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Swallows & Robins - The Guests In My Garden

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A hilarious tale of restoring and running two holiday cottages in a remote hamlet of SW France As the world's worst housekeeper, running holiday homes wasn't, with hindsight, a sensible idea. But two collapsing buildings on Susie Kelly's land would cost more to demolish than to restore. Thus she became a seasonal landlady. Before the guests came the builders. No's 1, 2, 3 ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-and-memoir
Well-written, balanced collection of essays - some of the guests were truly "from hell" (one especially), but most were either just quirky in some way, or really nice folks. I could understand why she didn't fire her cleaner, Ivy; she could see how much hurt there was underneath.

Definitely recommended for her sense of humor with the funny bits, and her sensitivity with the sad ones.
I really enjoyed this look at the life of an Inn keeper in France. I harbor dreams of running a Bed and Breakfast someday but maybe I'm not quite ready for some of the guests I might get. Until I decide I will continue to read books like this one. Well-written, funny, sad and sometimes unbelievable (what people would do) but enjoyable all the same. ...more
Debra Hahn
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People, some you love. Some you love them to leave.

The crazy life of renting cottages to people for vacation. Some great some
You're ready to see go. You laugh and cry, in some instances you can't be -
lieve they really did that. You get the whole gamut of life and people's strange
and crazy way they act in this manner life of renting cottages. You meet
people from all over the world. Up to include you're cleaning lady. Who you're totally convinced she's loony tunes.
Debra H.
Sandra McKenna
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable.

I have read most of Susie Kelly's books, and they are all excellent, but this one takes the cake.
Susie has two holiday lets renovated, and over four years rents them out to various holiday makers, some lovely, and others totally appalling.
This book had me laughing so loud, that I thought the neighbours may complain.
Well written and entertaining from beginning to end.
Whistlers Mom
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A year ago I read this author's I WISH I COULD SAY I'M SORRY - the gripping, sometimes deeply sad story of her childhood and first marriage. From the reviews of that book, I learned that she has written a number of popular "light" books about her life in France. Some reviewers were openly disturbed at her dark memories of her early life. They were accustomed to reading about the mad-cap adventures of a happy-go-lucky woman and that's what they were expecting.

I love this book. It's a series of de
Emily Knight
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a non-fiction account of how the author started up and survived running a bed and breakfast in France. I found the style of writing to be entertaining and light hearted with a lovely balance of truthful realisations and perspective comments. If you are considering opening up a bed and breakfast then this book is for you - it will give you all the highs and lows for which you need to be prepared. The author does not try to be an instructor on the business - she gives such a fun and rounde ...more
Susan Keefe
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When the chance to transform two old barns into holiday cottages presents itself, Susie grasps the opportunity, all she has to do is find the right builders for the job and make sure the works completed before the first guests arrive.

In this entertaining, funny and sometimes sad book, we have the opportunity to meets a wide variety of her friends, acquaintances and guests who arrive from around the world and come from all walks of life. From Tristram the blond Apollo to Ivy, her cleaner, every c
Pat Ellis
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this Memoir - I love reading about folks who have moved to a different country (especially Spain or France as they are familiar to me), together with their families and pets. This Memoir introduces you to all the 'guests' that arrived to stay in the two renovated cottages (once they had been renovated following the builders excapades !! ) - It's an easy read, well written, interesting, funny and a tad sad at times - very good 'holiday reading material' - I look forward to readin ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and it kept get better and better as I read it. Kelly has a whole range of people renting her two vacation cottages in rural France; some wonderful who become long time friends, some rude and she is happy to see them leave, some families with children whose company she enjoys, a couple who are nudists and enjoy her secluded cottages. I wish there had been more info at the beginning telling more about how and why she moved to France, and I wonder why her husband never visits. ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely characters and their antics

I enjoyed the voice of this book. There is a lot of fun and laughter inside. I did feel like something was missing though. I kept expecting to be introduced to the "husband who was working in England," but I never happened. Overall definitely was worth my time.
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

Kept me reading for hours. loved all the stories about her guests and her heart broke when the dog died. Love all her books.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightfully charming read. The stories of the people who vacationed in the authors guest cottages in rural France. I enjoyed every minute of reading this little gem.
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book was a quick and enjoyable read recommend for anyone looking for a lighthearted fun read .Lots of laughs and fascinating characters throughout.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy this book a lot is was very charming and funny. Chapter 30 was my favorite out of the group.
If you are looking for just an enjoyable read with no stress this is a good book to have.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the guests of the cottages.
Jan 21, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
kindle 273 (memoir)
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely Interesting

This book has one grinning one minute and downcast the next. A very interesting read and I would suggest it to anyone who likes comfortable reading.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: living-life
This was such a delightful book. Funny, even hilarious in parts, and descriptive of human and animal nature as it really is. I loved it.
Marylyn Rands
Fun to read. Not the best writing.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable stories, would read this author again.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Liked the book. The experiences of a holiday home owner narrated in an interesting manner. Looking forward to reading other books by this author.
Kenya Starflight
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book about a woman's experiences running a pair of vacation homes sounds like it should be a business guide, or at the very least offer some tips on how to make sure your operation runs smoothly. "Swallows and Robins" is no such thing -- it's author Susie Kelly's personal account of her experiences as a hostess, the eccentric cast of characters she met in the process, and the mistakes she made along the way. And it's at turns hilarious, heartbreaking, and all around delightful.

Susie Kelly is t
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is the perfect summer read! British Susie Kelly buys a property in rural France with one slightly livable home and two falling down homes upon it. Once the buildings are properly repaired, how to pay one's bank account back for the remodels? Easily, thinks Susie. Simply rent them out as holiday homes and they will pay for themselves! Let the adventures begin. Oh, did I forget to mention that Susie would rather die than clean houses after guests have departed? Enter Ivy, the woman all h ...more
Raquel Evans
For the most part, this is a light, amusing read. There are a few 'adult' situations that come up (as you might imagine with many couples passing through the rental houses), one chapter that revolves around an abortion, and a couple of angry, disturbed guests. I found some of the anecdotes hard to read, but overall it was fun. ...more
Shelly Boltz-Zito
I loved it!!!

I laughed, I cried, I shook my head in disbelief, it was great! I often thought of doing a B&B but am kinda glad I didn't after reading her ups and downs. But she certainly has interesting people come and I related to "there are all kinds of people in the world" ! I loved this book. Can't wait to read another book by Susie!
Neal Atherton
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes I did laugh out loud - superb characterization

If you have travelled around France then you have met all these characters in Susie book. The story is told with great humour and affection even for the most irritating of guests (well most of them)! I did actually laugh out loud at times and had to explain myself. Lovely memoir.
Peter Humphreys
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was nice to see what it’s like renting a house out and pit falls. Having bought a house 20 year’s ago to renovate and holiday let. To give an income to retire and renting our home in England. But brexite has put paid to that.
Mauricette Sanders
An excellent read!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I like its format and Susie's style of writing. She manages to keep you interested right till the end.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
Rather different. Fun characters and a view into a life I couldn't have imagined. ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm using Susie Kelly as a therapist any time I feel depressed. Her books are amusing, full of unusual characters, and with a generally upbeat theme. We could all use more 'happy'. ...more
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