Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Review of Patricia Feinberg Stoner 'At Home in the Pays d'Oc'

Review of Patricia Feinberg Stoner 'At Home in the Pays d'Oc'

 This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down.
Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray.
They have no intention of keeping her. ‘Just for tonight,’ says Patrick. ‘We will take her to the animal shelter tomorrow.’ It never happens. They spend the weekend getting to know and love the little creature, who looks at them appealingly with big brown eyes, and wags her absurd stump of a tail every time they speak to her.
On the Monday her owner turns up, alerted by the Mairie. They could have handed her over. Instead Patricia finds herself saying: ‘We like your dog, Monsieur. May we keep her?’
It is the start of what will be four years as Morbignanglais, as they settle into life as permanent residents of the village. “At Home in the Pays d’Oc” is about their lives in Morbignan, the neighbours who soon become friends, the parties and the vendanges and the battles with French bureaucracy.
It is the story of some of their bizarre and sometimes hilarious encounters: the Velcro bird, the builder in carpet slippers, the neighbour who cuts the phone wires, the clock that clacks, the elusive carpenter who really did have to go to a funeral.

My review

I loved being swept up into this story. The dream of moving abroad and experiencing another culture and lifestyle is one that I have always been fascinated with and hope to do one day soon so this story came along at the right time for me. As France is our destination of choice too, I couldn't wait to start reading. As an animal lover, I totally would have done the same as Patricia and Patrick with the little dog and loved this part of the book. The story is well-written and engaging and draws you right into the atmosphere of France. Packed with information and anecdotes this creates a realistic vision of what expat life would be like. 

The author paints a great picture of the pace of life, the old house and local cafes, I could almost imagine being there as I was reading. The book is light-hearted and follows a relaxed pace as you explore life abroad with the couple. The beauty of France and the way of life is vividly portrayed and you can see why they become right at home there. I wished the ending could have been slightly different from my own fantasy point of view but nonetheless an enjoyable read. This is a great book for curling up in front of the fire with and dreaming of your own adventures in France that could be...

About the author...

Patricia Feinberg Stoner began her career as a graduate trainee with the Liverpool Daily Post.

Quickly discovering she was a terrible reporter, she switched to feature writing and since then her career has revolved around the written word, as a journalist, advertising copywriter and publicist.

For many years she was international press officer for Granada Television, leaving to set up her own publicity business, The Good Word.

Once a dyed-in-the-wool Londoner, Patricia now lives in West Sussex with her husband Patrick, also a writer, and a lunatic Brittany spaniel who loves cats. She is the leader of the Arun Scribes creative writing group.

Her first book, 'Paw Prints in the Butter', is a collection of humorous verse about cats, sold in aid of WADARS, a local animal rescue charity. She followed this with 'At Home in the Pays d'Oc' which, she says, is the story of two accidental expatriates in the south of France. The aforementioned lunatic Brittany may have had something to do with their expatriate status...

November 2017 will see the publication of Patricia's third book - The Little Book of Rude Limericks. Despite the title, she warns that not all of the limericks in the book are rude: in fact, some are perfectly polite. However, there are exceptions.

Patricia welcomes visitors to her Facebook page, Paw Prints in the Butter, and to her blog You may occasionally find her on Twitter @perdisma.

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