I have got to start this review by saying that if you are looking for a book about ‘real’ French life, told from an unusual angle, and which will have you laughing your socks off, then this is the book for you! I also have to add that it was so good that most of the book has been read out loud to my husband, because its tales are so fun, I just had to share them.
The story centres around Crêpe, a small French rural village, just like countless others. One which holidaymakers, as they drive through, wonder if anyone really lives there still. However, despite its apparent state of dilapidation, people do live there. It has been home for generations of the same families, and with the years of history also come the memories of scandals and rumours, retold by the inhabitants as if the events happened just days, not years ago…
The main characters are the Mayor, Jean Marc Bulot, a retired postman, his birthday sharing lifelong friend and the village drunk Francis Conda. There’s also the village secretary Miss Murs, and the ancient yet formidable Madame Coquelicot. They, and many others all come wonderfully to life in the vibrant writing of this talented author, who lives in France.
The day the story begins is Jean Marc’s/Francis Conda’s birthdays. And, coincidentally it is also the day that life is about to change forever for the sleepy village of Crêpe. A one off arrival of a car in the village containing an English family looking for food is strange enough. But when it continues to happen, and it is apparent that Madame Coquelicot is happy to provide food, a fledgling idea is born in the mind of Jean Marc.
He calls a village meeting. The villagers listen to his plan and are at first reluctant. Opening a restaurant in their village seems much too much work, and when they hear it is going to be open every day well… However, their minds change rapidly when he reveals that his idea offers the opportunity for free enterprise, or to put it plainly, and indeed much more temptingly, the chance to make money, and lots of it!
Galvanised into action, the villagers use all their powers of invention. The village prospers, campsite, bar, shop, restaurants, they appear undefeatable! However, will it last, and will their success bring retribution from their competitive neighbouring village of Ventrèche? As the story unfolds, the reader can only be amazed at what lengths they will go to, and indeed what happens!
I found this an absolutely un-putdown-able story, one where the characters really came to life, and the plot is full of twists and turns. Whether you are looking for a book about ‘real’ France, French country life and traditions, an adventure, or even a romance, then this is the book for you.
Highly recommended! And very definitely a 5 Star read.
Review by French Bookworm, a book lover living in southwest France…
Available on Amazon as an e book, print and on Kindle Unlimited (UK).