third. This comes as a surprise and shock to everyone in the village.

The book opens when Stephanie, who works part time at the shop, surprises what she thinks is an intruder and knocks him out with a stale baguette. The intruder is Fabian, the Parisian nephew, who makes it very clear that things are going to change. This causes Josette a great sadness because a lot of what he suggests are things that she had wanted to do but her husband had resisted. Her heartache is increased because Jacques maintains a silent, ghostly presence by the inglenook fireplace and makes his feelings very clear.

This may sound too whimsical by half, but there is a parallel story unfolding that is not in the least fey. A series of accidents, some near fatal, starts occurring. Some are true accidents, but it eventually emerges that some are not and that a member of the village is under serious threat.

Village life weaves its way around these two strands with humour and sadness until a climax is reached and most issues are resolved (but not all).

This is a more robust book than L'Auberge. The picture of French village life is lovingly portrayed, but the realities of survival in a rural community are not ignored and, where called for, there are scenes of violence which are graphic and realistic. It is well constructed and the characters are engaging so that you care what happens to them. The villain is vicious and frightening and does real damage. However, you are left with the feeling that, on the whole, the good in people easily outweighs the bad and that most people are motivated by a desire to do good, even if they get it disastrously wrong.

I thought that L'Auberge was an ideal book to read by the pool. I read The Parisian' Return on a fearsome day in July when the only sound that could be heard over the howling wind and torrential rain was the sound of the grass growing. It managed to take my mind off these disasters. It is a diverting, entertaining and satisfying read.
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on 10 May 2012
Once again we meet the inhabitants of Fogas commune in this fantastic sequel to L'Auberge.
This time our eyes are on Stephanie and Chloe - and the Parisian interloper Fabian,nephew of Josette and the late Jaques.
From their first meeting - during which Stephanie knocks Fabian unconscious with a stale baguette the sparks(or should I say crumbs) fly between them. By the time that Fabian rescues Stephanie and Chloe from the very real - and very well observed danger- from her abusive and obsessive ex-husband - we see their relationship grow and flourish in the quiet back water of eccentricity that is Fogas
The gentle French baiting that characterised the first book is still present...Rene the plumber,now accepts that Lorna the English inn keeper can cook .....but there MUST be some French ancestry somewhere to explain that anomaly !
This time it left to Paul(Lorna's husband) to stun his French friends into silence with some well chosen lines of Shakepeare..."Who knew the English knew so much about love !?!"
As joyously funny as it's predecessor, Julia Stagg's talent for human observation and zingy one(or two)liners make this book an absolute delight to read.
Definately not to be missed by those who enjoyed the first book, and roll on the next installment - because I cannot wait to see how the commune copes with organic farming ,and the potential loss of its Post Office
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on 28 April 2012
I enjoyed L'auberge, so eagerly awaited the next installment and it was even better than the first. It's a meatier read, which suits me, the characterisation was just as strong, I really got to love the individuals, those already met were developed further and the Parisian himself was soon close to my heart. I felt a real sense of drama in the storytelling and it kept me completely engaged and left me wanting more.
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on 15 April 2012
I really enjoyed the first in this series, L'Auberge, but I have to say I think this one is far superior. If the first was a gentle stroll in the park this one is a satisfying hike in the Pyrenees! The story moves on from where the first left off, focusing on a new addition to the commune as well the established villagers. Its an altogether meatier read while still maintaining its charm. I'm hoping there's more to come, I've grown quiet attached to this little community! Lovely read.
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on 13 October 2012
Having read the first book I couldn't wait to read the second and downloaded it immediately. I wasn't disappointed; as others have said, this is a gripping read, and even better than the first. It's lovely to get to know the characters more, and as I have holidayed in the region it was great to be able to envisage the scenery, even as Julia describes it so well. I can't wait for the next one - especially as one of the romantic threads is still unconcluded! One other plus - unlike so many kindle novels, this one had no typos, no pagination errors and no spelling mistakes to distract from the absorbing story. Well done Julia, give us more!
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on 28 February 2013
Having hjoroughly enjoyed the Auberge, I was pleased that Julia Stagg had written a follow up,
This was a great story too and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys travelling and in particular loves France.
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on 8 November 2012
Was delighted to see there was another book in Julia Stagg's series, and rushed to download it onto my kindle. I was not disappointed and had to ration myself to reading a few pages a day, but by the end gave up and went for it, I couldn't wait to read the ending! Really vivid writing and you can easily picture the characters in the book, as well as the scenery.
Am now eagerly anticipating book number 3.......!
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on 6 January 2013
Having read L' Auberge by the same author it seemed silly not to read the follow up book. A perfect book for a rainy afternoon or a lazy afternoon on the beach, nothing too taxing. The story of the people in a small village in the French Pyrenees this is primarily a work of fiction with I suspect the truth woven in and having recently visited this part of France it was easy to picture the setting so I enjoyed it.
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