Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
In my latest book, What Happens in the Alps, you meet Annie. She’s decided to set up her own business, and it’s the language business. To those of us used to the state providing education, it may seem strange at first to think of the teaching of English as being a business, but it most certainly is. I spent all of my working life in TEFL, that’s Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it is big, big business all over the world. Annie’s new venture is based very closely on my experiences of setting up and running English language schools in Italy.
The fact that you are reading this in English means that you have either somehow strayed onto the wrong blog, or you already speak English. The fact is that the vast majority of the world does not. However, the main language of international communication is, without question, English, whether you are a Chinese manufacturer looking to expand your customer base, a Chilean wine producer, looking to increase your market share or a poor, desperate Syrian migrant washed up on a Greek island. In consequence, Annie’s decision to open a private language school isn’t as crazy as it might sound. There’s money to be made in education. I once heard English language teaching described as being, “As good as prostitution”. When I quizzed them about this, I was told. ‘Think of it like this. You’ve got it. You sell it. You’ve still got it. What’s not to like about that kind of business?”
Annie’s trials and tribulations as she sets up her school from scratch make up the background to What Happens in the Alps. She has had a hard time of it over the past few years and she has now decided to make a fresh start. How many of us haven’t had that same idea at some time in our lives, but haven’t done anything about it? It takes guts and determination to go it alone, but Annie’s got guts. She’s on her own now, after the tragic death of her mountain-climbing husband, and it isn’t easy. She has borrowed from the bank and invested all her savings in this venture and it has to succeed. It’s tough, it’s stressful, and it’s very risky.
Luckily, life isn’t all work for her. She lives only a fifteen minute drive from a magnificent ski area and she’s a very keen, and a very good, skier. When life gets on top of her, she clips on her skis and heads out onto the slopes. Up there she’s got clean air, magnificent views, wonderful fresh snow and the chance to clear her head and start to enjoy life once again after some very tough years. And it’s up there that she meets the gorgeous Leo, with his big brown eyes, shiny back hair and terrible bad breath. That’s right, Leo is a black Labrador and she falls in love with him at first sight. That’s only the start of her romantic journey and I won’t spoil it for you.
In What Happens in the Alps, I’ve tried to convey to you my love of the mountains and of that part of the stunning Italian Alps in particular. I’ve tried to show you what the place looks like, what the food tastes like, and what the people sound like. Although it’s definitely Alpine, this area is also unmistakably Italian with the good food, great wine and the friendly hospitality the Italians always offered me when I lived there. If they ever get round to inventing time travel, then I’m going straight back there. I hope very much you enjoy the story and the description of one of my favourite places on earth.
This book is available from a variety of sources including:
Many thanks to Trevor for this look behind the scenes Guest Post!
I’m participating in the Blog Tour for ‘What Happens in the Alps…’ – to read my 5* review of this delightful novel and an excerpt from it, together with more information about the book, Trevor and find out where to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway associated with the tour, visit this post.
Other books I’ve read and reviewed by this author include: