Posted 20 hours ago

Not Quite Nice

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This is an absolutely delightful novel that would be a pleasure to indulge in at any time - whether on holiday or just in the bath with a glass of wine. Celia Imrie effectively combines both drama and humour to offer the realisation that no matter how hard you try; one can never truly escape the past. - Tracy H. Celia Imrie’s light and amusing style subsequently transports the reader to the glorious setting of the French Mediterranean Coast where Theresa relocates. The town of Bellevue-Sur-Mer seems to offer no end of culinary delights and new found friendships, all centred on a very eccentric and somewhat insular set of expats. In her debut novel, Imrie has given us a sort of “coming of old age” story. I loved Theresa, though I wanted to shake her a few times when she put up with bad treatment by her ungrateful, selfish daughter and her bratty grandchildren. Still, this is a woman who has always done her best and who is slowly but surely realizing that she deserves some pleasure in life. The cast of supporting characters was marvelous as well: the smooth and attentive Brian; Sally a former British TV star; Americans Carol and David; “dragon lady” Sian and her philandering Aussie husband Ted; the witty, seemingly never aging octogenarian Zoe; compliant Faith and her pushy son Alfie who insists she needs a mansion rather than the small flat she’d prefer; and gay couple Benjamin and William.

Celia Imrie: ‘All the parts I’m writing are parts I’d like to

Actually they aren’t only English, there’s a couple of Americans and even an Australian (just don’t even get me started on this, I mean it's like Imrie decided to cast Paul Hogan or Bryan Brown's evil twin from the 80s into the role and we're supposed to think he's what? cute? funny? quirky? I can't even...) but they’re all white (diversity is merely the token gay couple) and all extremely non-French. So much for immersing yourself in the place. I enjoyed this book, and sailed through it in one read! Lots of interesting descriptions….took you to the Riviera in your dreams. Poor Theresa, so loving of her ungrateful, grabbing miserable family. Good for her making an ‘escape’. She did remain a loving mum however, always there for them and accepting when her silly daughter turned up on her doorstep. I loved the silliness and dotty characters…The main plot of the book is not these parents sorting out their middle aged evil spawn, or them finding some sweet romance, or them having any sort of life affirming epiphanies. No, it’s them being victims of a conman thief. The conman’s identity isn’t even made a secret, so the only mystery you have to solve is why these grown ass women are so naive and pathetic. I want to go on and on about these English characters going to another country and only mingling with other English people when they get there but to point out how blatantly racist this is would just get me cranky again… I really feel for the poor locals.

Nice Series by Celia Imrie - Goodreads Nice Series by Celia Imrie - Goodreads

Not Quite Nice is British actress Celia Imrie`s debut book. I read a lot of thrillers so Not Quite Nice made a fun, light hearted change. Opens: …The small town of Bellevue-Sur-Mer sparkled like a diamond on the French Mediterranean Coast... In this delightful story, Imrie gives the reader a cast of (mostly) charming characters: a widowed ex-actress, a pair of gay men, a narcissistic elderly woman with a flair for cutting remarks, an apparently loving American couple, an Australian lothario and his jealous wife, a timid mother and her bullying son, an ex-prisoner, a self-centred daughter and her three spoiled children, a long-absent hippy son, an over-achieving daughter and a mysterious woman who claims to be recuperating.

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The book is set in the South of France, and its large than life characters sparkle with wit and life, the Mediterranean sea simmers with sunshine. 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.

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