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A Good Year | [Peter Mayle]

A Good Year

Peter Mayle once again returns to the beautiful but complicated world of Provence, to find that the highly competitive boutique wine trade has hidden depths that cannot be hidden by the sunny grape arbors above the ground. Mayle's usual fish-out-of-water British protagonist comes to inspect a Provencal vineyard left to him by his newly-dead uncle.
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Publisher's Summary

Peter Mayle once again returns to the beautiful but complicated world of Provence, to find that the highly competitive boutique wine trade has hidden depths that cannot be hidden by the sunny grape arbors above the ground. Mayle's usual fish-out-of-water British protagonist comes to inspect a Provencal vineyard left to him by his newly-dead uncle. While handling the details of the estate, he is distracted by two gorgeous women, but not distracted enough to overlook that his caretaker desperately wants the vineyard's land. When a beautiful young Californian arrives on the scene, with both a credible claim to the vineyard and a fount of viticultural knowledge, the plot begins to twist and curve into elegant complication and release.

©2004 Peter Mayle; (P)2004 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Happily snide (and knowledgeable) [with] wicked turns of phrase." (Chicago Sun-Times) "Mayle makes Provence sound like the most enticing place this side of paradise. Reservations anyone?" (People)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (215 )
5 star
 (67)
4 star
 (87)
3 star
 (53)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
3.9 (69 )
5 star
 (22)
4 star
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3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
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Story
4.0 (71 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (28)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Richard Pacific Palisades, CA USA 08-03-04
    Richard Pacific Palisades, CA USA 08-03-04 Member Since 2004

    Biomedical entrepreneur. Lifelong Libertarian. Yoga enthusiast.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    83
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    "Five stars aren't enough"

    Entertaining, funny, superbly written, and superbly read. Mayle at his best.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Queensbury, NY, USA 04-14-05
    Donald Queensbury, NY, USA 04-14-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    Overall
    "An excellent listen!"

    This is a very well written book that's resulted in an excellent audiobook. The story is so well constructed and the details so well described that you become a part of it. The reader also does a great job.

    Although not necessary, if you enjoy wine you'll find this story much more enjoyable. It centers around an inherited winery and some strange happenings.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Waukesha, WI, USA 11-04-05
    Stephanie Waukesha, WI, USA 11-04-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    6
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    "You'll Laugh Out Loud"

    A delightful listen with descriptions and dialogue that made me laugh out loud. Peter Mayle pokes fun at the English, French and Americans through his knack for creating characters that are both stereotypical and believable at the same time. You may not know people exactly like these characters, but by the end of the story you?ll wish you did.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 11-11-07
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 11-11-07 Member Since 2005

    I love books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    446
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    253
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    85
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    Overall
    "My first Mayle"

    My wife suggested I read this book so I did. It was an enjoyable listen. What I enjoyed most was listening about small town life, it could have been anywhere, this happened to be in France. Living in the city, dropping out and living a life like this is attractive. Not being a French speaker most of the French in the book went over my head but I still felt I knew what was going on. It protrayed the French in a friendly light, not something you always get. The wine perspective was interesting. I think mostly for me, I grew up in a small town myself, I understand all that goes with that and this book brought some of that out. It made me think a trip to Provence at some point might be quite fun!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ALN 04-05-07
    ALN 04-05-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    Overall
    "Worth it!"

    I found this purchase completely worth while! I wasn't very keen on the narrator, but he does great accents and soon I was hooked. This novel took me away, as good books should. The movie seems like ridiculous fluff after having read and listened to the novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 08-09-13
    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 08-09-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    91
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    7
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    Performance
    Story
    "O.K."

    I thought I'd submitted a review of this already! Not as good as Hotel Pastis, John Lee fantastic!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn Hong Kong, Hong Kong 12-25-10
    Robyn Hong Kong, Hong Kong 12-25-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Lovely French escape"

    Very evocative of its setting - I could almost feel the sun on my back as I listened. A good little plot/mystery, interesting characters and fab narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Calgary, Alberta, Canada 07-29-10
    Andrea Calgary, Alberta, Canada 07-29-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Predictable but Delicious and Enjoyable"

    I think my title says it all. Mayle continues to entice me to listen without too much adventure, though there is certainly some suspense towards the end of this novel. His works help clear away the realities and think about another, enviable life in Southern France. The characters are sympathetic and humourous, and though it's not too original I really enjoyed listening to this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    08-09-08
    08-09-08 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A Good Year and a Great Listen!"

    Both my husband & I were captivated by the movie which inspired our purchase of the book. John Lee's wonderful voice added greatly to the book's ability to transport us into a delightful world of eccentric and lovable characters; we tasted the foods, delighted in the wines, felt the sun, and were cheered by the dry humour all the while commuting to work in a rainy and chilly Canadian summer. We are looking at ways to bring the tastes and experience of Provence into our own home. We will be certainly going back to this book again and again and when we get the opportunity, we will vote for John Lee as a favourite narrator (I enjoyed him every step of the way through the unabridged Pillars of the Earth as well!)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G.G. Seattle, WA 06-14-07
    G.G. Seattle, WA 06-14-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nice story, not Mayle's best - bad French accent"

    I bought this book after watching the movie - I am a fan of Peter Mayle and have read all his previous works of fiction. I hadn't even heard of this one, though. When I watched the movie I knew right away it was based on a Peter Mayle book, and that somehow I had missed one. I was sure the movie had left out significant character development, characteristic of Mayle's writing. And throughout the movie I kept feeling like we weren't getting to know the characters -- the plot moved quickly without much explanation for their actions. I bought the book and downloaded the audio shortly after. I like to alternate between audio and paper, depending on what I'm doing.

    I guess the movie didn't cut out much after all. The characters in this story aren't developed in the typical Mayle style. It was still a nice, light read - just not what I expect from Peter Mayle.

    I am a French speaker and have lived in Provence - I love hearing descriptions and names of familiar places. These, too, were fewer and farther between than in the author's previous novels.

    Finally, the accent of the narrator was BEYOND irritating. His consistent mispronunciation of the French vowel combination "ai" as a long /i/ sound instead of a short /e/ sound finally drove me to turn off the audio and read my paperback.

    Oh well - I guess there's a reason I hadn't heard about this one sooner. I'm baffled that of all his excellent novels, Hollywood chose this one to make into a film.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
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