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Carol Drinkwater mark 3


Russethouse

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I'm afraid I have, or should I say I considered it my duty, so I could give you all the low down (LOL !)

Only start it if you are very interested in Carol Drinkwater!!

(actually I quite liked her before I started reading the books, but became rather disenchanted in the middle of book 2)

This one is the last of the trilogy, the Mail 'abridged' it, so it could have lost something, but I think overall her publisher has latched on to the 'Francophile market'

They are what I would consider a ' very light read' ideal for a plane or train journey, although the last book I read in those circumstances was Lucia, Lucia which I much preferred; it was about an Italian immigrant family in New York so not much to do with these forums.........

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Gay, may I just say how much I endorse your comment on Carol Drinkwater being an ideal aeroplane read.  I read her first one (the Olive Farm) on a long haul flight and found it an excellent way to while away the time.  I'd never heard of her before but found her story mildly entertaining, if a bit self indulgent in places.  Thought the second was certainly a case of flogging an almost dead horse and agree that she and her publisher are merely cashing in on the current popularity of I-too-have-a-house-in-France type books.   You say the third one talks about her money problems?  She needs to get some professional advice for I can't believe that anyone with sales figures like her's can be hard up! 

best wishes

Margaret

 

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I'm sorry to say that I read, and hated, the first two books in the series so am rather upset that there's yet another. Lightweight is an understatement - they read like exercises by a novice doing a creative writing evening class, or something that you see serialised in a women's magazine. So the Daily Mail is probably the right place (before you get upset, I used to work for part of the Daily Mail).

I thought it was a poor show that these books could be put out, and so much spent on marketing them, by a mainstream publisher when far far better books on French life have to stay as manuscripts or be published by their struggling authors (George East springs to mind here though I knowsome people don't like his style either).

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[quote]I'm sorry to say that I read, and hated, the first two books in the series so am rather upset that there's yet another. Lightweight is an understatement - they read like exercises by a novice doing a ...[/quote]

Sorry to those that like the books by Carol Drinkwater but I am firmly with Bill on this.

The first book was lent to us by a friend. I read it and half way through, it started to realise on me, that it was a flipping Barbara Cartland novel in disguise of being a "look at me, I'm here in France" type book.

The second I read a few chapters to give the writer a chance that this book would be an improvement and thought, here we go again, load of tosh, so I doubt if I will read the third.

Sorry Bill, not too keen on George East either but there are some funny passages in some of the books. I guess when you know of so many similar situations, the "surprise" fun element is not so novel  but I can see why some do and why some do not like his books.

I was looking through the net not long back and didn't realise just how many books there are now about France, ranging from; how to buy, how to renovate, how to breathe, how to tell c**p from decent plonk, how to be part of this and that and all stations in between and just about every "how to in France" subject there is. Plus, all the books by people who can put two words together and therefore decide they can write a book on their situation and happenings in France.

It is not those that worry me so much but the thousands of efforts that must get rejected by the publishers

Now where's my secretary, where were we, Oh yes, " well there I was when all of a sudden Monsieur Leclerc burst out from behind....................................."  Well why not every other ****** has already written a book after just a couple of weeks of being here

Edit note

B U G G E R is edited out? Well I never.

 

 

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Thought suddenly crossed my mind that all you nice people out there are going to (mistakenly) think I have a high regard for Carol Drinkwater's literary style.  Absolutely not the case but there is, IMHO, a place for self indulgent drivel such as this, aeroplanes and stuck on the Tube being two of them.  Shame she didn't stick at just the one though.  Assume greed motivated the second, though her publisher would no doubt claim, "satisfying her legions of loyal readers". This is why I'm so baffled about the money problems in the upcoming instalment. 

But we really shouldn't knock writers like CD or, even less, the late Barbara Cartland for they are immensely popular and at least keep people reading.  (Will, I stand corrected but imagine that having a mega-star such as Cartland or Bradford Taylor enables a publisher to retain less popular writers on his list?)  And as people often remind me rather pointedly, not everyone wants to plough through Balzac in the original.

But it does appear that everyone with a pen and a place in France is cashing in on the public's practically insatiable appetite for such stories.  Yet is the standard getting any better?  I'd still rather re-read "A Year in Provence" to anything published later.  Re-read Mayle's "Anything Considered" this week and was reminded (as if I needed to be) of what a bloody good writer he is.

Bon weekend a tous,

Margaret

ps:  Miki, looking forward to your "Tales of an International Hotelier"!

 

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Peter Mayle's "Hotel Pastis" is a favourite of mine; however I do agree about the CD books, the second was a self indulgent release of misery for her miscarriage - not what I wanted to read about over many chapters!
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I'd still rather re-read "A Year in Provence" to anything published later. 

ps:  Miki, looking forward to your "Tales of an International Hotelier"!

Margaret,

Back in 1989/90 when we had our place near Manosque (04), Mayle's book was released, we had bought and read the copy (we felt we had a real interest in doing so) and Tina, being of the inquisitive type, mentioned (instructed with menace is a better phrase really) that Menerbes was not too far away from us and perhaps a little peek around, would be quite a nice day out and perhaps find the resto near the "gare" and partake of lunch.

Off we toddled and in less than an hour we were in the town. From there we had a good look around taking in the beautiful area and the town itself. We had a nice day and thought that it would be nice to take the N100 route to get back by. After a very short while, we stopped for a drink in a nearby bar  (it was well over 40 centigrade and no air conditioning in the car those days for us)

We got taking to the few people in the bar, one couple were from the USA and were staying in Menerbes and so the talk got around to Mr Mayle and his book A year in Provence. They were aware of him and his book and quizzed us to its reality. This is where I had to say, No it was a load of tosh but well put and in such simple terms, as to make it a very easily read and in an original way by making it a "life in one year" type book.

Let's be straight about some things, he was never going to be asked to help in a bakery, he was not going to be asked to start a goat race, he had a beautiful house, which required very little work to make it super, the builder chap who sold it was not impressed with the nonesense that was written about it (a story about the previous owner would have made a good read) there was so much written that Mayle had obviously heard about most of what he wrote, he spoke no French (at the time of writing the book) but spoke with plenty of people and believe me, some of that part of France barely speak understandable French, let alone Anglais!) but what came through, in my view, was a way of life, a simple story with "borrowed stories" and above all a good yarn about vie provencale.

Just wish I wasn't simple enough to have thought about it first

So I will have to seek another way of writing my book.................

 

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Miki, the idea wasn't exactly unique even when Mayle wrote in, what, '89?  If you remember at the time he was accused by some of plagiarism because one Lady Fortescue had written on an identical theme, a story entitled Perfume from Provence back in 1935!  Heaven knows what his detractors have to say about matters now when you could build a house in Provence with the number of books on the subject...

I'm sure most of it was made up but it's still a good read.

Margaret

 

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I have just read the Olive Farm (evenings by the Gite fire after a hard days work at our 'grange'

and for the first 1/2 thought it was just OK, she then went moaning on about cash shortages (but managed to catch last minute expensive flights to meet deadlines, water the dog etc)

I had bought it thinking it was one of the dropped out of UK life and actually making a go of it abroad as the 'foreigners' do. But no, just a publicity vehicle for her. Shan't read another. Now where's my beano??

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[quote]Miki, the idea wasn't exactly unique even when Mayle wrote in, what, '89? If you remember at the time he was accused by some of plagiarism because one Lady Fortescue had written on an identical theme...[/quote]

Margaret, Lady Fortescue also wrote Sunset House in 1937 and I have both of them. They are completely charming, funny and tearfull and STILL in print as far as I know. They are a wonderful look into the life then in France through the eyes of a gentlewoman. Mayle must have found them and copied the style. I don't know if they were his or other people's experiences, but the idea was definatly not his!

They are among my favorite books and now you have reminded me of them they will get read again. Along the same lines are the books written by Lillian Beckweth about her move to the Isle of Skye and her antics learning to live with the crofters. They are wonderful stories and knock the modern versions into a******d hat!

John.

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John, I've read Perfume from Provence and loved it.  Seem to remember their motive for moving to France in the first place was the then considerably cheaper cost of living.  As we all know, things have changed a lot since the '30s (see separate thread).  Isn't their a hilarious description of moving the piano in?  One of the many reasons I'm looking forward to moving back to France permanently is that we'll be finally bringing together the contents of numerous lofts/friends' garages, etc. where we have things stored in the UK.  This includes several hundred books, of which Sunset House is one of them.  Also have the complete works of Proust.  And to think there are people who fear we'll be bored when we move to the French countryside... 

best wishes, Margaret

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"!If I told my friends and neighbours I was reading Proust, they'd think I was off my head.   I even know some who - gasp - have never heard of him."

I thought that everyone had heard of him. Famous French F1 racing driver, funny sticky-out hair style, first name Alain! Didn't know he had written any books though?

If you realy want a book to read at bedtime I am reading it now. "Why Everything Is Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better (And What You Can Do About It)" by Vernon Coleman. And by the wotsits has that man got a chip on his shoulder. Claims not to be a political person, but definately don't like our Tony.....

John.

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And to think there are people who fear we'll be bored when we move to the French countryside... 

There isn't a smiley for tongue in cheek otherwise I'd have included one immediately after "countryside"!  Whatever way I have with words I completely lost it yesterday, apologies.  M

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If you want a decently written book about France, that properly does everything the Drinkwater books set out to do in about half the space, then I can recommend Chantemesle by Robin Fedden. It was first published in 1964, so pre-dates the bandwagon and the Peter Mayle books which started said bandwagon. It has been republished by Eland, ISBN 0 907871 92 5. Magical.

The Peter Mayle books are good too, though the TV adaptation was dreadful. My favourite TV programme about France, apart from Allo Allo, was that episode of Absolutely Fabulous.

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>>The Peter Mayle books are good too, though the TV adaptation was dreadful<<<

Oh how I agree, by far the worse thing the late great John Thaw ever did IMHO, and my opinion of Lindsay Duncan has never recovered ! (However, as I think Peter Mayle managed to write the whole book without mentioning his wifes name perhaps the material wasn't good !)
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