Book review: A Noël Killing

A Noel KilllingA Noël Killing,
by  M.L. Longworth
Penguin Random House
11/12/2019

Crime / Mystery
304 pages

Goodreads

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M.L. Longworth recently talked on Criminal Element about mysteries set in small towns. Her latest mystery, A Noël Killing, the eighth volume of her Verlaque and Bonnet series, is set in Aix-en-Provence.

The description of the city, with its famous places, streets, plazas, and restaurants,  and of the food offered there, is nicely done.

VERDICT: If you want to try a Christmas mystery with a Provence setting, you may find A Noël Killing enjoyable.
It was too slow for me, and as I notice the same criticism applied by other readers to the first book in this series, I don’t think I’ll stay in the company of Verlaque and Bonnet. Joyeux Noël ! 

Please go to Criminal Element to read my full review

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 HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
What your favorite mystery set around Christmas?
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Book highlights: Taking Root in Provence – I love France #76

Taking Root in Provence banner

I LOVE FRANCE!

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Taking Root in Provence

Taking Root in Provence

Taking Root in Provence
By Anne-Marie SIMONS

Publisher: Distinction Press
Pub. Date: 2011
ISBN: 9780980217575
Pages:  208
Genre: nonfiction / travel
Source: received from the author

Goodreads
Buy Links: Distinction Press  |  Amazon  | Kindle

 

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MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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Your friends love France and can’t wait to go back? This book is the perfect Christmas gift for them!

As you may remember if you follow my blog, I was really thrilled to review Taking Root in Provence  last summer.
You don’t remember?
Well then, why not hop there a minute, and see why I think everyone should read this book, especially if you are preparing your next vacation in Provence! It is full of great insights, great ideas on what to do, to see, on how to appreciate the local culture, including its cuisine (oh, my, Oscar’s recipes at the end of the book…) and will definitely help you bear this crazy cold winter by giving you sunny glimpses on what life there can be.

Be sure to go read the review, and come back for some quotations here. I am so happy to have the chance to present this book again to my readers for France Book Tours.

And if you scroll down, you will find 5 chances to win a copy of the  book!

QUOTATIONS

If in the United States the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas season, in Provence the date is December 4th, the Fête de la Sainte Barbe (Barbara). On that day, people buy little packets of seeds of wheat which they sprinkle on wet cotton placed on saucers. By Christmas day, the wheat has grown tall and green and will serve as table decoration during Christmas dinner.
p.54

Say winter, say mimosa. Soon after Christmas, the first mimosa appears at our flower markets and a month later the town of Mandelieu-la-Napoule, the mimosa capital near Cannes, celebrates with a two-week-long festival complete with a Mimosa Queen and large floats overflowing with the cheery yellow bloom, like so many rays of sunshine.
p.66

When friends say they envy us for living in the south of France i sometimes feel like telling them that it is not all roses down here. (There, that should make them feel better). Take strikes, for example. As French as the baguette but a lot harder to digest, la grève is so regular an occurrence here that it has become part of the fabric of life.
p.118

It’s been more than ten years since we left Washington, D.C. (doesn’t tempus fugit?), and we increasingly feel at home in France but -boy- do things remain different here…
But the greatest difference of all is the subject of food – a national craze if not an obsession…
In fact, every year in October there is a national Semaine du Goût which promotes the pleasure of eating as illustrated by chefs, restaurant owners, nutritionists, farmers and – why not?- the Minister of Agriculture himself.
pp-178-181

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Two expatriates left Washington DC in search of the ideal place to retire where climate, culture, accessibility and natural beauty all had a role to play. Curious about the vaunted quality of life in the south of France, they traveled the length and width of Provence where, preferring the city to the countryside, they decided to settle in the ancient town of Aix-en-Provence. That was in 1998 and Taking Root in Provence is the story of their slow integration into the French mainstream — both easier and more difficult than expected but ultimately successful.

In a series of vignettes Anne-Marie Simons gives us a warts-and-all picture of life among the French and with warmth and humor shares her lessons learned. Contrary to most publications about Provence, this book focuses on life in the city rather than the quiet countryside, and promises to be both informative and revealing to those who want to spend more than a passing holiday here. [from the author’s website]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne-Marie SimonsAbout us, rather:
Anne-Marie has worked as a translator, teacher, journalist, sportswriter (covering Formula 1 races),
and director of corporate communications.
She followed her husband Oscar into early retirement in 1998.
Oscar made his career in international development banking
and since moving to Provence has become an expert on Provençal cooking.
[Author’s profile on her blog]

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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK ON PROVENCE?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

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Are you curious enough
and would like to win a copy of the book?
Come visit the virtual book tour,
read reviews, an interview, and an excerpt,
and discover the 5 blogs where you can win the book!

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Just a reminder guys:

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please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)

Thanks!

I love France #54: Book review: Taking Root in Provence

I LOVE FRANCE!

I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.

*******

Taking Root in Provence

by

Anne-Marie SIMONS

208 pages

Published in 2011 by Distinction Press

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received a free paperback of this book
from
the author Anne-Marie Simons
in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post,
and the thoughts are my own.

The link above will take you to the author’s blog;
you can purchase her book on her website,
or by clicking on the publisher link above, or here:
paperback format
kindle format

Taking Root in Provence

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on FranceNew Authors 2013

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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Summer is finally here! Maybe it’s time to go discover the world. How about a sunny place where life slows down a bit, with nice wine, food, and tons of cultural places to visit? Does this place even exists? Of course, it’s Provence, in the South of France.

If you read this book, you might actually want to pack right now and go!

Having visited Provence last year, it was really great fun for me to revisit in company of Taking Root In Provence.
After a busy life in Washington, Anne-Marie and Oscar decided to retire and settle in Provence. This book is a treasure trove, full of their daily impressions of Aix-en-Provence and of the many surrounding quaint little cities and villages.

The author also follows the calendar to speak about the numerous festivals available around; whether they be related to food, art (music, opera, theater), nature, there’s something for everyone!

Anne-Marie’s style is very lively. She captures beautifully the reactions of the locals, and does not hesitate highlighting the difficulties one might encounter to become part of the local world.

What I liked is how she integrated very good historical and cultural information in an attractive narrative, never boring. For instance, shame on me, I am from Burgundy, but I had totally forgotten, and did I even know this?, why Saint Vincent was the patron saint of vintners. Go page 65 and you will understand why.

During my visit of Aix, I was surprised by the large number of small statues of the Virgin Mary on street corners. I actually took many pictures. I finally got the explanation by reading Anne-Marie’s book, it’s on page 68. There is a fascinating reason to it, that all historians will appreciate. And it’s connected with the delicious Calisson!!

statue 1 statue 2

Calisson 1 Calisson

So to prepare your visit to Provence, you really need to read this beautiful book. Plus at the end, she inserted her husband Oscar’s great recipes with produce and traditions of Provence. They sound delicious. Why resist?

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

They agreed on one thing before retiring-they would travel, sniff around at other countries and other lifestyles, and discover along the way which place came closest to “having it all.” There they would drop anchor and go with the flow. The going has been good, so much so that these former Washingtonians have decided to make France their permanent home. They chose the city over the countryside and took on the challenges and pleasures of Aix-en-Provence, where they have been doing as the locals do for more than a decade now. The daily markets, strikes, gypsies, curious villagers, ancient traditions, truffle cheaters, pagan and religious celebrations, secret swimming spots in the middle of Marseilles-it’s all there to be suffered and enjoyed. Not to mention an interest in food that borders on the obsessive. Add good weather, a pinch of hedonism, a dose of culture, and it all adds up to that elusive prize: quality of life. In this collection of vignettes, take a ride in the slow lane with Taking Root in Provence, through la France profonde, ancient Roman cities, and that wonderful blend of the old and new worlds that is today’s Provence. [Goodreads]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne-Marie Simons

About us, rather: Anne-Marie has worked as a translator, teacher, journalist, sportswriter (covering Formula 1 races), and director of corporate communications. She followed her husband Oscar into early retirement in 1998. Oscar made his career in international development banking and since moving to Provence has become an expert on Provençal cooking. [Author’s profile on her blog]

REVIEWS BY OTHERS

Go Nomad
Bonjour Paris
Vibrant Village
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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK
ON PROVENCE?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

***

Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)

Thanks!