Gullible’s Troubles… Adventures Through France and Sicily {book review & giveaway}


Greetings from a very chilly south of France! Thankfully, we’ve had a lot of bright sunshine to carry us through January, because we’ve been bundled up to our eyeballs in winter coats for a good few weeks now… But the view of the clear skies on the Mediterranean is “pas mal” not bad, as they say, so not a lot to complain about during “winter in Provence”!

And I’m equally cheerful to present a giveaway (love those!) and it’s especially nice because there are 5 copies of the book, Gullible’s Troubles, to win by leaving a comment on this post – très simple!

Gullible’s Troubles is a charming travel narrative about one couple’s adventures, and “mis-adventures”, while traveling through France and Sicily – with side trips to England, Wales, and Italy. If you ever wanted to experience the ins & outs of European travel (via a bumpy campervan) this is the book for you.

The author, Suzi Tooke, is a native of England but currently lives in Brisbane on 10 acres of bush with “a mad dog and an Englishman”.  An IT user manual author by trade, she’s traveled to more than 20 countries and with her current travelogue, she hopes that now “someone will actually read what she’s written” – ha, love it!

Half the fun of the book is that Suzi sets off from Australia with a rough idea of where she’d like to travel – ie. all the pins have been placed on the map – but then lets the trip take its own course with unplanned stops, sidetrips, and somehow a single detour to a snail farm (in France of course, ohh la lahhh).

From the start, she takes us to England and Wales, where they stay in a spattering of hotel rooms, some quite “posher” than others, pick-up their famed temperamental campervan, see old friends, and share more than a few pints while winding their way cross country.  I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the book as I’ve only been a casual traveler to England and know nothing of Wales whatsoever. She sheds light on the history of the two countries with plenty of anecdotes from their travels – from villages in Wales with old castles and well-preserved buildings that are things of rare beauty,  “not only the unusual and unique, but the commonplace and the ordinary”, to stops at weathered churchs, muesums, and more than a few pubs.

From there, they ferry to France, where of course I was the most intrigued to read her impressions and see how they managed the cultural (and language!) shift while having to tackle driving on the other side of the road. Suzi does not disappoint, with tales of stops at towns along the river Seine – full of “cobbled streets and half-timbered fantastically leaning buildings with overhanging first and second storeys” and run-ins with French locals.

As they head further south, the couple discovers the towns of Orange, Avignon, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes, and Roussillon  – just to name a few! One of my favorite moments from their travels in the south is when they stop to eat at a local restaurant and the owner appears and declares that the next drink is on him. They thank him and remark how much they appreciate the gesture. To which he replies, “C’est normale, c’est le Midi”. – To mean, it’s normal, that’s what we do in this part of France. Couldn’t agree more!

And as they travel through the country, Suzi proclaims, “All of rural France is full of places you think, ‘Yeah, I could live there!'” Quite right Suzi, quite right indeed…

This book is chock-full of so much detail, it’s hard to believe that this was just one trip! Suzi talks about tackling one-way traffic in Carpentras, the brief history of the popes in Avignon, amazing views of the citadel built into a rock at Sisteron, ramdomly driving through a lavender field, and camping (and later wine-tasting) at a vineyard outside Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. And I haven’t even touched on Italy!

Suzi Tooke



eBook giveaway – 5 copies

If you’d like to enter to win a free digital copy of Gullible’s Troubles, just leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite road trip – one you’ve taken or one you dream about taking!

5 winners will be chosen at random on Monday, February 1st and we will email you an access code to download your free eBook.

And if you don’t have an eBook reader, no worries, we’ll send you directions on how to download one for free.

Good luck chers amis!

And if you’re interested in purchasing Suzi’s book, please visit the Gullible’s Troubles Amazon page. Learn more about Suzi Tooke, and her hilarious adventures, by visiting her author page.

16 thoughts on “Gullible’s Troubles… Adventures Through France and Sicily {book review & giveaway}”

  1. What a fabulous woman and book! 🙂 My favorite road trip was from Italy through the Balkans down to Greece and back by ferry to Italy. 🙂 Absolutely LOVED it. Can’t wait to read more by Suzi. 🙂


    1. Krista,
      Thanks so much! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the book!
      I’ve joined a local Writers’ Group and we are publishing our anthology shortly – a collection of stories and poems from all members. Hopefully, it will be available online.


  2. One of my favorite memories is from our road trip to Arles in September, 2013. We could not find the Bed and Breakfast we had booked and our GPS had us going in circles. It led us down a dirt patch past a farm. The farmer happened to be at the end of the road so we showed him the picture of the B and B and asked for directions. There was such a language barrier that he finally kneeled down and drew a little map in the dirt! We were just around the bend in the opposite direction of our destination. He was so kind and we all laughed and shook hands. It was such a sweet time.


  3. My favorite road trip is anywhere in Provence. If not that then anywhere in France. If not that then anywhere in Italy, or, let’s face it, anywhere with picturesque roads, picaresque villages and good food.


  4. I went on a road trip with my brother through Colorado and Utah and came across some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen in Utah. We were in the middle of no where and giant red rocks surrounded us, beautiful mountain views and aspens. We went to visit Bryce canyon which was gorgeous – but the road we had come through was even more breathtaking. I believe it was route 12 that we were on but would have to check my notes:)


  5. Our 25th anniversary was in 2013. Since money was tight I was thinking maybe a long weekend at a beach resort or something similar. My husband said, “How about two weeks in London and Paris?” After I said, “Who are you and what have you done with my husband?”, I said, “YES!” He’s very into cars, so my favorite road trip started after we took the train north from London to the Great Malvern station where we bought a 3-wheel car (a Reliant Rialto) drove it through the beautiful English countryside to Bath. We spent the night, continued on our way to Stonehenge and on to Southampton where we put it on a boat for home and took the train back to London. We have a fabulous souvenir of our adventure driving on the wrong side of the road, meeting eccentric locals and generally having a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


  6. This is a Southwestern US roadtrip memory but even though I was 4 or 5 years old, I’ve never forgotten it. Dad, Mom, my brother and I packed into the 1960’s stationwagon in the summer from Denver, Colorado to Orlando, Florida – a visit to both sets of grandparents and several uncles, aunts & cousins. While heading through New Mexico or Utah, dad, ever the adventurous type, decided to take the stationwagon off the highway and onto a red dirt narrow road, just because. I remember my mother practically having a nervous breakdown as the road became narrower and narrower. Finally, the now “path” became impassable by car and my dad had to back up all the way to the main road. Of course my brother and I thought this was a great adventure but for sure we did not see the edge of the road, tumbling down into canyons, like mom did.


  7. I love traveling and France that much I dreamed of taking women only groups there and guess what!! Last year I took three amazing groups of ladies to discover the beauty of Provence. Such a wonderful thing to be able to share so much pleasure in such a wonderful part of the world. I would love to read Suzi’s book especially since I have only just moved to the Sunshine Coast just up the road from Brisbane.


  8. A friend sent your blog to me, and I plan to read a lot more of your experiences in France. My wife and I spent this past June, and a little more, in France. Part of our trip was spending 10 days touring around Provence. A man and his wife were our guides, and they had a van to carry us and another couple, who we were traveling with. Loved the trip. We’ve been to France many times, and have always enjoyed our travels there. We live in Arizona, so there is quite a drastic change in scenery and climate when we go. We travel a lot, and have motorhomed in Africa, across Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Germany, et al.

    Thanks for the offer on the book. Looking forward to reading it….Jim


  9. I would love to read this, because the Burly Man Friend and I want to road trip through Wales, Britain, and Scotland in the not-too-distant future, so we would be grateful for the insights and recommendations we’re sure to find in this book!


  10. My favourite road tour was taking the grandchildren and their parents from Kununurra to Broome in Western Australia along the Gibb River Road. A thousand kilometres of unsealed “road” through stunning country, hair-raising rivers to ford and working farmhouses as well as a splendid Wilderness Safari Lodge to stay at. There are a number of fantastic gorges to inspect and remote swimming holes to discover, Windjana Gorge to gape at with your photo background of lazing freshwater crocodiles. And if you feel inclined finish up riding a camel on the incomparable beach at Broome. Nothing like this trip in the world.


  11. Many many thanks to everyone who entered, I loved reading about your road trips… or road trips-to-be! Fun stuff!!

    The 5 winners are: Judith Hollinshed, Kathleene, Tonja, Kathy, and Teresa – chosen via

    Thanks again for all of your lovely stories! Tuula


  12. This sounds like a really fun read! Two years ago I took a solo road trip through the Minervois, in the Langedoc. Enjoyed it so much that I’m trying to sell my house so I can move to France.


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