Thursday, 22 August 2019

One Summer In France by Bev Spicer

One Summer In France by Bev Spicer
Self published in November 2013.

How I got this book:
Won a copy from the author on Twitter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The summer of 1979 was the best summer ever! Pretty, blond and dangerously impetuous, Bev and Carol head for the sun, lucky beneficiaries of a generous university grant. 

They are full of enthusiasm and the dazzling spirit of adventure that only seems possible when we are young. Essential swimwear is selected and Lipton’s vegetable oil is perfumed with patchouli for the perfect tan. 

They end up in Argel├Ęs-sur-Mer, on a campsite close to the coast and not far from the border with Spain. Every day brings new challenges: how to hold a meaningful conversation on a naturist beach, what to do about a precocious teenage stalker, how to transport a gallon of port on a moped… all of which they meet head-on, with dubious philosophy and irrepressible optimism. 

One Summer in France is a humorous tale based on a three-month study break the author took as part of her languages degree course at Keele University in 1979. 

‘Would you do it all again?’ asked Carol.
‘Like a shot!’ I said.

And I would.

One Summer In France is a wonderfully joyous beach read, or a book to remind you of sand, sunshine and maybe one too many vinos! A fictional tale of two best friends spending three months in the south of France, the story is loosely based around Bev Spicer's own experiences over one French camping summer so I felt the book had a good ring of authenticity as well as being fun to read. I could easily empathise with Bev and her straight-talking friend, Carol, although I remember not being anywhere near as daring when I was their age. In a way, One Summer In France is a coming of age story. There is a certain naivete both from the women themselves and because of the 1979 setting. Life and expectations seem so much simpler then - that might have something to do with tent living though.

Bev and Carol, unsurprisingly perhaps for university students, spend a lot of their time drinking which sometimes leads to unfortunate adventures! They also do a fair bit of exploration too and I loved recognising towns such as Carcassonne, Argeles-sur-Mer and Figueres, all of which I have also visited - albeit over thirty years later. I was impressed by Bev's reading so many French language novels during the months, especially as my own progress is so much slower. She has an engaging, chatty style to her writing style so I soon felt like one the girls. If you're looking for an uplifting holiday read, I'd happily recommend One Summer In France.

Etsy Find!
by Dark Paradise Vintage in
London, England

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Bev Spicer / Women's fiction / Books from England


  1. It does sound like the perfect beach read. But confession: people drinking alcohol in books exhausts me. Sigh.

    1. This probably wouldn't be a good choice for you, Joy. They do drink a Lot!

  2. Sounds like you had a good time with this one.