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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I greatly enjoyed this book but then I may be biased as I grew up in Limousin and originally bought this book to see how the region was going to be portrayed. I felt it was depicted with sincerity despite some liberties taken by the author with some local expressions, (I am not talking about the 'Trompette de La Mort' which are delicious by the way), and also his own...
Published on 27 Oct. 2003

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
On the whole this is an interesting account of second home (and then permanent residence) in France. His descriptions of people and places are both colourful and add to the overall enjoyment of the book. Having lived in France for 5 years and experienced French life for myself his experiences are familiar and not uncommon. The only down side were the last 4 chapters. I...
Published on 8 April 2009 by Mr. J. C. Packman


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 8 April 2009
By 
This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
On the whole this is an interesting account of second home (and then permanent residence) in France. His descriptions of people and places are both colourful and add to the overall enjoyment of the book. Having lived in France for 5 years and experienced French life for myself his experiences are familiar and not uncommon. The only down side were the last 4 chapters. I thought they did not fit with the rest of the book and appeared to be there to pad it out. I have read his second book and would happily read the third instalment if there is one.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 27 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
I greatly enjoyed this book but then I may be biased as I grew up in Limousin and originally bought this book to see how the region was going to be portrayed. I felt it was depicted with sincerity despite some liberties taken by the author with some local expressions, (I am not talking about the 'Trompette de La Mort' which are delicious by the way), and also his own interpretation of local custom. But then, if the author and his wife got everything right all the time it would not be so funny and one can imagine how much of a headache the whole project must have been but also how much this was all worth it. After reading this book, it leaves you wanting to see the barn and meet them as they seem genuine good neighbours. I wish them all the best with their lama breading and settling in Limousin.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling, 18 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
As someone who has lived the French property renovation dream/nightmare myself, I found this book compelling, hilarious and relatable. What Richard Wiles took on far exceeds my own project in its challenges and disasters, and his book should be read by anyone with the slightest ambition to buy a place in France. Take a dose of reality from Bon Courage and see if you think you still have what it takes to overcome the obstacles involved!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle amusing read of DIY, 18 July 2011
This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
I didn't find the irritating word "hilarious" on the back cover until I was half way through - thank goodness! An anethema to me. But I found this very amusing, in a gentle way and having experienced doing up a barn in rural France as well as trying to update a house without spending too much money, I could really relate to this. Richard Wiles was also very kind to his neighbours, whether English or French and did not try to make his people too colourful. I felt everyone was very "real", not a caricature. He also charmingly admits that although he was written about DIY for many years, he isn't an expert on it and that his theory is better than the practice!

I have just lent this book to a friend who has, very reluctantly, sold her house in the Vienne and has returned to teh UK. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

Very gentle book, all the people painted with a "nice" brush.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and humorous, 15 May 2006
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This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
I found the book to be humorous,often hiliarious, yet informative, a personal look at how one Englishman adapted to a new life in rural France. Richard is never shy to poke fun at himself - never at his friends and neighbours - and he gave me an insight into the country, its people and their culture. Some narrow-minded previous reviewers, I notice, criticise the book unfairly. Certainly this is no Driving over Lemons: I don't imagine that a book about life in France is intended to compete with a book about life in Spain. What's the comparison? The book is certainly never dull: the author is always upbeat, even in the face of adversity! A delightful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning to the impetuous, 31 May 2009
By 
J. Daniels (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
This is a wonderfully realistic, engrossing and funny tale of a renovation project embarked upon with lots of imagination and very little money. It is so realistic - the opening chapters exactly echo my own experience of camping in our renovation project, the tug of family and friends in England and the endearing and sometimes sly characters you will meet in France. I agee that from time to time it lapses into dry facts that could have been edited out but most of them are of interest if you love the Limousin. I have read it several times and it is bitter sweet for me as my renovation project didn't work out. I take my hat off to them.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read, 16 Mar. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
This is my dream to live in France so this was the reason for buying this book and this book is just what you need to balance the dream and the reality. The book is very well written giving realistic accounts of the pleasant and the not so pleasant realities of renovating a property to complete your dream life in France. Taking into account all the pitfalls and the devious and sometimes awkward neighbours as well as the struggles with the language and local dialect this book still has me wanting to aspire to my dream. Well done Richard Wiles for putting together such a pleasant and inspiring book to read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and badly written, 12 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
I'm not trying to be an old grump, but I really disliked this book from start to finish. After a while I realised what it reminded me of: those round-robin letters that people you haven't seen for years send round at Christmas, detailing their exotic holidays, delightful lifestyle, and the achievements of their amazing children. Maybe if you personally knew Richard Wiles, you would find this book interesting (I'm guessing that's the case for the rave reviewers on Amazon anyway). But I didn't. I didn't want to know about his honeymoon, his new in-laws, or his public digs at his ex-wife about access rights to his children. I didn't want to know exactly how long it took them to drive through France and what route they took, or what they did on their holidays. And so on.

Still, I am not the intended audience; in general I hate this type of book. I am at a loss to understand why British publishers can continue churning out this type of book, basically the same thing over and over again, and people still buy them. "We bought a ruin in France and renovated it!" Thousands of people have done that. Unless your writing talent rivals Peter Mayle's, it's not interesting. Richard Wiles is definitely no threat to Mayle. He's a professional writer entirely ignorant of basic grammar: he writes stuff like "The stove was hauled upstairs on a sturdy barrow given to Al and I by her parents." He does this over and over again.

He's also fallen into the distressingly common trap of considering his neighbours and their behaviour quaint and rather amusing purely because they are a) peasants and b) French. I was not in the least sympathetic to his rage when he discovered, months after buying his ruin, that in France you actually need planning permission to convert an agricultural building into a residence. Who'd have thought it? What dastardly foreigners. And of course when they speak English, they get a funny accent: "I theenk eet's time for ze lunch, non?"

The few good books in this overworked genre are by people who understand that when they move to another country, _they_ are the odd ones out, and it's up to them to adapt. Honourable mentions to Chris Stewart (Driving Over Lemons) and Patricia Atkinson (The Ripening Sun).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escapism!, 29 Jan. 2007
By 
E. Bastian (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin (Paperback)
Both myself and my husband loved reading this book, it was a delight from cover to cover. For those who know this area of France and the wonderful people,it is a book which makes you want to laugh and cry. The warmth and friendship that the locals extend to them is very real and so well portrayed. Also the frustrations are all too common. A gripping read for anyone doing a renovation in France.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Frangophiles, 15 Jan. 2013
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A highly amusing and informative account of the purchase and restoration of a French property. Lots of helpful advice regarding buying a property in France and of the differences in property law and building regulations. Written in a most amusing way - it has made me laugh out loud.
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Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin
Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin by Richard Wiles (Paperback - 15 Jun. 2003)
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