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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 November 2009
Before I read this second novel in Herbert E Bates five book series about Pop Larkin and his family, I did the mistake of watching the DVD with the entire TV series from the early 1990s. The TV series was alright but when reading this second novel in the series, I realized that the TV series doesn't by half measure up. Bates has an extraordinary language! It is a true delight to read his description of places and people that is totally lost in the TV series. My recommendation would really be to stay away from the TV series unless one just is looking for a cozy fun series to watch on a cold winter night. Otherwise just stick to the books, they do not need to be visualized by Catherine Zeta-Jones and the like.This second novel in the series, start out with Mr. Charlton sitting reading about France and reminiscing about his childhood summers in Bretagne and the fantastic hotel he had stayed in there. Since the summer has rained away, Ma starts wishing for a holiday, beaches and sun, so she listens carefully to Charley's rantings. Before he knows it, Pop has been persuaded to take the entire family to Bretagne and to the same hotel Charley stayed in as a boy before the war. Charley and Mariette Larkin has by now been married for a year and Pop is deeply disappointed that they have not produced a grandchild so he feels that a vacation in France might do the trick and decides that they will go for an entire month. When the family arrives, the hotel is not so grand anymore nor as big as Charley remembered it. And the weather is ghastly for three days so that the family is close to returning home. Not only does Larkin's state of unwed couple meet with disapproval at the hotel, but Ma's body size and all the seven children as well. Because Ma has had a new addition during the year that has gone between the first book and the second. When the hotel owner starts thinking that Pop might be aristocracy, everything improves for the family and they get some wonderful memories to bring home. The book is hilarious at places like when a jealous Charley get very drunk and runs around on the beach puncturing all beach balls so that the "froggies" can't throw them Mariette's way and flirt with her. Pop Larkin's admiration for the fairer sex can get get a little tedious to read about but luckily he has a very understanding "wife" and if she can accept his gazing, so must I as a reader. All in all, it is a fun book to read and as "shocking" as the first one since this is a very eccentric family. One ought to read them in order though since they build on each other.
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on 10 June 2015
"A Breath of French Air" is the very readable and enjoyable sequel to "The Darling Buds of May" ,the first of doings of the Larkin family,
It is packed with humour, affection and practical common sense presented with the superb skill of H. E. Bates.
I commend it to those who have not read any of the set . They do not knowwhat they are missing..
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on 5 June 2016
I wasn't too sure about this episode in the Larkin family life, at first. I wondered whether their infectious joie de vivre would cope with being transplanted to a post-war French coastal resort? I needn't have been concerned, their full-on approach to life and love transforms all it touches. Not as riveting as the first book but still a marvellous piece of escapism.
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on 1 August 2013
AS a sequel to the Darling Buds of May it has a lot of opportunity for laughs and fun. The hotel the family stays in is brought to like by Bates and the French holiday resort is interesting. the book reveals interesting in sights into a time long gone when families lived together and the father's decision was final.
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on 4 March 2015
Just as good after about the sixth reading as the first time I read it,if ever I want a belly laugh I read the Larkin books.the t v series never did the stories justice and many were made up or omitted maybe Primrose and a vicar was not p c .
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on 22 January 2016
Brilliantly written and a pleasure to read as were the others in the series. Shame I've only got 1 more book to read!
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on 6 March 2012
A truly wonderful book, I can't imagine someone not enjoying it. However I did prefer the first in the series as it was about the Larkin's everyday lives. Also, fast delivery.
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on 7 May 2015
Halfway through this lovely book after reading the first :-) very pleased with quick delivery and not at all disappointed with the second part of the series :-)
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on 5 June 2013
As with the rest of the Pa and Ma Larkins stories enjoyed it very much, have read it many times since rediscovering it again
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on 16 June 2014
Perceptive - witty - and very mush of the time it portrays - read it and go - you may even find some of the locations
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