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louisa's review

April 29, 2010

The best thing about writing Tout Sweet is the feedback and messages I've received from readers around the world, which continue to arrive on daily basis (yesterday's emails from example, came from Ontario, Vancouver, Prince Edward Island, Germany and Finland - the first from that country.) Another memorable email came from a City girl, who had decided to take some time out from Canary Wharf and emailed to say she had been reading Tout Sweet on a catamaran to Koh Phangan.

But I was particularly bowled over by the following review of Tout Sweet, sent by Louisa, who is thirteen and lives in Australia. If I hadn't written the book myself, Louisa's review would definitely make we want to rush out and buy it.

So thank you Louisa - you have summed up the book perfectly, and I think, more adroitly than one or two professional reviewers.

Tout Sweet
By Karen Wheeler

In her mid thirties Karen Wheeler has it all, a mega hot boyfriend, a fantastic fashion job and a beautiful flat in London; what more could you want? Karen starts to think she has the ultimate life…..until Eric dumps her for someone else, leaving her unloved and disheartened.

While visiting a friend in Villiers, Western France, Karen stumbles upon a run down, unloved cottage. Wanting a fresh start Karen immediately buys it, not knowing what she is in for.

While doing up her bedraggled cottage “Maison Coquelicot,” Karen acquires many unusual and loud friends in her new life. She attends Christmas parties and poetry readings and learns how to DIY on her own. She finds potential boyfriends and lesbian lovers.

She learns that happiness can be found in the smallest of things, a “night in” with a bottle of wine, an afternoon of black berry picking or even a walk through the market on a Sunday afternoon. “As a lifelong urban dweller, it is black berrying that provide one of the biggest thrills of my new rural life” page 266

This book was a dream to read, it never got boring and I could never put the book down! It was so well written that you could put yourself in Karen’s shoes and you could imagine the smell of fresh bread at the bakery or see yourself in front of a roaring fireplace. Tout Sweet had the ideal ingredients for a perfect book; it contained sadness, desperation, love and a great sense of humour. When I was reading this book I would find myself laughing out loud and gasping at things.

Tout Sweet being a true story also made it more interesting, nothing seemed false or exaggerated, which made it more real and easier to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would rate it 5 stars out of 5  . I highly recommend this book for older readers or adults, it is a perfect book for anyone who wants to know more about France or just wants a superb read.

I think that the theme of this book was a bit of a mixture between love, comedy and drama. Tout Sweet was better than I expected and I could read it time after time.

There is a second book in the Tout Sweet series called Tout Allure which will be published in August 2009.

comments (7)

1. Posted by Nina on April 22, 2010 7:04 PM

Louisa is absolutely right about Tout Sweet.
(Are all teenagers this mature in Australia..?)

I am at least comparing to her, veeery much older, and can also highly recommend this book (at the age of 42.) It was real fun to read. Very soon after I started to read this book, it made me think how wonderful film this would be..

All the best for you Karen.

2. Posted by aconfusedtakethatfan on April 28, 2010 2:07 PM

Brilliant! I also did a synopsis of your book for a writing course I am doing!

3. Posted by Lovejames on April 30, 2010 8:13 PM

Having read your first book, with increasing pleasure throughout, i'm delighted to see you have written a sequel. i now have to wait to read it! Such is life... but good to have something nice to look forward to. Keep up the good work!

4. Posted by Vanessa Vinos on May 1, 2010 11:49 AM

Hi Karen
I totally agree with your young reviewer in Oz. I am also an expat having spent the last 10 years in Seville (Spain). Consequently I have read a lot of books in the same genre as yours. Eventually I gave up, because they were all so predictable. That was until I read yours. I just couldn't put it down. Why? It was REAL. The good, bad and ugly were written about and I felt a real sincerity with your writing that I hadn't felt in this genre for a long time. Needless to say your book has done the rounds here in Spain also!

5. Posted by Laurie on May 29, 2010 5:10 PM

Hello Karen, I too was impressed with comment from the 13 yr old reviewer, so much so that I am ordering a copy of Tout Sweet and can't wait to read it. I too moved to France 21 years ago and love it here,never a dull moment! I have sent you an email with my blog link. Keep posting! Laurie

6. Posted by Lorna on August 1, 2010 8:43 PM

just got the new book from Amazon last week and have had to sneak away from visitors to get a crafty read at it... love it so far.... can imagine a film but remembering how awful awful the film made from Frances Mayes book set in Italy was.. maybe not! hope there is book three to look forward to.

7. Posted by Caryn Hamilton on February 21, 2011 8:52 AM

Could not put your book down, loved it. It was so real and I could really imagine a film from it. I dream of leaving Australia to do what you did, and following in your footsteps. Thank you for such an enjoyable read.

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