10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Good title for excellent book,
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!