Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dreaming of France, Paris in July -- Two Book Reviews

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it

This week, I finished reading two books set in France, so I thought I'd review them for you, to save you from having to read them.
 I devour books set in France. Starting with Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, I fell for the memoir or novel that takes place in France, letting me travel there through an author's words.
The stories for the two books I read were fine, but the books didn't paint word pictures to take me to France.
First I read a memoir called One Day Ahead: A Tour de France Misadventure by Richard Grady. I've been following the Tour de France bike race that past two weeks, and this book promised to take me inside the trials of covering all those miles by bike. The author didn't ride the tour roads, though. He was support for a friend and three other guys who decided to ride each leg of the Tour de France on the day before the actual racers rode them. Throughout the trip, the author was miserable. I couldn't figure out why he was doing it. The story itself seemed entertaining, but the writing focused more on getting from the beginning to the end than it did on transporting the reader to France. I missed the beautiful setting, the scrumptious food, the charming people, and instead, I got stuck in a motorhome with someone who hated the entire trip. He drank a lot of tea and got drunk on wine a couple of times. If you love bicycling and are curious about how much it takes to support someone on the Tour de France, then you should read this one.
The second book I read was, I think, a novel called Home by Jacqueline Mason. In this one, a British woman, Jen, meets a
Frenchman when she and her boring boyfriend Bradley go to stay with him on vacation. Before the reader can blink an eye, she moves to France to live with the perfect physical specimen of a Frenchman, Scott. She sees signs that he is controlling and stubborn, along with stingy and cheap. She doesn't get along with his parents, and he has a lot of problems with her parents. Nevertheless, the two marry. Right up to the actual wedding, I keep thinking she'll back out of it, but she doesn't. And things only get worse before she is able to rescue herself.
Again, Jen doesn't really enjoy all of the things I love about France, which is kind of the point of reading a book set in France. This book also has a number of copyediting errors, like run-on sentences or incorrect paragraphing on dialogue.
The plot kept me reading, but the author could have painted word pictures to put me in the scenes rather than simply telling me about what happened.
I'm starting The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain next. Hopefully, I'll enjoy that one.
 Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave a comment and visit each other's blogs, too, so you can get your fix of France dreams.
I'm also connecting with Paris in July.


Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

I saw in your last post that you are starting the difficult task of cleaning up one life in order to begin a new one. You are off to a good start! I will look forward to reading your book about your move to France I have a feeling it will be better than these two although I am sure they are good too.

Sim Carter said...

I want to say ditto to Sally's comment. I can't wait to read it, either! Great job on the cleanup and great attitude about the prospect of moving forward. As a card carrying member of the NAR (not the NRA) I know how daunting the job of getting a house ready to sell can be. Way to go, Paulita!

Louise said...

I've heard about the first book a little bit, and I'm a tour tragic too. What a shame he didn't like it. That trip should be so fantastic.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

These two were pretty disappointing, weren't they? Too bad!

Just Me said...

Thanks for the reviews Pauli. Always appreciated especially today as you are saving us from ourselves.

Teddyree said...

hmm thanks for saving me the time lol ... I think I'd be disappointed with the miserable attitude in the first book. I love to read about people's love of all things French!

Rhodesia said...

I love books about France, thanks for telling me about these two which I ave not read. Have a good week Diane

Tamara said...

I love the tour de france - and in fact - I did ride legs of the race on the day of the race in 2011. My partner and I and two good friends joined an organised tour - LOVED IT!!! couldn't imagine the misery of being in the motorhome... I had thought about reading this memoir - maybe not. Maybe I'll write my own.. Cant wait for Saturday nights Alpe d'huez - I rode up that too! I enjoy your honest reviews Paulita.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Thanks for the review Paulita. I think I will give this book a miss..I need to read something positive and with a happier feel to it.

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