Can four retirees open a successful restaurant together in a quaint little town on the French Riviera?
In her follow-up to Not Quite Nice (2015), Imrie revisits Bellevue-Sur-Mer, an expat oasis tucked between the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo and Cannes. In this installment, four British seniors—Theresa, Carol, William, and Benjamin—pool their resources to open a restaurant, selecting a site that's more than a bit of a fixer-upper. In addition to issues with the property, the friends face numerous logistical roadblocks in launching their business. (They also upset fellow restaurateurs in the area.) As typical Brits, they keep calm and carry on until the road appears smooth. But is it? An intruder seems to want something from all of them. Then there’s Sally, an actress who left the industry under dubious circumstances and seeks privacy in her forced retirement. As her friends deal with restaurant challenges, Sally juggles a new relationship with a Russian billionaire and a frenemy from her past who's in town for the Cannes Film Festival. As the bubbly excitement of the festival spills over to Bellevue-Sur-Mer, scandals, love triangles, and secrets are revealed. Despite her recent foray into novel writing, Imrie is best known for her screen work, having appeared in such films as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Calendar Girls, and Nanny McPhee. Her ability to advance a written plot is not as fully developed as her work as an actor, but those who enjoy British humor and colloquialisms will surely find this a lovely read.
A bit plodding at first, this novel won’t immediately grab readers with its engaging plot. Rather, it will slowly charm those up for a story that gradually unfolds into something delightful.