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The Matchmaker of Perigord: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, August 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061435074
  • ASIN: B0046HAJ5E
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Unhappy cutting hair, Guillaume, the barber of the tiny, declining French town of Amour-sur-Belle, renames his shop Heart's Desire and tries his hand at matchmaking, even though he lost his first love, Emilie, years ago. Guillaume soon proves hopeless: he can't even help his best friend, Yves Leveque, whose heartaches have actually caused him indigestion. When Emilie returns to Amour-sur-Belle a rich divorcée, and sets about restoring a dilapidated old chateau that once brought tourists to the city, she enlivens the slumping town's eligible suitors and the town wags who watch their every move. Debut novelist Stuart infects Amour-sur-Belle's byzantine lore with whimsy (a mini-tornado that made the town pharmacist disappear), the usual beefs (an age-old feud, which began with Guillaume's mother) and sensual detail. It's all done well enough, but a reliance on magical-realist elements to resolve the town's spiraling affairs makes for an unsatisfying resolution. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A hilarious romp off the beaten track. Love it to bits.” (Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and Gentlemen and Players)

“A warm, funny novel about life and love in rural France...Stuart’s zesty narrative style is tailor-made for farce...Stuart injects her own brand of va-va-voom into this classic formula.” (The Independent Extra (London))

“Debut novelist Stuart infects Amour-sur-Belle’s byzantine lore with whimsy…and sensual detail.” (Publishers Weekly)

“This frothy debut, as enchanting as Joanne Harris’s Chocolat, follows Guillaume Ladoucette, a barber in southwestern France.” (More Magazine)

“Filled with enchanting settings and a brilliant attention to detail, Stuart’s first novel is an enjoyable trip through the sweetness, sadness, and hilarity that love-and life-often brings.” (Library Journal)

“Following these gentle folks on their blind dates and awkward reentries into the field of romance is a sweet and simple pleasure. Stuart…does manage to richly evoke the fecund sights and smells of rural France…[A] delightful, excursion to a kinder, gentler place.” (Kirkus Reviews)

More About the Author

Julia Stuart is a British author and journalist. Her first novel, published in 2007, was The Matchmaker of Périgord. Her second was published in 2010 as Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo in the UK, and The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise in America. The latter is a New York Times and national bestseller.

Customer Reviews

The characters were likable and realistic, yet there was just a touch of whimsy.
Internationalteacherreader
The story is fun and quirky and kept my attention, but it was a little bit hard to follow because of all of the characters and the histories of their relationships.
happymusic
The writing style is skillfully quirky, packed with exquisite detail and very, very funny.
Swizzlestick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Allison M. Campbell on August 14, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Guillaume Ladoucette (whose mother's feud with Madame Moreau involves assault-by-eel and overripe tomatoes) is the barber for the village of Amour-sur-Belle, a tiny hamlet of 33 aging residents, each with his or her own quirks and past secrets (many of which were revealed during the mini-tornado of 1999, when they all thought they'd die). When his client list dries up (due to a combination of balding customers and his refusal to attempt cutting-edge hairstyles like The Pinecone), he decides to set out his shingle as a matchmaker. He's an unlikely choice, having been secretly in love with Émilie Fraisse for twenty-six years, but he approaches his new calling with enthusiasm, if not immediate success. He continues to push pairs of villagers together, insisting that love is like a cassoulet--you must take the good with the bad. As Guillaume undertakes the massive task of bringing love to the villagers, drought has brought a communal shower to Amour-sur-Belle, and villagers must walk to the square in their dressing gowns to queue up for their daily shower.

Though the book is clearly contemporary, with references to a mini-tornado in 1999 and prices in euros, Stuart has given the village and its residents timeless appeal. Every person is referred to in every instance by both first and last names, and many physical descriptions and important events are described using the exact same phrasing, and these echo comfortably throughout the book, like an epic told from memory by a master storyteller. The repetition is both lyrical and practical--it helps the reader keep the numerous characters, their pasts, and their relationships with each other straight.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eugenia Kontrarou on June 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
In general, although I consider myself one of life's natural booklovers, I admit to have spent several years absorbed in the SF & Fantasy realm, snobbing the other genres of fiction, on the consideration of loss of enthusiasm, because of their being always too similar, predictable and slow-paced (admitting though that I too have the terrible tendency to sneak in the last chapters of each and every book I get my hands on). So, imagine my shock and delight in coming across this well written, fast-paced book that had me laughing for hours, hardly putting it down to sleep and recommending it even under the threat of violence to my closest relatives and friends! I have to say that I did not in the least sneaked, not even a little bit at the end, not wanting to miss a single word of it.
The story takes place in what must be one of France's ugliest villages, Amour-sur-Belle, where the main character, the village barber, living with his senile mother, who, as the author puts it 'has gone cuckoo', and the custody of the family's ancient cassoulet, realises that the declining hairline of his customers and their tendency to adopt terrible modern haircats from a younger stylist in a nearby town, oblidge him to shut down and decide to change his career direction towards bringing back love to the remaining 33 (32 but no one agrees on paying the paint to change the number at the entrance sign of the village) middle-aged (+) villagers by becoming a matchmaker.
But how could that be when he hasn't been able to find love himself, treasuring the memory of his first-and-only elementary-school sweetheart?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ST on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Quirky as an adjective to describe this book has popped up already in several reviews here. So yes, ditto, it's quirky. But, it's just so doggone-laugh-out-loud-fun. . .quirky here works! But make no mistake, this book is very, very well written. The author takes you into each scene, deftly weaving a story you can't help but follow. I admire her skill. Oh what a wonderful, wonderful book!!! One of the most enjoyable reads I've had in a long time. I was smiling the whole time I read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kelley on September 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I adore Joanne Harris, so when I saw this book on my library's bookshelf with a blurb on it from her, I snatched it up. I'm so grateful I did.

It's my favorite kind of book, what I call a quiet novel-a beautiful tale, so exquisitely written and laced with humor, that it doesn't jump up and down demanding attention the way a more commercial book does. It's a shame in a way, because the Matchmaker and his fellow villagers are delightful to spend time with. More people should do so. Though I will warn you, all the mouth-watering descriptions of food...you will be craving cassoulet...

My favorite book so far this year. I can't recommend it enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kaitlin Kelly on September 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a cute, silly book about a man who realizes his barbershop is going under because all his customers are bald or have left him for a different barber who is capable of more than three hairstyles. The former barber realizes he doesn't know anybody who's in love and decides to try his hand at matchmaking instead. Along the way he goes fishing and passive-aggressively competes with the baker, subjects himself to showering in the newly installed community shower, and pines for the one that got away.

I would file this in the "cozy" category, though it is well-conceived and well-written. The scenery is great, the characters are quirky, and there are running jokes that made me smile every now and again. Like I said, it was fun and had a good heart - it just didn't have me hooked.

I do like Stuart's writing style and unique vision. For folks who haven't read her before, I highly recommend The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise instead
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