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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 22 September 2005
Being a big fan of her first book, "The Ripening Sun", I rushed to buy Patricia Atkinson's second book "La Belle Saison".
While her first book is about struggle and hardship to get her business off the ground, Patricia's second book takes a look at all the good things around her; cheese, hunting, truffles and fishing, among others; for which she had no time during the earlier years. But this is also the book of a woman who had to work hard to survive, who, grimly determined to make something of her life in France, just kept going, never looking back and, in the process, inevitably, did leave something precious of herself behind.
How do you handle success - and yourself - now you have achieved the impossible: creating a thriving vineyard and your own highly acclaimed brand in the very competitive wine business? All this as a woman in a French male dominated environment, and English to boot!
How do you face a certain feeling of loneliness and emptiness once you and your wines have become world famous; "you now have all you ever wanted, haven't you?" How do you find yourself back after all these years of abnegation. The answer comes to her, slowly, over time, and remains with Patricia despite trials which would have severely dented other, less resilient people.
This is not a literary masterpiece, she didn't have time to write one. Patricia is in a hurry to live a life as full as possible. This is an warm and fun book, sometimes sad, written in a straightforward manner by (and this you will feel strongly when reading the book) an honest, warm, fun loving, and passionate person who dares to go to the very limit of her many talents instead of playing it "safe". And in the process, she makes a success out of it. This really is the message of the book.
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on 28 December 2012
Not as good as her first autobographical book which was more dramatic as the reader willed her to succeed under frequently changing and difficult cirumstances.
This was more a list of activities in France which were alternated in chapters - wine, romance, hunting, wine, romance, food, hunting, rural france, romance, eating, mushroom hunting, cooking, wine, romance.
Not very dramatic and a little disjointed. I would have ended it with the death of Fidde because the hunting, eating, cooking, wine-making which followed his death seemed a little hollow and joyless/meaningless.
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on 16 August 2005
Are you fed up with the stereotype 'provence' book:
I bought/built a house and here is how wonderful it is/I am???
This is different.
Just go and read it.
A real joy.
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2007
I have followed Patricia Atkinson's career with open-mouthed admiration ever since I first saw her on Channel 4's "A French affair" in 1994. When her first book appeared, I pounced, eager to get the background of the TV story, and also to find out what had happened to her. "The ripening sun" is riveting stuff, and you will be struck dumb with admiration for the courage, persistence, and sheer bloody hard work that she has put in to making such a success of her vineyard.
"La belle saison" is as enjoyable in its way, but this time the subject is French country life in her particular corner of the Dordogne, rather than specifically her own story. However, interwoven with the anecdotes and adventures are snippets from her personal life, and, as in the first book, they are laced with personal tragedy.
She writes with great affection for her surroundings and the people, and despite the fact that she seems (to me!) to be typically English, I can never picture her returning to England to live - her total immersion into the local life and integration into the culture is a model for any of us who dream of moving to France.
My only slight gripe is that she always writes in the present tense, which sometimes is a (very) minor irritation, but it will not spoil your enjoyment of the book.
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on 26 August 2014
After the original book this was pretty boring. Obviously following previous success the publishers wanted a follow up but nothing more really exciting or challenging happened in the writers life and it was very repetitive, inconsistent and boring
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on 2 March 2011
Entertaining,informative, inspirational........ A book exceptionally well written by a gutsy woman who earned recognition when she was rewarded for her exceptional proven ability to succeed in an unknown field. All due to her dedication, focus, hard work under very difficult circumstances, and determination to succeed. We have read her two books with great interest and have thoroughly enjoyed both of them.
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on 31 March 2009
Too many people write about living in France or elsewhere after a short time there. Most buyers/readers will have come to this after reading the first book - about developing a vineyard and will realise that Patricia Atkinson is as almost a native as it's possible to get. That's why she can recount experiences as if she was a local but with eyes wide open. great book.
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on 28 November 2011
Excellent follow on from The Ripening Sun by Patricia Atkinson, the books certainly confirmed my wish to live in the Dordogne but with not so much work in mind!
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on 29 July 2009
Like the first book, this is a poor facsimile copy of the various similar works following A Life in Provence.

It is self-indulgent with painful and tortuous text that is heavy to read. A number of points keep being reiterated with an irritating habit of 'Franglais' with occasional 'mots' in French and italics.

like a bad wine in a pretty bottle - these books are best looked at and left unopened.
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on 4 October 2014
Wonderful evocative story of courage , love & determination. Loved both her books.
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