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4.6 out of 5 stars48
4.6 out of 5 stars
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2004
Ruth Silvestre's third book continues to describe France with warmth and love and very differently from other either over-cynical or patronising stories of how someone bought their house in the sun. This one, the last of a trilogy, finishes sadly but,if you've read the others (and you should!) then you'll see that the ending, sad but hopeful, is just what one would have expected from this lovely, real saga. I don't think anyone has been able to describe the real France as well as Ruth Silvestre: she sees it's faults as well as it's lovely,earthy values with wonderful clarity, is easy and enjoyable to read without being over-simplistic and leaves you hoping that this will not be the last book about Belair and Mike and Ruth....and the sons and grandchildren, theirs and those of all the neighbours in Lot and Garonne! Must buy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2007
The 3 books in this trilogy are outstanding....possibly because Ruth's lovely nature shines through, she seems a very sweet woman. The lives of her family and neighbours are so sympathetically written, sometimes humourous and occasionally sad and the setting of the books is clearly portrayed.
[The nearest to these books is C'est la Folie by Michael Wright, another sweet natured person and very funny description of French living!]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2010
I bought the first book in the Trilogy based mainly on the 5* reviews. As soon as I was a few pages into it, I ordered the other two.

I asked myself initially how it would be possible for a person, specifically Ruth, to write three books based on every day happenings and to hold the attention of the reader.

She did and she did it superbly.

So many of the wonderful and unexpected experiences we have enjoyed in the four years we have lived here, and are continuing to enjoy, are so similar. Nothing sentimental about these books as some critics imply, they are based on fact and are real. Just wish that there was a 4th book in the offing. For those who genuinely want to feel happy and settled in La Belle France, these books provide the 'how to'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2013
Having read the previous two books and been totally captivated by the lives of the families featured and the beauty of life in Southwest France as so wonderfully described by the author, I was eager to read the third book. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. I was again transported into the lives of the author, her family and friends and life at Bel-Air and the surrounding area. Ruth Silvestre is a talented writer who, to my mind, deserves great respect for sharing some very touching moments with such gentle humour and honesty. I was very sad to have finished all three books and can't quite escape the feeling of 'homesickness' that has descended since reaching the end of her remarkable accounts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2009
This belongs to a trilogy and was the third book. If you want a good travel writer she is it. Very enjoyable and her descriptions of the country and the food are amazing. I hope she writes another to follow on from this series.
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on 22 January 2014
Reflections of Sunflowers is the final book in the Sunflowers Trilogy set in the Lot-et-Garonne, France and despite many years having elapsed since the start of their adventure Ruth still writes beautifully about their love of France and their French friends. Life has changed a lot since they arrived at Bel-Air in the 1970's and there are more changes on the way. There are now grandchildren around to enjoy holidays in France and all that village life there has to offer, but this book also has a certain amount of sadness to it.

I felt very privileged to have shared in Ruth's life from the pages of these books and appreciate how difficult it must have been to write about some of the things she shares. I will always have a great affection for the Sunflowers Trilogy and I'm so pleased to see they are now all available on Kindle as having passed on my paperbacks I can now easily re-read them. If you haven't yet read these books and enjoy life in France memoirs do give them a try as I'm certain you won't be disappointed; I think they are among the best.

See also A House in the Sunflowers: An English Family's Search for Their Dream House in France (The Sunflowers Trilogy) and A Harvest of Sunflowers (The Sunflowers Trilogy)
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on 24 June 2014
I say this because it is definitely the most moving and sensitive one, not only concerning her own family but also all her neighbours who she has come to love and they are also beginning to disappear ..... no-one lives for ever. I don't want to give too much away but will say I cried at the end..

I read the 1st book when my version was published, 1992. So I was grateful that there were gentle recaps but not enough to irritate anyone who has read all three books within a closer time frame. (I haven't yet read book two). I also like the attitude "my readers are not idiots, they might not be great French spekers but can get the gist of what is being said". The balance between the French phrases and the English translations is very delicately done.

Ms Sylvestrre's love of her small village, it's people and her many visitors who also appreciate the lovely countryside, the festivals and the unity of families is beautifully and kindly portrayed. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would say it is perfect reading for those who love France and are either travelleing to or from the country. It will keep all your own experiences fresh in your mind.
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on 19 November 2015
Having only recently discovered Ruth Silvestre , I read her 3 books about her house in France in quick succession, and have just finished Reflection of Sunflowers . Ruth has an ability to make the description of her day to day life in her 'maison secondarie ' come alive for the reader . I can 'see ' her garden , and feel I know her neighbours Raymond and Claudette . It is all described in a natural unforced way , and I love these books so much more than the works of Peter Mayle for example . ( sorry Mr Mayle !) Ruth and her husband Michael shared this great adventure every step of the way , and therefore the end of book 3 is very poignant . So many who embark on similar adventures , or indeed who move to France full time , give up their French dream on the death of their partner . I have questions for Ruth or the publisher : does Ruth still visit her home in France ? Also , did Ruth or her husband have French ancestry...Silvestre sounds very French to me ? Anyway, would love to read more by the author.
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on 28 March 2014
I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of Ruth Silvestre's memoirs of her life in her French home. I have probably enjoyed them more than any other memoirs I have read about France, and there are many. This final book in the trilogy, while very sad, is a perfect end to three beautifully written accounts of her life in her second home, and all the people and places she and her family encounter. But it's mostly about the people. I think this is what singles Silvestre - and her books - out from many others in this genre - she and her family really developed a close relationship with their neighbours and they became a second family. They really became part of the community. Her books plot the changes in the neighbouring family over the years, which sometimes mirror changes in theirs - birth of grandchildren, etc. I also love the descriptions of the countryside and her beloved garden and home. All in all, three wonderful books which I will read again and again.
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on 12 April 2014
I complained mildly that the second book in this series was not different enough from the first. This, the third instalment, is different. If you have followed the story till here, you should definitely read this; if not, I don't think it will work, as its impact depends very much on the reader's familiarity with the people and setting. This is a much sadder book, though there is still humour and optimism. Silvestre seems to have provided a very honest, down-to-earth and moving account of difficult moments in her life. I read it in one go! In a way it is more of the same, but in a minor key; those who loved the previous books should not miss it.
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