Peter Sides, Warminster
Apart from Guy I was the other token male - "husband of "- and I did wonder how I would fit in, having only read one of the books (The Book Thief). But with the poetry, quizzes & general discussions and the open atmosphere of friendliness (plus red wine and beer) I really enjoyed the whole week.
The Farmhouse is delightful and once the weather cleared we could explore the Normandy countryside, food and wine.
It’s a fascinating place with quiet roads, lovely little villages and slightly insane cows.
One of the most relaxing holidays I've had in a long time, Guy and Kaye looked after us wonderfully and at the end I decided I might even start reading fiction - ready for the next one.
Wilma Osuh, Manchester
The Reading Retreat exceeded all my expectations. The company was delightful and Le Rieu proved the ideal setting. Guy was an excellent host and facilitated the discussions so that everyone was included.
The combination of book discussions, poetry, film adaptations, quizzes etc made for a varied programme, which held my interest throughout the week. There were also numerous opportunities to chat one to one with different members of the group about books we’d read in the past, books we ought to read and just generally share our passion for books.
Among other delights, I enjoyed a visit to Bayeux, taking in the Bayeux Tapestry and Notre Dame Cathedral. I even did a bit of cycling.
Kaye's evening meals were delicious and hugely appreciated by all.
I had a thoroughly enjoyable week, and would heartily recommend the Reading Retreat.
Vivienne Jarvis, Andover
Having been to the previous very successful Readers’ Week in 2010, I knew the accommodation was going to be comfortable and the food marvellous – it isn’t possible to praise Kaye highly enough. However, I was looking forward to this gathering somewhat nervously – would it be as successful as last time? Would everyone get on well together? And would they like the book I’d chosen? Thankfully the answers were yes, yes and yes – although one or two needed persuading about the book!
Aside from our host, the group was made up of seven women and one couple, very different to last time, which had been predominantly married couples. But just as before, everyone gelled quickly, sitting around chatting, going off together on walks and bike rides locally, and sharing cars to drive further afield. The weather was so good that many discussions and meals were al fresco, so we donned sunhats and left jumpers in our suitcases.
We had each nominated a book to champion – and what an eclectic mix they were. They included cross-overs, ghost stories and one (Emma Donoghue’s Room) which defies category. Curiously, three were based around war settings, which had been the theme for the previous gathering. All generated excellent discussions which meandered not just onto other books, but onto completely different subjects, especially as we got to know each other better. We had also put forward poems for discussion, and these were slipped in randomly between the books. Some provoked introspection, someone (I can’t quite remember who...) confessed to having skeletons in their closet, and I especially enjoyed Fran’s entertaining performance of Roald Dahl’s version of Cinderella.
On Wednesday we took advantage of the glorious weather and abandoned Le Rieu for the day, migrating to Bayeux to take in the sites (once we found the free car-park). Having discovered a very pleasant café for a quick coffee before sight-seeing, we somehow found ourselves back there enjoying omelettes, salads and crêpes (with Calvados) for lunch. Well, it’s what you do in France, isn’t it?
The evenings were spent relaxing and chatting over leisurely dinners, then indulging in more chat, quizzes and (after some persuasion) charades. We also swapped our reading group book lists to provide inspiration for our next planning meetings and for personal reading, so all in all another tranquil, enjoyable and very successful week - thank you, Guy.
Angela Moorby, Chislehurst
What a truly wonderful experience the week in Normandy was. I am not a person that enjoys beach holidays preferring holidays of interest and this was so interesting and different. It has to be one of the most relaxing holidays I have ever been on and the most interesting!
Coming on my own was a daunting thought but everyone was so very friendly and we had a lot of fun. Not just discussing books but sight seeing and even playing charades !
The food and wine was wonderful, as was our host Guy.
I would love to go again, unfortunately I am already booked up to go somewhere else September!!