It is highly rewarding when a reader really gets the gist of your novel, Swizzlestick was certainly one of those readers. Vantastic France is certainly a farce set in France. Some reviewers have said the characters are stereo-typical, but I do not see how I could have written the book without some.
You can read Swizzlesticks review at the end of this post.
I did not set out to write a fictional novel that was similar to many of the brilliant autobiographical novels set in France, after all it is fiction so it gave me the licence to go where I wanted with it. I tried to create a believable story with the odd spanner thrown in the works to make it more entertaining.
Comments about the editing have been taken on board and Vantastic France is in the process of having a re-edit to sort out the short comings in that side of it, which in hindsight should have been more rigorously undertaken before I published the book. So can I apologise to any readers who found that some of my simple, but now obvious mistakes spoilt their enjoyment of the novel.
The upside of Amazon self publishing is that new authors like myself have a ready made audience, but on the downside sometimes the quality of editing has not been as rigorously undertaken as it might have been done by well known publishing houses. So a lesson learnt the hard way and a point to be taken on-board by any budding authors, learn by the mistakes of others.
While on the subject of books about life in France, I would just like to mention a couple of novels that I have recently read.
This is a real life story warts and all, about a family moving to France from Ireland. If you really want to know how hard that it can be surviving the freezing cold winters without decent heating, having to deal with never ending paperwork, settling your kids into a whole new school environment and so much more, then ‘Heads Above Water’ is just the book for you. Full of first hand advice and many of the idiosyncrasies of French life explained, Stephanie has created the perfect novel for anyone thinking of moving to France.
To take on a dilapidated farm with 3 lakes and acres and acres of land, then turn it into a successful business with a gite, llama farm and wonderful fishing lakes was certainly some undertaking. But the Dagg’s did it with sheer hard work and a great deal of persistence. Luckily they managed to keep their sense of humour which comes across so well in the book and as I have said, one not to be missed by any budding or resident ex-pats.
ALL EXPENSES PAID (Fact meets Fiction) Helen Ducal
You could call this book a cross between Vantastic France and Heads Above Water, because some of it is fact and some is defiantly fiction. The enjoyment for me was trying to decide which was which, in this thoroughly entertaining book. Who could have though that a divorced 40 odd year old woman could have so much fun babysitting an 82 year old English woman living in France with her daughter and her French husband.
The 82 year old Betty already had a secret boyfriend who sometimes picked her up on his Kawasaki 1200 leaving Laura to sort out her own male company, which sometimes turned out to be more trouble than it was worth.
As described in the details about the book ‘Imagine Samantha from Sex and the City, team her up with Rose from The Golden Girls and you have ALL EXPENSES PAID.’ – A wonderful cocktail to create a brilliant read, which it is number one in Amazon – non fiction – travel- France
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining French farce featuring a mostly-English cast,5 May 2012
Swizzlestick (Boston) –
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Vantastic France. Follow the adventures of a family moving to France (Kindle Edition)
Well-meaning and eternally optimistic, Barry the white van man loves his partner Linda and her teenage son. Disillusioned with life in England, Barry dreams of moving the family to Brittany and starting a new life there. He’s not quite sure how he’ll make a living, but he’s certain something will turn up. Linda isn’t convinced, but she’s miserable in her job and has faith in Barry.
Their arrival with their white van sends shock waves of horror through the village, particularly snobbish Clarissa and her husband Robert, struggling to keep poverty at bay and drinking a little more than they should, while horsy Hilary, married to a handsome Frenchman, has a particular reason for wanting to see Barry out of her life.
As the story develops long-buried skeletons emerge from the cupboard, and life for Barry and his family becomes increasingly difficult, especially as one of his neighbours has denounced him for tax evasion.
Most of the characters may seem stereotypical, but believe me, as a long time resident of France, I’ve met people just like them. The snobs, the people who drink too much, the septic-tank bores and the denouncers really do exist. And we have very dear friends who perfectly fit the description of Barry and Linda.
I felt there were several loose ends left, but maybe that’s to allow for a sequel.
A French-farce with a predominantly English cast, this is a fun read with some keen observations on the French and their way of life.