Okay, you all already know what a fool I am for most things French. So, when I happened upon this trade paperback, I just had to have it.
Karen Wheeler writes about her adventure moving from her comfy London digs to the rural middle of France. All on her own. All after being dumped by the love of her life. And quitting her exclusive, exciting job as a fashion and beauty writer. Karen accomplished this single-handed. No man to help with the move. No friends for support. But the cast of characters she befriends in her tiny village all become her new family.
I loved the first 100 pages of TOUT SWEET. I almost gave up on it in the middle. But it picked itself back up for me, making me glad I did finish it. The problem is not with the writing. The writing is smooth. Karen does very good sense of place. She also developed her people well. After all, they all really exist. It is a memoir.
When I think of France, well, I always associate it with great food. Not even just good, really great. But, Karen isn’t enjoying even good food in her little area of France. Hard to believe. But every chance she gets she is panning the food. Can it really be that awful?
When Karen is given a choice assignment in Paris, her company puts her up at the famous Hotel Plaza Athenée. She is given a penthouse suite facing the Eiffel Tower. In one scene she is giving a tour of the suite. When she gets to the way over the top bathroom, she tells of feeling like needing a ladder to climb into the deep tub. Then says that even from the bathtub she has a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower by pressing a button that turns the window from opaque to clear. Amazing!
Descriptions of the countryside and the local cafe and patisserie make you feel right at home. Yes, I am in France, you will say to yourself. And the actual transformation of the once almost unlivable country house is quite plausible and entertaining. But this young woman has the worst luck with men. She chooses badly over and over again. And I tire of this. But she kept me reading and wanting to know how it all turns out. And after all, I was all tied up with a little bit of France for a day.