Jean Roberts is an author very local to me so I was really excited to review this A Kiss Behind The Castanets – you can also hear our special episode of Writer’s Block where I discuss her first travel memoir alongside her here.
When Jean buys a house in Spain following a breakdown, she dreams of vibrant Spanish art, passionate flamenco, and cocktails at sunset. Her glorified image of life abroad is crushed as she battles rogue tradesmen and vicious local wildlife.
From stalking a neighbour to encountering trees with testicles, will she weather the storms of expat life or wish she had never left the UK?
A Kiss Behind the Castanets is the first instalment of Jean Roberts’s lighthearted and uplifting tale in her Moving to Spain series.
Perfect for fans of Victoria Twead, Chris Stewart, and Alan Parks.
(Taken from Goodreads)
I was so excited to read A Kiss Behind The Castanets, not only because Jean Roberts is local to me but also as I plan to move to a Spanish country in the near future. The book follows her journey from the reasons why she’d decided to move out there following negative experiences at work to getting settled in. We see her live in a few different properties throughout that journey, and a whole string of crazy events that take place, from dodgy builders to bizarre neighbours (and some particularly violent chickens – that chapter really made me laugh).
Each chapter focuses on a different situation, so it makes for a nice read to dip in and out of. I loved the little icons featured at the start of the chapter – each slightly different and relevant to the content of that chapter, but it gave the book a really original feel. Some chapters explore some quite frustrating and disheartening events, however Jean’s sense of humour shines through and she wraps up each chapter with a win, keeping it quite a positive read. It’s fascinating to follow her on her journey and also discover the Spanish mainland culture from someone who has thrown themselves right into it with little knowledge or acquisition from the start.
As a travel memoir it also makes a highly useful read for anyone looking to move out there themselves – Jean’s writing has illustrated to me several dangers of becoming an expat, but also how to resolve them if they happen or avoid them altogether. The book taught me a lot, not only about the cultural issues that one might encounter but also how the moving process actually works, and how different it is to here in the UK.
I also loved the inclusion of recipes at the back – being a bit of a foodie myself, I’ve now got a whole collection of gorgeous-sounding Spanish recipes to try out. It’s a wonderful way to include even more culture in the book, and allows the reader to share Jean’s experiences through food.
I can honestly say that I really enjoyed A Kiss Behind The Castanets – Jean Roberts has a lovely, easy to read writing style that brings her Spanish experiences to life. I’m looking forward to the next instalment, and think this is a great purchase not only for those looking to move to Spain but anyone else who enjoys travel memoirs and perhaps has an interest in Spanish culture.
If you’d like to purchase A Kiss Behind The Castanets by Jean Roberts then you can do so here:
Jean Roberts is a retired social worker and a cautiously negative optimist. She is married with two grown-up children and a small tribe of grandchildren. She spends her time between her home in Essex and her happy place in Spain.
Jean began writing as a child and continued through her adult life and her career. ‘A Kiss Behind the Castanets’ moving to Spain, is her first published book and is a light hearted look into her journey from a forced early retirement through to choosing, buying, and renovating a house in Spain, and into falling in love with a country, its people, its culture, and, ultimately, falling in love with life itself.
(Taken from Jean’s website)
If you enjoyed this post then please don’t forget to like, pin, and leave a comment! For another great travel book, check out this review of Culture Smart! Colombia. You can read some of my other non-fiction book reviews here:
***This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase the product using the link then I get paid at no extra cost to you. I only provide links to products I really enjoy, so you can be assured that it’s a positive recommendation from me!***