When Susie Kelly decides, on a whim, to trek alone across France from La Rochelle to Lake Geneva, she entrusts her French farmhouse full of assorted animals to a total stranger from San Antonio, Texas. For each of them it is a life-changing experience. Both find their resourcefulness and ingenuity tested to the limit as, in their own ways, they explore and enjoy the culture, cuisine and people of Europe's most fascinating country.
While Susie doggedly tramps 500 miles over unknown terrain, frequently lost and either too hot or too cold, Texan Jennifer Shields copes heroically with lost dogs, erratic electricity, old men hiding in bushes, and a language she cannot speak.
This touching, true story of the Texan pioneering spirit, English eccentricity, and two women old enough to know better will appeal to all baby boomer travel adventurers whether out on the road, or settled comfortably for the ride in their fireside chair.
©2003, 2011 Susie Kelly (P)2014 Susie Kelly
"A book to inspire." (Good Housekeeping Magazine)
"This is one of the best travel books I have read to date. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every drop of it." (Bas Bleu, US Amazon Vine Voice)
"Susie is ... able to paint a picture with words that makes me feel like I am beside her on her journey. Perfect for the Francophile, the armchair adventurer, and the lover of good literature..." (US Amazon Vine Voice)
Something about yourself!
While I don't regret listening to this book, I don't think I'd actually recommend it. I actually found the protagonist more than a little unsympathetic and the writing style a little unprofessional.
Is the narrator of this book, Anne Day-Jones, the woman who does the voice for Siri on Apple products? If not, she sounds a lot like her. In fact, it was a bit like having a book read to you by Siri... pleasant enough but a tad lifeless.
I could see it as a t.v. mini-series, possibly. Some great comedic actors, like Jennifer Saunders or Sally Phillips for example, could actually give this the injection of life it needs.
If it helps, my wife listened to this book with me and she absolutely loved it.
"How not to to travel"
I'd expect anyone planning on a long walk would make sure their boots were comfortable. After the trial walk, if I had the same problems and did want my trip to be successful, I'd sort out the issue, ditto re tent. Food is another of many "details" that appear to have been afterthoughts. The most fatuous was not knowing that crossing France will lead you to the Alps, which most folks know are mountains and might be a bit difficult to climb. The only reason I can see for an otherwise intelligent person ignoring basic planning for this trip was to create content for the book. Every now and then we are told x is a umpteenth century whatever, no detail or description is provided to alleviate the boredom and frank annoyance when reading this book. It's tedious reading someone's failure to make the most basic plans for what could have been a remarkable experience.
"Enchanting personal narrative"
If you've ever considered an extraordinary personal journey or admired someone who has more courage and set off on a trek you would not consider, then you will enjoy this tale of a brave and cheerful 51 year old Englishwoman.
I am in awe of Susie and enjoyed this book much more than I imagined I would when selecting it.
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