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At Home in the Pays d'Oc: A tale of accidental expatriates (The Pays d'Oc series Book 1)

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This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down. Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray. They have no intention of keeping her. ‘Just This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down. Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray. They have no intention of keeping her. ‘Just for tonight,’ says Patrick. ‘We will take her to the animal shelter tomorrow.’ It never happens. They spend the weekend getting to know and love the little creature, who looks at them appealingly with big brown eyes, and wags her absurd stump of a tail every time they speak to her. On the Monday her owner turns up, alerted by the Mairie. They could have handed her over. Instead Patricia finds herself saying: ‘We like your dog, Monsieur. May we keep her?’ It is the start of what will be four years as Morbignanglais, as they settle into life as permanent residents of the village. “At Home in the Pays d’Oc” is about their lives in Morbignan, the neighbours who soon become friends, the parties and the vendanges and the battles with French bureaucracy. It is the story of some of their bizarre and sometimes hilarious encounters: the Velcro bird, the builder in carpet slippers, the neighbour who cuts the phone wires, the clock that clacks, the elusive carpenter who really did have to go to a funeral.


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This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down. Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray. They have no intention of keeping her. ‘Just This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down. Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray. They have no intention of keeping her. ‘Just for tonight,’ says Patrick. ‘We will take her to the animal shelter tomorrow.’ It never happens. They spend the weekend getting to know and love the little creature, who looks at them appealingly with big brown eyes, and wags her absurd stump of a tail every time they speak to her. On the Monday her owner turns up, alerted by the Mairie. They could have handed her over. Instead Patricia finds herself saying: ‘We like your dog, Monsieur. May we keep her?’ It is the start of what will be four years as Morbignanglais, as they settle into life as permanent residents of the village. “At Home in the Pays d’Oc” is about their lives in Morbignan, the neighbours who soon become friends, the parties and the vendanges and the battles with French bureaucracy. It is the story of some of their bizarre and sometimes hilarious encounters: the Velcro bird, the builder in carpet slippers, the neighbour who cuts the phone wires, the clock that clacks, the elusive carpenter who really did have to go to a funeral.

30 review for At Home in the Pays d'Oc: A tale of accidental expatriates (The Pays d'Oc series Book 1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julia Lee Dean

    I enjoyed this book. Don’t be misled by the rating; this won’t be a hatchet job. This was a well-written and entertaining account of a couple that buy a holiday home and end up moving into it, for a time at least. There is a gentle humour running through it which adds to the cosy, close-knit feel of this account despite the broad array of vividly-painted characters. Vivid is just the word for it, Feinberg Stoner creates believable characters to inhabit the old house, under almost constant renova I enjoyed this book. Don’t be misled by the rating; this won’t be a hatchet job. This was a well-written and entertaining account of a couple that buy a holiday home and end up moving into it, for a time at least. There is a gentle humour running through it which adds to the cosy, close-knit feel of this account despite the broad array of vividly-painted characters. Vivid is just the word for it, Feinberg Stoner creates believable characters to inhabit the old house, under almost constant renovation, the café nearby and the neighbouring houses (I felt I’d met the nasty neighbour). She really brings the ex-pat existence to life, to a point. And here we come to, what for me, was the sticking point. The anecdotes were charming but relentless; one scrape after another with no breathing space between and no room for any sense of development. Yes, the couple become more accustomed to life in the village, but there was no hint of any change in the couple, or their relationships, either with each other or anyone else, beyond the drinks parties. Of course this is a semi-biographical memoir, not a novel. Yet, for a memoir that centres on the ex-patriate experiences of a married couple, there’s little sense of that central relationship. I don’t mean I wanted intimate details, but a sense of personal thoughts and feelings as they deal with the emotional and, often very stressful side of setting up abroad. I suspect that the conflict was a, perhaps too zealous, concern for anonymity of real-life friends, this is an accomplished writer at ease with her craft, but that anxiety took its toll. I understand that this book was written to entertain, and it most certainly does, but a little emotional depth, just here and there, would have given it a stronger base on which to build a fully rounded account of what is truly a very engaging story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joy Cagil

    This book offers original and delightful expat experiences and not a fish out of water but fish in a different and rather strange fishbowl story. In the beginning, it took a bit of doing by Patricia, the author, to convince her husband to move to France to a second house, equal to what snowbirds do in Florida, USA. The purchase of the couple’s house took some doing, and what the property covered, a part of another house as well, came as a shock to me as well as it must have to them at the time, bu This book offers original and delightful expat experiences and not a fish out of water but fish in a different and rather strange fishbowl story. In the beginning, it took a bit of doing by Patricia, the author, to convince her husband to move to France to a second house, equal to what snowbirds do in Florida, USA. The purchase of the couple’s house took some doing, and what the property covered, a part of another house as well, came as a shock to me as well as it must have to them at the time, but they threw themselves into it and fixed the place to their hearts’ content, in spite of the fun-loving, not-too-responsible workers like the builder P’tit Gui . The best thing this couple did was to mingle with the French and be hospitable, but even so, they were still “English” to the natives of the Morbignan la Crèbe community in the Languedoc area of France. This, however, went two ways according to what I read. As much as the two were considered to be English, the natives stayed French with idiosyncrasies to them, too, as they took some things flippantly, in a playful and sometimes satirical tone, however acting as expected by the French on the outside. I thought, in general, they certainly adapted well to their new environment much more than other people might have, and treated their neighbors, even the nasty one, and the community with understanding and respect The author uses a charming tone throughout the book and with a sense of humor, such as referring to her husband Patrick as “himself” whose grasp of the French language was less than the author’s. This opened to a few mix-ups in the beginning, until “himself” learned the language. Some of the passages, especially in the beginning sections, involving the idiomatic language differences are humorous and charming Did the author and her husband find what they hoped for in France? Maybe in good weather but after they decided to live there year-round, a challenging winter changed everything and decided the ending for them. This couple’s account of their adventures in Languedoc I found to be captivating reading especially because of the author’s voice and slant, and the humorous yet respectful way she describes and shows the other characters. It is almost like she takes the readers along with them on their journey through the years they have spent in France.

  3. 4 out of 5

    emmabbooks

    Uplifting and Fun An upbeat memoir about moving to France and becoming a village local. The author, and her husband, have a fantasy of living in France and eventually buy an old house which includes an aptly named "Spider Room". Their experiences of moving and settling in the village is told from the author's perspective (ie a woman's view) and has many laugh out loud moments and wry looks at British eccentricities. There are wonderful (and mostly funny) descriptions of French culture around eati Uplifting and Fun An upbeat memoir about moving to France and becoming a village local. The author, and her husband, have a fantasy of living in France and eventually buy an old house which includes an aptly named "Spider Room". Their experiences of moving and settling in the village is told from the author's perspective (ie a woman's view) and has many laugh out loud moments and wry looks at British eccentricities. There are wonderful (and mostly funny) descriptions of French culture around eating, drinking and general village life. And then there is the dog who unexpectedly enters their lives and completely changes everything. This is a celebration of the differences between British and French cultures, and a great read for anyone who has ever entertained the thought "wouldn't it be nice to live here" whilst on holiday, or has even taken the plunge. A great holiday read, or for curling up with on a rainy day. I did find the author's referring to her husband as "Himself" throughout the book a little irritating to begin with, but once I'd accepted it I stopped noticing it. Indeed there are many memorable anecdotes in the book, many of which I could relate to, and what "Himself" is getting up to is all part of the fun. A great "pick me up" positive book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris Payne

    I don't do book reviews like you keep seeing, as I find that some give too much of the plot away and I personally hate that, as it makes the book not worth reading. I much prefer to take the authors back cover write up as a review as it can either intrigue you enough to read the book of provide you enough information to make you decide that the book is not for you. My review rules are: The more stars, the more I liked it. If there are too many typos or errors the less stars I give If the storyline I don't do book reviews like you keep seeing, as I find that some give too much of the plot away and I personally hate that, as it makes the book not worth reading. I much prefer to take the authors back cover write up as a review as it can either intrigue you enough to read the book of provide you enough information to make you decide that the book is not for you. My review rules are: The more stars, the more I liked it. If there are too many typos or errors the less stars I give If the storyline or plot is poor or contains too many errors, the characters are too weak, the ending lacking something, then the less stars I give. Simple, uncomplicated and to the point without giving anything away. Some of the books I read have been given to me by the author as a pre-release copy and this does not bias my reviews in any way

  5. 5 out of 5

    T.J. Green

    This is a lovely stroll through Patricia’s life in the Pay d’Oc when she and her husband bought a holiday home, and then decided to move there permanently – for a while. It’s a very humourous look at an English couple’s attempt to live in France, absorbing its customs and peculiarities. Or as I call it, living the dream! Although it doesn’t come without some difficulties, funny though they are, animals included. A very enjoyable read if you enjoy travel escapism.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ChillwithabookAWARD With

    At Home in the Pays d'Oc by Patricia Feinberg Stoner has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award. www.chillwithabook.com At Home in the Pays d'Oc by Patricia Feinberg Stoner has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award. www.chillwithabook.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    John McDade

    Wonderful Very interesting and amusing. The real story of two English expatriates in France. Many amusing anecdotes about her neighbours both French and English.

  8. 4 out of 5

    maureen bates

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Charlton

  10. 4 out of 5

    kay judd

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mark Goodridge

  12. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Ramsden

  13. 4 out of 5

    MR JAMES N BAXTER

  14. 5 out of 5

    karensmith

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Robertson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda Jones

  17. 5 out of 5

    malcolm Irvine

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mr. B MYKYTOWYCH

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike Lambert

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Noble

    This memoir is a must read for anyone contemplating going to live in rural France. With Ms Feinberg Stoner's humour will have you laughing out loud, but it is written with much affection for friends, neighbours and even French bureaucracy. It is a joy to read. This memoir is a must read for anyone contemplating going to live in rural France. With Ms Feinberg Stoner's humour will have you laughing out loud, but it is written with much affection for friends, neighbours and even French bureaucracy. It is a joy to read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    aileen

  22. 5 out of 5

    rosemary baird

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike Weed

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Piper

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mikterr

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debra Long

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Judd

  28. 5 out of 5

    Isabella

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mrs E J Bruce

  30. 4 out of 5

    M King

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