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The Folly of French Kissing: A Novel Paperback – 7 May 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square Books Ltd (7 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908096101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908096104
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 991,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Wonderfully atmospheric story that zips along and demands to be read in a single long sitting.' --Daily Mail, Debut Fiction Review

'very funny...begins as a sprightly Sapphic St Trinian s ends with a more than dark hint of Lolita. Highly recommended.' --A.N. Wilson, Spectator

About the Author

Carla McKay is a journalist, reviewer and former fiction editor of the Daily Mail. She lived for half a year in a small village in the Languedoc, France, which inspired this novel. Currently she divides her time between London and Oxford.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
The Folly of French Kissing was another of those novels that were a fantastic surprise and I can't say anything but I truly enjoyed every page of it from beginning to end. This is mainly because I harboured some unfair views that I garnered firstly from the title and then the front cover. Basically, I thought I'd been offered a novel that was going to be pure unadulterated chick-lit which isn't really my thing and when it turned out to be so much more, I was hugely surprised and pleased.
The Folly of French Kissing combines light humour, believable characters and a darker, much more sinister undertone that plays out convincingly without ever getting too heavy at any time, making it a fantastically enjoyable summer read.
The main character is the ex-school teacher Judith who is fascinating in her own right as she struggles to come to terms with her new life in France after escaping the tawdry school scandal which cost her dearly in the form of her job. Judith's character isn't easy to warm to or even relate to but as events unfold she becomes somewhat of a heroine and the way things turn out for her are especially pleasing.
Other leading characters include journalist Tim who is remarkably tame for an apparently cut throat journalist and manages to come across very well, especially once he gets involved with Fern and her trouble son Ben. My favourite characters are the Campions, including the villain of the tale Lance who I think is fantastically drawn and very easy to dislike even before you discover the horrifying extent of his misdemeanours. His wife Jean is a bit more of a stereotype but it's impossible not to feel empathy and compassion for her as events are revealed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The misleadingly facile cover of this really engaging, amusing and very clearly constructed novel (who designs these things?)suggests that this is to be an 18-30s story of sex in the sun. However from the outset the author plunges us into a series of characters and sub-plots which revolve slowly but inexorably towards each other like a slow-motion jigsaw, and as they come together surprise after surprise reveals that nothing and nobody is quite as it seems at first sight. The author has clearly lived this life down in the Midi, but her observations about it are incisive, witty and frank and give the book an authenticity so often lacking from other writers. The plot is cleverly constructed and you can't wait to find out what happens next - a really absorbing page-turner.I really can't think why we haven't heard from Carla Mckay before, but I'm certain her fans will insist she writes more now.
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Format: Paperback
I read the whole book in one sitting today while soaking up some lovely English summer weather. I couldn't put it down. The cover does not hint at the varied and serious topics covered. I found the story to be fast paced and exciting. I thought the characters were well rounded, even if there were a few in there who were thoroughly revolting, and the descriptions were enough for me to be able put myself in all the locations. I love a book that makes places seem familiar even if I haven't been there and that paint a clear picture in my mind. I'm gutted that I've finished it and can't wait for Carla McKay's next offering
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Format: Paperback
If you want to be transported to a small French town in the heat of summer this is the book for you. McKay captures not only the essence of the place but also the claustrophic bickerings and intrigues of its resident ex-pat community and their, not always amicable, interaction with the locals. The book is not nearly as 'Chick Lit' as its cover and title might suggest. The heroine is complex and likeable and the broad cast of supporting characters are all well drawn. The story is totally believable and positively gallops along. I loved it.
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Format: Paperback
I thought it was a brilliant and beautifully written lively little novel which moved at a cracking pace. There was never a dull moment and the characters were so real I felt I knew them all personally! The real monster in the story came to the most amusing end - it was hilarious! I would thoroughly recommend it for a pool side page turner. Shame about the unflattering title.
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I bought this book for two reasons. One was that I wanted to know about how the English behave in Languedoc, because I am an English person who doesn't live in Languedoc but loves it and goes there. The other was that many people said, including on this site, that the book looked novelettish from its cover but that it absolutely wasn't; it was in fact `dark'.

It falls lamentably short on both fronts. We learn that the south of France is hot, that the French are inscrutable and that the English behave like caricature English people. There is a paedophile, who is very, very bad - which like everything else in the book is hardly a surprise.

(I suppose that the pecking order of unacceptableness these days dictates that the villain has to be a paedophile. It's like those now dated whodunits featuring American female detectives where you could always spot the villain early on: it's the sexist!)

This is however what publishers like to call a `page-turner'. This is because of the mesmerising quality of the writing. You read it in disbelief, wondering what atrocities the author will commit next, and she keeps the standard up to the very end. It is a vacuous stream of consciousness, from which great big clichés shyly emerge (so-and-so, for instance, we are unblinkingly informed, was `not a happy bunny') and into which commas have been flung as if by a blind darts player. Carla McKay doesn't really do punctuation. No doubt when she writes for the Daily Mail they have a sub-editor who does it for her.

Spelling is also occasionally a problem. We are invited to recall `the hair-raising American film, Dual...the one where the innocent motorist is pursued at breakneck speeds by a psychotic trucker'.
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