The Matchmaker of Perigord – Julia Stuart

Not all of the books I have reviewed are on this blog. I first of all started just by simply posting them to Amazon once I had read them. Oddly enough as time has passed I have got rather behind on posting reviews on Amazon and concentrate on here.

Sometimes to fill the blog with content and because I don’t want to lose the small band of readers that I do have, I dig out some earlier reviews and they now can grace this blog.

Many memories are triggered by reading and it brings back memories of other books read and it was just so when I was reading The Awakening of Miss Prim, my previous review post. It reminded me of

The quirkiness, the village life, the characters all came flooding back to me while I was reading Miss Prim.  Having read it some 7 years ago it has still stayed with me and I have found the review and tidied it up for this blog……

For a first novel, Julia Stuart exceeds all expectations. Think Joanne Harris (who found the book ‘hilarious’) mixed with so much humour and repetitive humour that it does not become boring and predictive when you know what is coming but laugh out loud with expectation and anticipation.

The setting of Amour-Sur-Belle is the village which all the characters centre in. No English live there because of its perpetual breeze and the tornado predicted by the “winking ginger Limousin cows” that walk backwards.

The characters are rich, Guillaume Ladoucette the former barber who turned to matchmaking (of the amorous kind) when he found his customers either going bald or going for more progressive modern haircuts. The only trouble with this matchmaker is he hasn’t met his love after letting Emilie Fraisse go all them years ago,

The baker, his friend, Stéphane Jollis who he shares a love of fishing as well as competitive picnic basket filling with mere ‘snacks’ seeks help at the match making. The local dentist, Yves Lévèque, the grocer Denise Vigier, midwife Lisette Robert a beauty from an early age but does not recognise it in herself and other locals seek Guillaume Ladoucette’s help with their love lives, for the readers this becomes the story where different meetings are arranged with so any different possible outcomes, especially as each of their characters has their `faults’.

This book is fast pacing (pay attention otherwise you find yourself lost as I did occasionally) and funny from not just the characters but the way it is told. The insistence on using full names for them and full descriptions for the area; the rue du Chateau times four, the cassoulet permanently ready, the lunar gardening tips, the heat and relief of taking your toes from the “supermarket leather sandals” and cooling them on the “red tiles” under the “desk with the ink stain” are repeated with such care and love of the whole story that somehow Julia Stuart gets it to work whereas probably in some stories it would become monotonous and boring.

A book worthy of a second read to enjoy it all again. Recommended if you what a sojourn into another world where life seems simple to the reader but complicated to the characters.



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