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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

Ten Trees and a Truffle Dog: Sniffing Out the Perfect Plot in Provence - Jamie Ivey

Well, I received this book as a gift. I don't think the world needs another book about someone trying to build a house in Provence, no matter how charmingly written, and this one does have its moment. Still. I'm quite sure that's been done, possibly done to death.

As someone who lived in France for many years, I recognize the frustrations and stereotypes, the problematic landlords and dizzying bureaucracy as well as some of the colorful stock characters. The dog training bit was new, and frankly horrifying. It sounded more like animal abuse that dog training. Although perhaps it shouldn't surprise me. When I lived in France my neighbors would go off on a month-long vacation the first of August, tossing their dogs outside as they drove off. If they were alive when they got back, wonderful, if not, get a new dog. When I protested I was called weak, and laughed at. People said, "It's a dog, Lauren, not a child." Now, let it be known some people I knew treated their animals wonderfully, with much care and respect, but I was often depressed by animal care in France. And yes, pony is still on the menu, as it is in Iceland.

But I digress. This book is fine, but the problem is it's all been done before. For those of you who can't get enough of this sort of book, you'll probably enjoy it. For those of you who love France, but may be ready for something a little different, may I suggest M.F.K. Fisher? "Two Kitchens in Provence." Brilliant.