Not Quite Nice

Not Quite Nice

Book - 2015
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Theresa is desperate for a change. Forced into early retirement, fed up with babysitting her bossy daughter's obnoxious children, she sells her Highgate house and moves to the picture-perfect town of Bellevue-sur-Mer, just outside Nice. With its beautiful villas, its bustling cafes and shimmering cerulean sea, the village sparkles like a diamond on the French Mediterranean coast. Once the hideaway of artists and writers, it is now home to the odd rock icon and Hollywood movie star, and, as Theresa soon discovers, a close-knit set of expats. There's Carol, the infinitely glamorous American and her doting husband David; the erstwhile British TV star Sally; the ferocious Sian and her wayward Australian poet husband; the sharply witty Zoe with her strangely youthful face and penchant for white wine and the suave Brian who catches Theresa's eye. As Theresa settles to the gentle rhythm of seaside life she embraces her new-found friendships and freedom. However, life is never quite as simple as it seems and as skeletons start to fall out of several closets, Theresa begins to wonder if life on the French Riviera is quite as nice as it first appeared
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2015
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781632860323
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 21 cm
Call Number: IMRIE, C


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Aug 31, 2016

On the surface, this might appear to be a chick-novel for women of certain age that relish stories of other women romancing (or getting away from horrid spouses/offspring) in the French Riviera. It is even sprinkled with recipes inside of Provencal dishes (including the cheekily named Merda De Can that is on the menu untranslated at Le Safari in Nice presumably from where the author wrested the recipe).

It is still a chick-novel in that the main characters are all women and men are just props or villains but it is a deceptively dark novel (as suggested by the title). This is a story involving a group of Anglo-Saxon expats settled in the small Côte d'Azur town of Bellevue-sur-Mer (thinly disguised Beaulieu-sur-Mer just east of Nice). Not much of local characters or customs. Unlike the tourist version of the area, the houses get regularly burgled, people get mugged and drug dealers deal.

It is a surprisingly well-written and tightly woven story with as many twists and turns as the alleyways of the old towns in the area even if one has to suspend disbelief at much of the coincidences and plot lines. A pleasant summer-read not so much for the locale as for the colorful characters. Even for men that would groan at the women in this novel for the kind of things women do that makes men groan.

RobinBartley Sep 24, 2015

Interesting read, took me to Europe so I guess that is a plus. Somewhat predictable, but still a wonderful story.


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