**VENUE CHANGE! The Dolphin Striker has graciously agreed to host our book club. Our first meeting there on May 13th will be a test run. The back room is large enough for a max of 35 people. Hopefully, we will enjoy this new venue. If it doesn't work out, there are plenty of other places to try. Make sure to bring your appetite - they have some GREAT food!**
Our book selection for this month is Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:
Having delighted millions of Americans with A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence, Peter Mayle treats us to a wonderfully entertaining novel of escape, romance and adventure. played in the landscape he has made so irresistible.
Simon Shaw, a forty-two-year-old advertising tycoon, worn down by insatiable clients and a rapacious ex-wife, wants to get away from it all. On impulse he drives to the south of France. When an accident leaves him stranded in a small village in the Luberon, an enchanting Frenchwoman, who is between husbands, comes to his rescue and soon lures him into buying the local gendarmerie. Together they transform it into a little jewel of a hotel. And life seems idyllic.
But at the same time, a crook, recently released from the Marseilles prison, is plotting to rob the bank in the nearby town. Paths cross. schemes go awry -- and through it all Peter Mayle delights us with the intrigues of the haut monde that descends on the Hotel Pastis and the machinations of the bad guys, as everything conspires to threaten the heaven on earth that Simon Shaw has envisioned.
And a review from Publisher's Weekly:
As fans of A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence may have suspected, Mayle's skills as a writer translate well into fiction. His first novel is as adroit, funny and charming as his previous works, and again it is set in his favorite region of France. Newly divorced, disenchanted and bored with his job as a director of a prestigious British ad agency, Simon Shaw is delighted when beautiful Frenchwoman Nicole Bouvier suggests that he rescue from bankruptcy a half-finished hotel in the drolly named town of Brassiere-les-Deux-Eglises. Taking a huge risk, Simon resigns from his agency and becomes patron of the new establishment in the picturesque Luberon region. In counterpoint, Mayle crosscuts to the escapades of a lovable band of criminals who are conspiring to break into the vault of a bank in the neighboring village of Isle-sur-Sorges. As the threads of the plot begin to converge, Mayle displays his satiric eye for social foibles by skewering advertising execs in England and the U.S.; he is equally adept at evoking typical Provencal villagers. Wickedly sharp and sympathetic at the same time, his characterizations are accurate down to nuances of class differences, voice, accent and vocabulary. The novel is as smooth as a sip of pastis, and one hopes that Mayle will find his segue into fiction equally addictive. 100,000 first printing.
The other nominations for book club were:
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi
Thanks to everyone who participated this evening in our loud and boisterous conversation. We certainly had a lot of varying opinions. My review for Wild by Cheryl Strayed can be found here.
As soon as I find our new venue, I will let you all know.