Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler

Tout Sweet
By Karen Wheeler

Hanging Up My High Heels for a New Life in France


About the Book:
In her mid-thirties the author had it all: a successful career as a fashion editor, handsome boyfriend, fab flat in west London and a gorgeous array of shoes. But when her significant other leaves, she wonders if there is more to life than a collection of great accessories. So, she hangs up her Manolos and waves goodbye to her city lifestyle, moving to France to renovate a run-down house in rural Poitou-Charentes, western France.
There she encounters a host of new friends and unsuitable suitors, soon learning that true happiness can be found in the simplest of things – a bike ride through the countryside on a summer evening, or six glasses of pineau in a neighbour’s garden. If you’ve ever dreamed of chucking away your BlackBerry in favour of real blackberrying and downshifting to a simpler life abroad, Tout Sweet is ideal summer reading.’

Review by Kelsey G.
Let me begin this review with the following declaration: I LOVE THIS BOOK! The adventures of the main character, Karen (or Ka-renne, as her French friends call her) are downright hilarious. The characters in this memoir are both funny and frighteningly real, and the debacles of a single Englishwoman trying to make a go of it in the French countryside are positively endearing. I was rooting for Karen almost instantly, in turn gasping and choking with laughter as she describes the woes of renovating a flagging old house while trying to eke out for herself some kind of social life among a slew of "over-fifty ex-pats". While trying to find love and balance in her new life, Karen is such a relateable character. The dialogue was charmingly sprinkled with French wording, and the descriptions were living, breathing things. I could taste the food, feel the winter's chill, and rejoiced with Karen as she finally got her woodstove burning!
There are some surprises along the way, but by the end, I set this book down with a satisfied sigh, then promptly began researching flight packages to France! If you enjoy fast-paced, witty banter and honest self-revalation, Tout Sweet is a must-read!


  1. Going to add this one to my reading. Thanks for the review.
    Sue B

  2. I wish I had the courage to make a drastic decision like that!
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  3. From Reviewer: Kelsey G.

    Thank you guys so much for leaving feedback! I only just found out that you lovely people have been leaving comments on the reviews!! (I know, my inexperience is showing, lol) and I must say, it is so thoughtful and greatly appreciated :)
    -Kelsey G.