“There are a handful of authors who achieve that elusive trick of making you laugh out loud. For me it’s James Herriot, Bill Bryson and Susie Kelly.” French Entrée Magazine, June 2013
A collection of extracts from the books of the popular travel writer on France Susie Kelly.
In 'Travels With Tinkerbelle, 6,000 Miles Around France In A Mechanical Wreck' the author and her husband devised a simple plan – to take a tent and the dog and drive around the perimeter of France. Like many simple plans it went wrong before it started...
In Best Foot Forward, A 500 Mile Walk Through Hidden France, Susie walks solo from La Rochelle to Lake Geneva with a tent on her back whilst her Texan friend Jennifer struggles by on her first ever trip to France, looking after Susie's smallholding and caring for a menagerie of animals.
In The Valley Of Heaven and Hell - Cycling In The Shadow of Marie Antoinette, novice cyclist Susie dons unflattering lycra to cycle the little-known Marne Valley and Champagne regions of France. She takes the identical route taken by Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI when they tried to escape from the Revolution, and their journey back to their executions.
In Swallows & Robins, The Guests In My Garden, Susie stays at home for a change. As the world's worst housekeeper, running holiday homes wasn't, with hindsight, a sensible idea. But two collapsing buildings on her land would cost more to demolish than to restore. Thus she became a seasonal landlady and, along with the assorted guests, came Ivy into her life, The Cleaning Lady From Hell.
In her extraordinary new memoir, I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry..., the setting moves away from French travel to a childhood in 1950s/60s Africa. With uncompromising honesty and hints of her usual humour, Susie describes emigrating, from post-war London in every shade of grey to the technicolour splendour of Kenya, as part of a dysfunctional family.
"I found, like The Remains of the Day or On Chesil Beach, this book doesn't leave you with any sense of closure, rather there's aching, guilt and the remorse of opportunities lost forever. Beautifully told. I read it in one session."
"I couldn't put the book down and have every intention of reading it again.."
"In true Susie Kelly fashion, right from the first page, I was there with her - it's as if I was sitting at her kitchen table and she was recounting her experiences directly to me - face to face - I've never heard what her voice sounds like but I could hear it in my head."
Fans of the travel writing of Peter Mayle and Bill Bryson will love this book.
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