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The Valley of Heaven and Hell: Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette by Susie Kelly

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A Book Review by Melissa McCurley

The Valley of Heaven and Hell: Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette by Susie Kelly If you are the kind of cyclist who looks forward to riding 25 miles or more several times a week from spring through fall—and maybe even longer on weekends—the idea of a three-week cycling vacation in France is probably enough to make you belt out a show tune, perhaps “The Night They Invented Champagne” from Gigi. But if your spouse is a reluctant participant in this venture, he or she may be singing a different tune. The book, The Valley of Heaven and Hell: Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette by Susie Kelly, is told from the perspective of just such a spouse.
Susie Kelly and her husband decide to travel a route that roughly duplicates the one taken by Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI on their ill-fated attempt to escape the French Revolution. Since Susie recalls even childhood cycling in the most disagreeable terms and has only had aches and pains increas…