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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

Not Quite Nice by Celia Imrie


Theresa is desperate for a change. Forced into early retirement, fed up with babysitting her bossy daughter's obnoxious children, she sells her Highgate house and moves to the picture-perfect town of Bellevue-sur-Mer, just outside Nice. With its beautiful villas, its bustling cafes and shimmering cerulean sea, the village sparkles like a diamond on the French Mediterranean coast. Once the hideaway of artists and writers, it is now home to the odd rock icon and Hollywood movie star, and, as Theresa soon discovers, a close-knit set of expats. There's Carol, the infinitely glamorous American and her doting husband David; the erstwhile British TV star Sally; the ferocious Sian and her wayward Australian poet husband; the sharply witty Zoe with her strangely youthful face and penchant for white wine – and the suave Brian who catches Theresa's eye… As Theresa settles to the gentle rhythm of seaside life she embraces her new-found friendships and freedom. However, life is never quite as simple as it seems and as skeletons start to fall out of several closets, Theresa begins to wonder if life on the French Riviera is quite as nice as it first appeared…


I'd not gotten through the first chapter, before I was practically yelling at the book - I was furious with Theresa's obnoxious, vile grandchildren, with her daughter Imogen for setting the example for her nasty little brats, but mostly with Theresa, herself. Family or not, sometimes distance is the best thing, and Theresa running away to France was her way of distancing herself.

How this pans out for her is hilarious, and the plot is more convoluted than a nest of snakes. The story really appealed to my sense of humour. Yes, this is a light-hearted read, which should be expected from the tag lines and the blurb, but it does have a couple of serious threads running through it. The one is how we react with our grown-up children, and the other is that however far you run, you take yourself with you.

Loved the ending! Poor Theresa!!!

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