Forty-two, divorced and tired, Simon Shaw surveys the emptiness of his former home. Everybody had said it was the best house in central London. That was no surprise: his ex-wife had spent three years and used a team of decorators to make the perfect magazine house. But as the moving men take away the last of the furniture, Simon starts to consider the warm, seductive air of Provence.
Aided by Ernest, his valet and close confidant, Simon brings the Hotel Pastis into being. Soon it becomes a haven for the rich and famous. Has Simon got away from it all? Or is his mid-life crisis just beginning?
©1993 Peter Mayle (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
I love this story; the hotel aspect is enviable and takes you away to that life we might all like to live for a little while the criminal aspect is clever and makes the book a little suspenseful. The two plots are cleverly brought together in this good-humoured and fun read. A more simple, but enjoyable listen.
I was hooked from the very beginning, laughing out loud several times in the first few minutes. It wasn't consistently that funny, but was enjoyable the whole way through. The narrator was amazing, conveying each character superbly. I looked up the actor, Andrew Sachs, and he played Manuel in Fawlty Towers years ago!!!! There were no goofy Spaniards in this book, only Italians, Brits, French, and Texans, but if there had been, he'd have nailed them too.
My only tiny pet peeve: the central character should have asked his girlfriend to marry him at the end. Reason: the author portrays her as struggling financially and to tie up the loose ends, I would have found it more satisfying to know that was now taken care of. Would have given the ending more of a punch as well. But not a big point overall.
Great fun and a wonderful break in between more serious books.
"Transports you to the Luberon, to the Provence"
The characters especially Ernest, he frankly made the story.
He was amazing, a first rate actor who brought the characters to life. His portrayal of Ernest brought a smile to my face. Hard to believe that only one person was reading the book.
It was a very easy listen and the story line was not complex. I think many would find it a touch to easy going. But it was excellent to listen to in the car stuck in rush hour traffic on the M62 when it was pouring with rain.
I fell in love with Ernest, everybody needs an Ernest in their lives.
The ending was safe but maybe I would have been upset if it had ended any other way as the whole tale had lulled me to a cocoon of contentment.
It has definitely made me think about a holiday in the Provence this year. I’m imaging drinking Pastis sitting in the sun, outside a local bar, watching old men play Pétanque.
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