FOR many people moving to France for a life in the sunshine, enjoying fine wines and food, is the ultimate dream.
But for Susie Kelly in her latest book Two Steps Backwards she tells how her own French dream often had nightmarish interludes.
From her husband’s life threatening illness to imprisoned neighbours; maggot infested cheese to artic temperatures, Susie somehow battled on.
This is her second book, her first, Best Foot Forward, told of how she travelled on foot across France from west to east – she is full of character.
Now though we are taken from her arrival at her run down farmhouse in the Poitou-Charentes region and then on through how her life unfolded in this beautiful region.
She tells of how she had to fight off amorous Frenchmen, a somersaulting guinea fowl and even mice keen to share her bed.
All these trials and tribulations are handled with a deft touch and all with a smart and witty sense of humour that will have you laughing to yourself.
And it is obvious that Susie has an eye for character as we are introduced to a multitude of individuals both French and from further a field.
From many of the local people she elicits tales of life in the village way before France became a favourite of holidaymakers and property hunters.
This provides real depth to her own story showing how times may change but that the history of an area still plays an important role.
Two Steps Backwards is a little different from the many ‘my time in France’ books as Susie Kelly has got under the skin of French life.
And I hope Susie has other projects up her sleeve so that I can step forward around France with her.
Paperback. 336 pages published 1 May, 2004
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