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The Suitors

2.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  401 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
A comedy of manners that serves as an insightful look at the lives of those in the upper classes.

After two sisters, Laure and Marie, learn of their parents’ plan to sell the family’s summer retreat, L’Agapanthe, they devise a scheme for attracting a wealthy suitor who can afford to purchase the estate. Selling it would mean more than just losing a place to go during the su
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Other Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Feb 10, 2013 Geoff rated it really liked it
After my amazing luck with John Boyne’s The Absolutist last year, I decided to always keep an eye on Other Press releases and I’m glad I did. I requested a copy of this book directly from the publisher and I quite enjoyed it. This is my honest response and I received nothing in return.

To start, I’d like to say that the only other review on Goodreads is worthless (to me, at least). Why bother reviewing a book if that’s all you’re going to say? The person has, in essence, re-written the synopsis o
Jennifer Kirkey
Apr 29, 2013 Jennifer Kirkey rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-books
I tried really hard to get into this book, but the plot moved so slowly that I found myself getting bored and reaching for other novels to fill the space. The writer was obviously trying to write her main character as a heroine who saves the family summer home, but instead she came off as a somewhat self-entitled snob and it was hard to feel sorry for her. There were a few people sprinkled throughout the story who were interesting but they were minor characters with no focus. The whole thing too ...more
Jul 05, 2013 Kate rated it did not like it
I had this as an ARC and I ditched it on the train when I was done. But now I feel bad about that. Littering is wrong. And whoever picks it up might make the same mistake I did, and read it.
Many reviewers have described the characters as unlikeable, and I'd agree in the sense that they're all just so wrapped up in a 1% existence. However, for the most part I was able to accept the lot for who they were, though I wasn't exactly sympathetic with the sisters' plan to snag a rich husband from among that summer's guests.

What to expect if you're considering the book ... lots of discussion of the house and grounds, the Antibes area itself not so much. It's established early on how fantast
Aug 24, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
Judging from the comments of other reviewers, this is a very polarizing book. Readers either loved it or hated it----and, I am one of those who absolutely adored it. It grabbed me from page one.

Anyone who has ever organized a team; chaired a committee; or hosted a dinner party understands the fragile dynamic of a closed circle of people. Everyone has the power to enhance the group dynamic, or ruin it. And, for me, that was the magic of this book.

The magical villa on the French Riviera was a per
Amy Warrick
Dec 02, 2013 Amy Warrick rated it did not like it

Oh my goodness. A book in which nothing happens, written by a thoroughly unpleasant narrator....the attitude is, 'we are just better than everybody else. We can't help it, it's how we are'. Things that are supposed to be funny are just...not. Yick. Maybe it reads better in the original French.
Gwyn Evans
Sep 21, 2015 Gwyn Evans rated it did not like it
I really enjoy "house party at a country mansion" books, and books about complicated family relationships, so this seemed promising. However, it did not deliver. I was halfway through before I realized it was probably not going to improve, so I finished just to see if there was any character development or plot. There wasn't, really.

The story is meant to follow two sisters as they embark on a Marriage Plot in order to save their beloved family summer home. Mostly, it is just the first-person nar
Oct 26, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
This is one of those books that you keep reading, all the while wondering why you are still bothering. Normally, an (attempted) farcical novel of French manners and the haute riche would not interest me in the slightest.

But there is some grain of je ne sais quoi here. I felt as if the author was perhaps channeling her inner rich girl here, complete with sibling rivalry, horrible, evil nanny, and the need to have a "real" job so that she can pretend that she is doing something with her life. The
Aug 07, 2013 Erin rated it liked it
While reading this, a person must keep in mind that this book is meant to be a comedy...Laure is off putting and snobbish, yet wonders why she simply can't find a man. She and her spoiled sister flip out when they realize their parents are putting their summer house on the market. The book is filled with laughable characters who are completely full of themselves....amusing little novel. It might go over better with american audiences as a film, because most readers can't seem to maintaiin the mi ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Corene rated it really liked it
As the book takes place entirely in July, in a beautiful home run by servants and filled with upper class guests on the Cote D'Azur, I found it a pleasant summer read, amusingly light and droll. Two thirty-something sisters balk at the idea of their parents selling the family vacation estate, and concoct a scheme to invite objectionable, but wealthy, male guests as potential husbands, ones who could afford to buy the home for them, with the underlying scheme a hope that their father will then no ...more
May 07, 2015 Bookreaderljh rated it liked it
Interesting story of two sisters from a wealthy family trying to save the summer family home from being sold by their older parents by finding a wealthy suitor to marry to take over keeping up the home and more importantly the lifestyle that goes along with it. The story is told tongue in cheek and lightly makes fun of the rich and famous who are wined and dined at three successive weekends at the home. This family has been entertaining old friends and acquaintances in high style for years and i ...more
Christine Cadorette
Jan 17, 2014 Christine Cadorette rated it really liked it
I was attracted to this book because it was described as a comedy of manners. But I wound up enjoying it for another reason. I took my Junior year abroad in Geneva and I remember taking a French literature course. Showed up at the first class with my book in hand and was shocked when we spent the entire time on the first few sentences doing something they called an explication du texte. We explored why an author might have selected a particular word or used a specific verb form. I had never done ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Sharon rated it liked it
This is a well-written book in which nothing much happens, so if you like plot-driven novels, don't bother. If you want a look into the world of inherited wealth in France and their codes and manners, then this is a book for you.
Kira Barnes
Mar 08, 2014 Kira Barnes rated it it was ok
This book was given to me; I wouldn't have bought it on my own. It's all about a couple of haute-bourgeoise sisters trying to save their family's Riviera mansion by finding a husband. Perhaps it's more amusing in the original French, although the translator did a pretty good job overall. Liberals and vegans/vegetarians are the objects of ridicule, which I didn't appreciate. The one touch I liked was that the narrator, who is a counseling psychologist, at one point had an informal session with on ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Stephanie rated it did not like it
This was some seriously trite crap.
Mar 17, 2013 Donna rated it did not like it
hate hate hated this hateful book
Feb 08, 2015 Carolynne rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
My life is too short to waste any more time on this book. The only redeemable feature is the allusion to old English country homes, ala Downton Abbey.

The family has owned and summered at a house on (the French Riviera?) and now, with the daughters in their 30s, the father decides to sell the place. The sisters turn to their uncle who recommends finding a wealthy suitor who will offer to buy the place as a means to make their father jealous and refuse to sell. It's a bizarre plot vehicle and it d
Jul 19, 2013 Michelle rated it did not like it
I very much wanted to rate this book 2 stars because I generally give one star for the quality of the writing, which was not terrible, and in this case, sometimes was even good.

However, the book was insufferable. The narrator is a psychologist and apparently this gives the author what she thinks is license to saddle us with endlessly repetitive internal monologues worrying over things such as whether there are teabags at dinner (shocking!). The book is portrayed as a humorous look at the uber ri
May 12, 2013 Rae rated it did not like it
"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand."
This famous F. Scott Fitzgerald quote pretty much sums up my reaction to the Suitors. I was totally baffled by the author's depiction of life at the summer "house" of this fabulously wealthy family. What could possibly
Sep 14, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
Disjointed, crazy-quilt style farce that has little to do with suitors and more to do with manners, class expectations, and the general shallow dissatisfaction brought about by pretensions of the super-riche. While at times this rambling novel felt like it simply didn't know where to go next (the section entitled "Nanny" was like a hit out to left field that strikes you in the temple and leaves you dazed, but nothing is ever done with it after that) its originality and bonne prose, combined with ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Carol rated it did not like it
I chose this book as part of a reading challenge for 2016. I listen to audio books on my commute, I listened on my way home and hoped it would get better, so I decided to continue on my morning commute. Now I have 2 hours into it decided to tough it out. This is probably one of the worst books I have ever read, the title and description are very misleading, there was not much for suitors and even less in the lines of a farce. There are 8 1/2 hours I will never get back.
Sep 09, 2014 Tamzin rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel, the theme of change and that all is not as it seems was well presented in a soundly structured story. I wasn't sure how the translation from French to English would go but I really don't think anything was lost in the language, if anything the reading experience was enhanced. Perhaps because I started out dubious I was pleasantly surprised, I can understand the opulence wouldn't be for everyone but there is more to the story than this.
Mary Ronan Drew
Mar 17, 2013 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it
In Suitors by Cecile David-Weill, Laure and Marie Ettinguer are the 30-something children of a very, very rich old-money French family. They own a villa, L'Agapanthe, in Cap D'Antibes, which they open for a couple of months every summer and which costs millions to keep up. The girls are shocked when their parents announce they are going to sell the house. The parents don't have money problems, so why would they sell? We will learn more about this as the story moves along.

The girls are heartbroke
Jan 14, 2014 Jan rated it did not like it
One of the rare books that I gave up on - just couldn't get on with this, despite loving France and French. I saw no humour in the situations, and although I was initially interested in the world-views of old money French families, I grew weary of it very quickly. I may have preferred to read it in French, and it was certainly a bad idea to try it as an audiobook - I found the the voice inflections of the reader, Kate Reading, incredibly irritating - but regardless, I was not sufficiently intere ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Larissa rated it really liked it
I found this book to be very typical of french literature in that it delves into the psychoanalysis of its characters. It is not a book where 'things happen', which seems to be a common complaint. This book is essentially a study of the household traditions of old French society. Intriguing for anyone interested in upstairs downstairs type stories, and comes with a bit of humor as well. Overall very interesting read.
Jun 25, 2013 Rosie rated it it was ok
1.5 stars. I have a college minor in French. This is supposed to be a French comedy of manners. I thought I would understand the humor. I don't think I did, as I really just wanted to burn down this Riviera home to get the book done as quickly as possible.

I listened to this in the car and the best part was my 12-year-old daughter repeating sentences in an affected tone. She seemed to understand the humor better than me. Maybe I am too old and jaded.

Another reviewer compared this to Austen. Um, n
Feb 28, 2014 Mackay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, modern-novel
There is much to savor in this novel of a French family whose wealth and influence are fading (though they refuse to notice or care), but after awhile, the dry archness bothered me and I found I didn't really care about what happened or most of the characters.
Akshada  Ananthakrishnan
The Suitors starts off slow, taking a while to establish the few yet many layered characters in it. This is a story of a mildly dtysfunctioning family with two daughters trying to stop their parents from selling the house of their childhood. As the story develops, the tension grips over the two women to find a suitable 'Suitor' who will marry them and take ownership of the house. Because owning a house that size brings with the expectations attached to owning it.

As the story progresses, we see
Jul 31, 2014 Jamie rated it liked it
A fun summer read. A comedy of manners with lots of quirky characters set in the background of traditional French polite society. Definitely worth your while if you are a Francophile or a foodie.
Christina Marcon
Jul 26, 2014 Christina Marcon rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
Hmmm.not very interesting upon reading - loved descriptions of France, suppose there were some lessons on growing up but just didn't feel like it was a great or even good book. Just sort of blah...
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