Book Club Méli Mélo

Love reading? Love the Pyrenées-Orientales? Why not combine the two?

All of these books can be bought via the links or found in local book shops. Bonne lecture!

Méli mélo

= jumble, mish-mash,

eg. Au vide grenier il y a un méli-mélo d’objets…

The Chronicles of Isaac of Girona….Caroline Roe.

Medieval medical mysteries. Follow the adventures of the Bishop Of Girona’s blind Jewish physician, a 14th-century doctor with important patients and a nose for wrong-doing, as he travels throughout Catalonia, including Perpignan, healing and solving mysteries. There are 8 volumes so it should keep you going for summer!

Buy it here.

Little Money Street…..Fernanda Eberstadt

An insight into the gypsies and their music in Perpignan, centring around the gypsy band Tekameli. In 1998, Fernanda Eberstadt, her husband and their two small children moved from New York to the Quartier Saint Jacques in Perpignan. Here she found a jealously guarded culture, a society made, in part, of lawlessness and defiance of non-gypsy norms, and met Moïse Espinas, the lead singer of the band.

Buy it here.

Album of Exile…..Thérèse Cau

Thérèse Cau, daughter of Spanish Republicans and native of Port Vendres, recounts the tumultuous history of her family, from their origins in Catalonia to their lives in France today. It is the story of family divided, the experiences of her father and uncles on the frontline of the Spanish Civil War, in the internment camps in France, the struggle to reconstruct their lives in a new land where they did not speak the language. (In French)

Buy it here.

Le Lycan Blanc…..Phil Becker

Test your French in this heroic-fantasy that takes place in Catalonia, following an albino werewolf, Corcinos, in a alternative XII century. All the fantasy archetypes are present: wizards, chivalry, fantastic creatures such as werewolves, minotaurs and titans… but the beauty of this fantasy is that it takes place around the Canigo, Perpignan, and Collioure!

Raised on the Mount Canigo, follow the werewolf on his journey to discover how he became a monster.

Buy it here.

Côte Vermeille Stories…..Ellen Turner Hall

Carefully crafted prose exploring characters who, like the author, have fallen under the spell of one or other of the four villages of the Côte Vermeille.

Their stories, twist and turn, basking in and buffeted by the eccentric charms of Catalonia’s rocky coast as Ellen guides the reader on a voyage of discovery along the Côte Vermeille.

Find out more here.

Buy it here.

A Worldly Tale Told of Mothy Chambers….Kate Barnwell

Of great interest to those who know and love Collioure, Mothy Chambers is a sixteen year old schoolboy in England in the sixties, who is packed off by his indifferent family to learn French in Collioure, where he meets Bette, a recently married, mesmeric young woman.

Ten years later, he returns to Collioure.

Find out more here.

Buy it here.

Daughter of Catalonia… Jane MacKenzie

In war-torn France, charismatic Spaniard Luis elopes with high-born Elise from Paris and takes her to live in a small village in Catalonia. Little do they know that war will rip them apart. Many years later their daughter Madeleine returns to France to seek out her roots and the truth of her parents’ story. The town of Vermeilla is fictional but the central characters visit Collioure, Port Vendres, Amélie-les-Bains, the Vallespir and Céret. Well researched, a gripping summer read.

Find out more here.

Buy it here.

Comings and Goings in Céret….. Julie Roussel Cros & Laetitia Roussel

Two sisters, having fallen under the charm of the Vallespir capital, transport the reader back to XVII century Céret. Follow Matthieu Barbet, a Parisian police officer brought to Céret to investigate poisoned bonnets. Discover the town as it was back in 1673. Those in the know will also enjoy recognising local references such as the magnificent Canigou, Perpignan, Le Boulou, the Fontaine des Neuf Jets, le pont du Diable, les bruixas and more.

A fun and light-hearted way to (re)discover the history of the region.

Buy it directly from the authors here.

Love and War in the Pyrenees…..Rosemary Bailey

It was a tattered pair of roped soled espadrilles hanging in the St Laurent museum that initially sparked Rosemary’s curiosity. They had belonged to one of the men who helped the refugees escaping Franco’s forces at the end of the Spanish Civil War and now she felt an immediate need to know more of the recent history of her adopted second home. The resulting book uncovers love, brutality and conflicting loyalties of war. A brilliantly written record of a dark period in the history of the Pyrenees Orientales

Find out more here.

Buy it here.

Shepherd’s Prayer…..Katja Willemsen

Having run from a marriage proposal in London to the history-steeped Pyrenees, Raisin Radcliffe is visited by her estranged brother, Geoffrey. Together, they explore the labyrinthine caves in the scenic hills behind Collioure, and the secrets of their traumatic childhood begin to unravel before them, with shocking consequences.

Many of the locations are real and can be explored.

Buy it here.

Noire Côte Vermeille…..Gildas Girodeau

Catalan investigator Paul Feder just can’t say no to a lady in distress. Follow the adventures of Gildas Girodeau’s likeable detective, set in his native Catalonia. Sympathetically written in a style that will appeal to intermediate French learners.

Buy it here.

Blackbirds Baked in a Pie…..Eugene Barter

At the age of sixty, Eugene Barter buys a rambling house with uninterrupted views of Mount Canigou, and turns it into an auberge called Rozinante, after Don Quixote’s mule. Obstacles a-plenty: an eccentric water pump, a drainpipe-climbing guest, forest fires licking up the slopes towards Rozinante, language challenges……A cheeky, spirited and entertaining account of rural life in the P.0.

Buy it here.

A Light Shines in Darkness….Elizabeth Hurst

Although the story is not set here, author Elizabeth Hurst is a new arrival in the P-O region (Saint Génis des Fontaines). She has published 3 novels to date. The latest is about Italian noblewoman Angelina Angioballi, who has sworn a vow of chastity to continue serving the poor and avoid a loveless political marriage that is the plight of other women in her life. As her charitable mission grows in popularity, Angelina seeks the support of the Church, but even the Holy See is not immune from corruption.

Find out more here.

Buy it here.

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Welcome to the P-O Life book club, an easy place to find all our book reviews. Some are from local authors, some specifically about France and the P-O, and others just books that readers have enjoyed and recommended. Pop in regularly as we add new reviews.


  1. Hi Kate,

    I quite understand.
    However, I’ll contact Laura, just in case.
    Best wishes

  2. Hi, a long shot, perhaps, but I’m just wondering if my novel, Danny Boy (HarperCollins), which came out this year might be of interest? No strong link to P&O, save for the fact that we’ve had an apartment in Argelès for 23 years and much of the book was written there.

    Every good wish

    Barry Walsh.

    1. Hi Barry
      It’s a bit difficult as we do try and stick as closely as possible to P-O related content or we could end up anywhere….but final decision goes to Laura. Drop her a mail on and see what she has to say 🙂

  3. I tried to sign up for the Book Club Newsletter but the link doesn’t work.

    1. Ah yes. We’re ‘renovating’ so for now, everything books will go out in general newsletter. Thanks for joining us.

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