Here is the rest of my holiday reading from August (I had to review Losing my Voice and Finding Another earlier because it was a review copy) …

Carole Matthews – “Summer Daydreams”

(Kindle August 2012)

I bought this cheap on Kindle because Carole is lovely on Facebook and I know other people who like her books. Although this is a genre (chick-lit? woman-lit?) I rarely read, I enjoyed this fun tale of Nell, chip shop waitress turned handbag designer, her husband, Olly, nicely portrayed, especially when he gets his own slice of the action (which is hilarious), their delightfully written small daughter, Petal, and various other chip shop colleagues. Light and nicely done – an ideal holiday read, and some good laughs. Some bad editing let Carole down, but it is being resolved (I have to mention this in case anyone else has read it and noticed the editing issues and thought I hadn’t done!).

Karen Wheeler – “Toute Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France”

(BookCrossing 07 July 2012)

Promoted up the TBR so I could take BookCrossing books on holiday and leave them there. Memoir of life in a French village, centering around men, line-dancing expats and a small black dog. Obviously a sequel (to Tout Sweet), it would be ideal to read that first, but you pick things up, and it’s a nice, long, satisfying read about her life and adventures, even if a bit man-obsessed. I have to admit that this was a slightly odd read on a Scottish holiday, as I kept thinking we were in France (and I read another book set in France, too!).

Alistair Campbell – “All in the Mind”

(BookCrossing 25 February 2012)

I picked this up because my friend, Meg, pressed it upon me, and because I’ve already read Campbell’s “The Happy Depressive” and was interested to read his novel on the subject. I was not disappointed. Martin Sturrock is a top psychiatrist, entrusted with the care of a range of people, from a Kosovan refugee to a Cabinet Minister, and his favourite patient, David, who expresses his own and Martin’s depression in a way that is both lyrical and precise.

Over the course of a long weekend, several lives appear to start to unravel, including Sturrock’s own, spiralling into boundaries being overstepped in a variety of ways, both positive and negative. Thoughtful, very perceptive about men’s and women’s experiences, and with a surprise denouement that is part of a schema or process of surprises that leave the book with a hopeful and positive ending, notwithstanding the somewhat brutal events along the way.

Recommended, especially for the eloquent portrayal of depression.

Sarah Turnbull – “Almost French: A New Life in Paris”

(BookCrossing 28 April 2012)

Another one promoted up the TBR so I could read and leave, although I have realised to my absolute horror that I was meant to send it back to the original owner – sorry, Sandy!

A really well done expat book written by an Australian woman who falls in love with a French man, only to have to transform herself from a shorts-wearing, direct and friendly girl into a composed, well-dressed and distant almost-Frenchwoman, complete with groomed and whitened pet dog. It’s honestly put, with no self-pity and a lot of humour, and naturally structured rather than in themed chapters. Social gatherings and both people’s friends and families are particularly well portrayed, and it feels like it truly is a reflection of life in France.