Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Excellent Review

This is Susie Kelly's book about walking across France from La Rochelle to Switzerland. I recently read and enjoyed this book very much. Susie has a wonderful sense of humour and a nice turn of phrase.

And this is Susie's book about she and her husband cycling from Fontainebleau to Paris and then out of Paris and back in again, following in the steps of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI of France as they were captured by the revolutionaries, escaped and were recaptured. Unlike the royal couple, Susie and her husband cycled. This is another very amusing and also very informative book.

Susie has recently read my book "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England". She has done a wonderful review which I reproduce below. The review appears on Amazon and Goodreads. In addition Susie has blogged about my book, Tweeted and Facebooked.  Here is the review on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars La Grande Randonnée, 16 May 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vic's Big Walk (Kindle Edition)
To celebrate the debut of his eighth decade, Vic Heaney decides to walk from his current home in the French Pyrenees to the town where he was born in England. A distance of a mere 1900 kilometres, or 1,100 miles, in 70 days. The second reason behind Vic's Big Walk is to raise money for research into pancreatic cancer, which killed his first wife. With the whole-hearted support of his second wife Gay, who plans his route and drives the campervan in which they spend their nights, Vic sets off to walk the length of France and almost half the length of England.

La Belle France has a vast network of hiking trails through glorious countryside of hills and valleys, waterfalls and tumbling streams. On websites and in brochures you see images of tanned and joyful GR hikers striding out in groups beneath cloudless skies. But, when you are walking a very long distance in a relatively short time you have to opt for the shortest route, and unfortunately that doesn't always mean the most scenic. And contrary to what the tourist brochures might suggest, mid-summer in France isn't always hot and dry. Vic has set himself a strenuous schedule that means he had to walk every day. He's pretty fit for his years, but its still a physical challenge. And then there's the coffee problem. Unlike England, a far smaller country where even the remotest village will usually have somewhere you can find a cup of coffee and something to eat, you can walk all day in rural France without finding anywhere, and even if you do there's a fairly strong possibility that it will be closed for no apparent reason. And for vegetarians like Vic and myself, meal choices, if you are lucky enough to find somewhere open, can be rather restrictive.

Written in the form of a diary, Vic's Big Walk records his journey as he trudges, scrambles, and sometimes just ambles along, undeterred by rain, roads that lead to nowhere and campsites operating on the lines of prisons. He meets friendly people (but never on the beautiful hiking trails!) who instantly donate to his cause, others who promise to but don't. People happy to stop and chat, and others who ignore him.

I so much enjoyed this read. His easy and chatty style, spiced with his dry humour, carries you along effortlessly, and I could totally relate to his highs and lows, triumphs and frustrations. having done something similar myself. I was SO pleased when he got lost even with the benefit of GPS!

Chapeau, Vic. A tremendous achievement.

All the proceeds from Vic's book sales go to Pancreatic Cancer Research. It's a good read for a good cause. Download a copy.

Reviewed by Susie Kelly, author of Best Foot Forward - a 500-mile Walk Through Hidden France

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