L'Auberge by Julia Stagg
|L'Auberge by Julia Stagg|
|Genre: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A relaxing read about an inn in the Pyrenees taken over by a young English couple. The author lives in the Pyrenees and definitely knows what she's talking about.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: May 2011|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperback|
|External links: Author's website|
L'Auberge des Deux Vallees was sadly neglected but it had been bought, not as everyone expected, by a relative of the mayor, but by an English couple who, by all accounts, had little French and not a lot of experience in running a restaurant. Obviously, such a travesty cannot be allowed to continue, and within hours of hearing the news, mayor Serge Papon has called an emergency council meeting to ensure that the newcomers are forced out as quickly as possible. Unfortunately he hadn't reckoned on Christian Dupuy, whose politics are guided by his conscience rather than his wallet. When it comes down to it are quite a few other people in Fogas who don't see what's happening in quite the same way as the mayor.
I was going to say that you will need to suspend belief over whether or not an inexperienced couple would take over a restaurant and invest their life savings in it – but people do do things like that. I can't even say that the French wouldn't take the young couple to their hearts in quite this way, because it all rings very true. It's a delightful trip through French bureaucracy and human nature at its best and worst. The story takes place in the Pyrenees, where author Julia Stagg lives – and coincidentally runs a small Auberge. She knows exactly what she is talking about and it comes across in the story.
It's an alright holiday read which will put you in mind of Peter Mayle but the story has more depth than A Year in Provence – and the people are less like caricatures. You'll laugh and you cry – and just occasionally you'll wonder if Paul and Lorna Webster wouldn't be better going home, but you'll still want to know how it all works out.
I'd like to thank the publishers of sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might enjoy Chocolat by Joanne Harris particularly if you weren't too keen on some of the mystical qualities in that book. We can also recommend Summer of Love by Katie Fforde.
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