• A Good Year

  • By: Peter Mayle
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (402 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From Peter Mayle, a wonderful new novel steeped in wine - and the business of wine - and set in, bien sûr, Provence.

Max Skinner is not exactly setting the London financial world on fire - and when his supervisor steals his biggest client, it’s definitely time to inspect the vineyard in Provence that his recently departed uncle left him. Heartily and happily distracted upon his arrival by the landscape, the weather, and the food - not to mention the gorgeous notaire handling the estate and the stunning owner of the local bistro - Max almost forgets about his inherited property.  

Which might have been a good idea, because the wine produced there is swill. But then why, Max has to wonder, is his caretaker so anxious to acquire the land? When a beautiful young woman from California arrives with what might be a legitimate claim on the estate, and knowledge of vineyards that far outstrips Max’s own, the plot begins its twists and turns into and out of truly wonderful complications and resolutions.  

This is luscious listening - soothing us with the sensual wonders of Provence while it tells a fascinating tale of the hugely lucrative and competitive boutique-wine trade. It is Peter Mayle’s most satisfying, most delectable novel yet. 

©2004 Peter Mayle (P)2004 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Happily snide (and knowledgeable) [with] wicked turns of phrase." (Chicago Sun-Times) "Mayle makes Provence sound like the most enticing place this side of paradise. Reservations anyone?" (People)

What listeners say about A Good Year

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Five stars aren't enough

Entertaining, funny, superbly written, and superbly read. Mayle at his best.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun Read, Movie is Better

We loved the movie and watch it on a regular basis. It so happens the producer of the film starring Russell Crowe is from my hometown of Greensboro. I understand the movie failed miserably, yet it remains one of my wife and my favorite films. The characters, the ambience of the French estate, the haunting childhood memories, beautiful cinematography and the humor draws us in everytime.

So I am not surprised the book is different, but this is one case where hollywood made the story better. Having listened to the story with such high expectations I can only give it 3 stars. I readily admit my prejudice. Still its a wonderful story and certainly worthy of your time.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

You'll Laugh Out Loud

A delightful listen with descriptions and dialogue that made me laugh out loud. Peter Mayle pokes fun at the English, French and Americans through his knack for creating characters that are both stereotypical and believable at the same time. You may not know people exactly like these characters, but by the end of the story you?ll wish you did.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Nice story, not Mayle's best - bad French accent

I bought this book after watching the movie - I am a fan of Peter Mayle and have read all his previous works of fiction. I hadn't even heard of this one, though. When I watched the movie I knew right away it was based on a Peter Mayle book, and that somehow I had missed one. I was sure the movie had left out significant character development, characteristic of Mayle's writing. And throughout the movie I kept feeling like we weren't getting to know the characters -- the plot moved quickly without much explanation for their actions. I bought the book and downloaded the audio shortly after. I like to alternate between audio and paper, depending on what I'm doing.

I guess the movie didn't cut out much after all. The characters in this story aren't developed in the typical Mayle style. It was still a nice, light read - just not what I expect from Peter Mayle.

I am a French speaker and have lived in Provence - I love hearing descriptions and names of familiar places. These, too, were fewer and farther between than in the author's previous novels.

Finally, the accent of the narrator was BEYOND irritating. His consistent mispronunciation of the French vowel combination "ai" as a long /i/ sound instead of a short /e/ sound finally drove me to turn off the audio and read my paperback.

Oh well - I guess there's a reason I hadn't heard about this one sooner. I'm baffled that of all his excellent novels, Hollywood chose this one to make into a film.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent listen!

This is a very well written book that's resulted in an excellent audiobook. The story is so well constructed and the details so well described that you become a part of it. The reader also does a great job.

Although not necessary, if you enjoy wine you'll find this story much more enjoyable. It centers around an inherited winery and some strange happenings.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Good Year and a Great Listen!

Both my husband & I were captivated by the movie which inspired our purchase of the book. John Lee's wonderful voice added greatly to the book's ability to transport us into a delightful world of eccentric and lovable characters; we tasted the foods, delighted in the wines, felt the sun, and were cheered by the dry humour all the while commuting to work in a rainy and chilly Canadian summer. We are looking at ways to bring the tastes and experience of Provence into our own home. We will be certainly going back to this book again and again and when we get the opportunity, we will vote for John Lee as a favourite narrator (I enjoyed him every step of the way through the unabridged Pillars of the Earth as well!)

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth it!

I found this purchase completely worth while! I wasn't very keen on the narrator, but he does great accents and soon I was hooked. This novel took me away, as good books should. The movie seems like ridiculous fluff after having read and listened to the novel.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Read to Accompany a glass of wine.

A bit slow but fun and worth it if you love wine. An interesting story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

O.K.

I thought I'd submitted a review of this already! Not as good as Hotel Pastis, John Lee fantastic!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Lovely French escape

Very evocative of its setting - I could almost feel the sun on my back as I listened. A good little plot/mystery, interesting characters and fab narration.

2 people found this helpful

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