Swallows and Robins


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Knowing Susie to be an animal lover and having no idea what this book was about I assumed it was about the varied wildlife she lives in rural France with - wrong, although her beloved dogs, cats, horses and chickens get plenty of coverage. This book tells the stories of Susie the project manager attempting to renovate two cottages on her land to run as gites, Susie the guest services manager trying her best to make everyone as happy as possible on their French holiday and finally Susie the cleaner trying to keep the gites to the required standard of cleanliness. This is another Susie Kelly great read that often had me laughing out loud as we meet the various builders, her local friends, the good guests and the bad who popped into her life over a four year period.

Those who have read and enjoyed her previous books about her life and travels in France will recognise her unmistakeable writing style and enjoy the humour she brings to even the most traumatic of situations. It would also be fair to say that she seems to have a habit of finding herself mixed in with the bizarre more often than most of us do. Anyone who has any experience of running gites in France will love this book and anyone who is thinking about having gites in France should read this book.

5.0 out of 5 starsFrenchVillageDiaries


I've read bits here & there of several of Susie Kelly's travel books, but this one I found the most compelling. Being unwaveringly honest on the joys and pitfalls of running a gite for several seasons in rural France, I found this book rather an eye-opener, particularly the people-spotting parts which occasionally bordered on profound. The whole gamut of unimaginable guests feature here.

Kelly's writing style is amusing, likeable and very readable. There are emotional ups and downs as one might expect, and these circumstances are handled in an admirably sensitive way. If you have ever considered opening a gite, guest house, lodgings, B&B or even staying in one in France, you could do worse than to read this and take heed. 4.25 stars out of 5.
4.0 out of 5 starsAndrew Ives



When the chance to transform two old barns into holiday cottages presents itself, Susie grasps the opportunity, all she has to do is find the right builders for the job and make sure the works completed before the first guests arrive.

In this entertaining, funny and sometimes sad book, we have the opportunity to meets a wide variety of her friends, acquaintances and guests who arrive from around the world and come from all walks of life. From Tristram the blond Apollo to Ivy, her cleaner, every characters description and antics add to the readers' enjoyment of this entertaining book.

Through her guests' travels, we are able to explore some of the beautiful French countryside, its heritage and traditions whilst also being treated to a glimpse of what life really is like in rural France.

5.0 out of 5 starsSusan Keefe