Thursday 22 August 2013

L'Amour Actually by Melanie Jones

After one particularly bad day at work, advertising executive and confirmed city girl Melanie Jones decides to give up her old life in search of something new and simpler in South West France. With little knowledge of the country, even less of the language and just the memory of a disastrous school French exchange and a few day trips to Calais, she embarks on her adventure with a suitcase full of optimism and not a little bit of naivety. After all, how different can life in France be?

After a series of adventures with skirt-ripping tractors, handsome twin farmers, celebrity not-quite-beens, unusual toilets and a bonkers ex-pat community, all topped up, of course, with lashings of rosé, Melanie begins to discover that her new life in France isn’t quite what she’d thought it would be.

When the lovely Melanie got in contact with me asking her if I would review her book, I took one look at the cover (and read the blurb obviously) I instantly said yes! 

I really liked the premise of this book. I think we all would like to leave our stressful, tiring jobs and take a break in the idyllic French countryside. But this novel opens us up to the sometimes-hilarious realities of a London city girl moving to Rural France!

I was laughing practically from the start. Right from when Mel arrives in France in her crazy high Louboutins to ending up in a ditch and losing half her skirt stepping down from a tractor. Mel is such a likeable character. When she gets into embarrassing situations, I could feel myself cringing for her, as I could definitely relate to some of them! 

Mel is incredibly high maintenance at first, much more than me, so I couldn’t quite relate to her at first, but as the story goes on, we start to see what I believed is the real Mel, and I loved her character mindset change in the novel.

I particularly like the part when Mel meets Julian and he is likened to Channing Tatum! Oh yes please! Fantastic male character likening ☺.

I really enjoyed Melanie's writing style in this, which just had me picking the book up again and again at every opportunity. It was really like reading someone’s diary or you could almost be chatting to Mel herself.

I also love that this book is part fiction and part fact as Melanie did in fact live in South West France at one point. It leaves you wondering what actually happened and what is made up! I'm hoping Melanie didn't get into that many embarrassing situations! But I hope the hunky farmers were real!

There were also so many great secondary characters in this that made this story so good! From Gerard the drunken taxi drives that ends up putting Mel in a ditch on her arrival, to Tracey the reality TV singer star, who I despised at first but ended up loving!

I was quite surprised with two twists towards the end. One I semi predicted, but it didn’t turn out quite as I thought and the other really made me smile.

This is a great summer read and if you can’t quite drop everything and move to France like Mel, then you can escape reality in this lovely book, where you will really feel like you are in France.

L'Amour Actually is out now!


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