This delightful novel by Peter Mayle is once again set in rural France. The story centers around the adventures of three characters who are building and opening a hotel. Tangled up with the main plot are a bank robbery, a kidnapping and a Mafia hit man.
As fans of A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence may have suspected, Mayle's skills as a writer translate well into fiction. His first novel is as adroit, funny and charming as his previous works, and again it is set in his favorite region of France. Newly divorced, disenchanted and bored with his job as a director of a prestigious British ad agency, Simon Shaw is delighted when beautiful Frenchwoman Nicole Bouvier suggests that he rescue from bankruptcy a half-finished hotel in the drolly named town of Brassiere-les-Deux-Eglises. Taking a huge risk, Simon resigns from his agency and becomes patron of the new establishment in the picturesque Luberon region. In counterpoint, Mayle crosscuts to the escapades of a lovable band of criminals who are conspiring to break into the vault of a bank in the neighboring village of Isle-sur-Sorges. As the threads of the plot begin to converge, Mayle displays his satiric eye for social foibles by skewering advertising execs in England and the U.S.; he is equally adept at evoking typical Provencal villagers. Wickedly sharp and sympathetic at the same time, his characterizations are accurate down to nuances of class differences, voice, accent and vocabulary. The novel is as smooth as a sip of pastis, and one hopes that Mayle will find his segue into fiction equally addictive. 100,000 first printing.
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Hotel past is
I picked the book up in a coffee shop and read a chapter each day. After 10 days the book had disappeared. I then downloaded it to my phone. I had never downloaded a book before! I am so glad that I did. Fabulous yarn!
I may now jump in my car and drive to Provence but I will download another Peter Mayal novel to take with me.