Troubador Chickens Eat Pasta

Released: 28/07/2015

ISBN: 9781784623517

eISBN: 9781784629991

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Chickens Eat Pasta

Escape to Umbria


Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy. Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does. Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.

Audiobook version of Chickens Eat Pasta released, read by Colleen MacMahon
You can listen to a sample and/or purchase the audiobook on

Royalties donated to Italy earthquake victims
I am donating one month's royalties of Chickens Eat Pasta: Escape to Umbria to the fund for the earthquake that struck this part of central Italy on August 24 2016 with massive loss of life and destruction. The money will go to the Italian Red Cross, one of the first relief organizations to respond and which continues to provide on-the-ground emergency care. Please support this work by buying a copy of Chickens Eat Pasta before the end of September. These people have lost everything and they need your help.

First book review:

This is a lovely book about an unplanned adventure in one of the world's most romantic places. It is beautifully written with charm, intelligence and humour and I found it hugely evocative of both time and place. It has the narrative pace of a novel - with some challenging time shifts to stop the reader getting lazy! - but the heart and painful honesty of a genuinely true story. I loved it.

by Colleen MacMahon

Second print
In September 2015, less than 2 months after publication, Chickens Eat Pasta goes for a reprint!

Third print
In February 2016, less than 6 months after publication, Chickens Eat Pasta goes for a second reprint!

Finalist in book award
In February 2016, Chickens Eat Pasta is nominated as a finalist in the Wishing Shelf book award (adult non-fiction category).

To read the story behind Chickens Eat Pasta and life in this beautiful part of Italy, visit this blog:

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The American

This is a lovely book about an unplanned adventure in one of the world's most romantic places. It is beautifully written with charm, intelligence and humour and I found it hugely evocative of both time and place. It has the narrative pace of a novel - with some challenging time shifts to stop the reader getting lazy! - but the heart and painful honesty of a genuinely true story. I loved it.

by Colleen MacMahon

I rarely find books that captivate me from the moment I see the cover, but I just had to read this one.

You see, I’ve stayed in that house by the village in Umbria where Chickens Eat Pasta, many years ago and without invitation really. It was all quite a surprise for our hostess too, with a couple of travellers turning up out of the blue. Yet before she had even returned from another hot day in Rome we had been invited into the homes of other complete strangers and made to feel so welcome in the curious surroundings of a little village stuck to a hillside.

For more than a week we immersed ourselves in the life that this book recounts so vividly. Each character which Clare so simply yet perfectly describes reveals the rich diversity of humanity that exists even within a single tiny Umbrian community. The landscapes come alive from accounts of hazy hills and sparkling lakes to stories of journeys in her little Cinquecento along the winding roads.

Clare's humorous tales of her struggle to make a home from a crumbling wreck in a land so full of custom and to make a new life where the culture is so at odds with the English way are wonderfully conveyed. True friends emerge to help her on her journey from heartache and loss to find love, all described with such genuine frankness.

And then of course there is the food! If you have ever been to that part of Italy you will know that food is so much part of life. The detailed descriptions of the sublime offerings that accompany every occasion run like a theme through her account and keep one eager for the next opportunity to reminisce about another Umbrian delight.

A thoroughly enjoyable read of a beautifully crafted book.

by John Burdett

I loved this book, a beautiful romance set in an area I have visited, bringing to light all sorts of highlights from the area and its wonderful people. Chickens Eat Pasta - I consumed this book, with relish.

by Jane Stone

An elegiac and at time hilarious account of expat life and love. All those who have enjoyed Clare and Mario's delicious hospitality will recognise this affectionate description of their old stone house and the ancient Umbrian hill town in which it stands. And all those who have stayed or lived in Italy will recognise the culture clashes and the mutual incomprehension. A delightful read, warmly recommended.

by Martin Westlake

I read this in a single sitting. The author calls on her considerable journalistic skills to a bring a whole Umbrian village to life through wonderfully sharp characterisation and brilliant use of dialogue. Yet Chickens Eat pasta is much more than this - charting Clare's singleminded journey from a British newsroom to a semi-derelict pile on top of a remote Italian mountainside. It is also a beguiling love story told with poignancy and humour.
A first class read.

by Halina Kierkuc

Recommended by a friend, I utterly loved this wonderful book and was mesmerised by its fabulous characters whose lives I constantly yearned to keep reading about. Beautifully and sensitively written it was simply impossible to put down. The book seemed to transport one into the rustic Umbrian countryside stimulating the senses to the unique sights, sounds and fragrances not to mention experiencing what I'd describe as a kind of virtual taste phenomenon from the descriptions of the delicious local food.

A classic read which is destined for international best seller status and I can't wait for the inevitable film version when it's announced. Don’t miss this Book or read it on an empty stomach !

by James Cameron

A delightful read, couldn't put it down. Beautifully written and a great insight into the Italian village life; all so true !

by Christine Chauvin

A charming, feel-good read about following your heart. Wherever it leads! I couldn't put it down. The perfect gift for that person in your life who loves travel, Italy, or needs inspiration to kickstart her own courageous journey.

by Amanda Howland

A wonderful read packed full of characters, many of whom come straight out of a Fellini film... including l'inglese Clare herself, whose love and affinity for her adopted home shines through on every page. Highly recommend!

by Dana Facaros

If you know Umbria, reading this book will be to enjoy a glass of wine and a plate of local cuisine with an old friend. If not, then it will amuse, inform and delight in equal measure. I loved it.

by David Dempster

I loved this book, and for so many reasons. Clare is a very old friend so of course I very much wanted and hoped to like it. Needless to say, I shouldn't have worried, because it really is a fabulous read, and one I would recommend to anyone, not only those with a love for Italy and all things Italian. In fact, having read my own copy which I enjoyed so much, I then ordered several additional copies for friends whom I knew would also love and appreciate it!

There is so much to say - Firstly What a brave person to leave the UK at such a young age for what most of her nearest and dearest clearly thought a foolhardy wild goose (or chicken) chase!
I feel that Clare's strength of character, her humour, her insight and her growing love and empathy for what she discovered in Umbria shines through on every page.

This book is a 'page-turner' and reads like a novel with its impeccable narrative flow. It is also original, informative, and entertaining. it made me not only very much want to visit her Umbria, to meet and get to know many of the colourful and wonderfully described local characters, but it also made me really think (mostly about our cultural similarities and differences). Clare pinpoints with great lightness of touch the subtleties of these and what I particularly love is how she 'fits in' fully embracing life in San Massano whilst at the same time recognising how she will always be 'different' in almost intangible ways, which is described with such warmth and wit.

Read this memoir, it is a wonderful and happy true story unfolding in what is clearly a magical place, and I can't wait to visit San Massano for myself

by Louise Olivier

5 out of 5 stars:

At first this book reads like any other modern 'escape to another country' . It is only as the story progresses that you realise it is much more than that with a captivating tale of real life in Italy & not just another glossy magazine story of finding love doing up a renovation project. The description of the area is captivating and the characters are enchanting but a true joy to read how real life can be harder than you think but still have a happy ending sometimes.

by Julie C

4 out of 5 stars

This is a thoroughly enchanting and easy read. I have lived the expat life and a few of the stories brought a smile to my face as they so accurately represent a culture so similar and yet so different. Although this change of life direction scenario has been done to death, this book brings a fresh take to it. It is not high fiction of any description, but is beautifully written and poignant. It is a perfect summer read, particularly if the summer weather has been indifferent as is has this year (2015) in the UK.

by Julie Quick

What a triumph. I loved this book. Clare's story is captivating, warm and charming. A chronicle of family, food and friendship - a romantic masterpiece written by a very gifted wordsmith.

by Kent Haworth

Set in Italy she gets a job in Rome has a correspondent for a European Editor after finding herself in the position of living a bored fruitless life so following her instincts and making conscious choices she pursues her dream of living in Italy and purchase a run down cosy house, where chickens eat pasta., and finds that living the dream has two meanings.

by Pam Thomas

4 out of 5 stars

A delightful story of life in Umbria Italy that made this reader want to book a flight! . This is a well written story of a young English women who finds her life unsatisfying and boring. She decides to buy a villa in Umbria and all that ensues after is what makes this book great reading. The culture, the food, the characters all seamlessly guide you through Italy as if you were there. It was great fun to read her successes and her difficulties exploring how life differs from England to Italy. As always Italy is the star here and Italy never disappoints this reader. I was entranced by the author's descriptions throughout. Very nicely done! I highly recommend Chickens Eat Pasta! Thank you Troubadour Publishing for the advance reading copy.

by Lori Reed

Title: Chickens Eat Pasta, Escape to Umbria
Author: Clare Pedrick
Star Rating: 5 Stars
‘Firstly, excellent cover. Secondly, fab book. After reading it I wanted to book a flight to Italy and enjoy the wonderful food, wine and scenery.’

by Female reader, aged 45, jury of Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2015

Such a sweet love story and the setting is perfect. The author offers the reader a good balance of interesting characters and cultural setting. I loved the title and the cover too. It’s such a warm, fuzzy sort of story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

by Female reader, aged 39, Jury of Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2015

I read this over three nights with my husband snoring next to me. So I had a lot of sympathy for her! A very easy book to get lost in. The writing style is light, perfect for this genre. I was just saddened to see there’s no other books by her. Get writing!

by Female reader, aged 50, Jury of Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2015

Perfect for a cold night. Wrap up warm, open a bottle of wine and enjoy

by Female reader, aged 51, Juror of Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2015

A wonderfully sweet love story written with a magical pen. A FINALIST and highly recommended.

by The Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2015 (Finalist)

4 out of 5 stars

Chicken Eats Pasta was a really engaging read. I have read a lot of travelogues and memoirs about moving abroad, specifically Italy; many focus on observations. I enjoyed Clare's perspective, which focused much more on her own experiences. The pro and con list that runs throughout most of the book was a nice plot device, though I think at times it could have been utilized more. Additionally I enjoyed the realism of her story. She did not over develop or exaggerate her neighbors and friends. Having lived in Italy myself, I found it refreshing that she didn't romanticize the experience.

My only criticism is the number of times Italian words and phrases were not translated. If you can't read Italian I imagine it's a little frustrating.

by Courtney Feild

Having met Clare on a riding holiday in Umbria I already knew a little of Clare's move to Umbria so I was interested in reading the full account when I head Clare had written Chickens Eat Pasta. The story itself is a great tale about someone who completely changes their life. The narrative style means that you really feel you know all the characters very well and feel that you yourself live in Umbria amongst them. A word of warning though: if you enjoy Italian food and wine dont read this when you are hungry unless of course you want to build up an appetite! Cant spoil the plot so will close by saying I recommend this book to anyone who loves the Italian way of life and who enjoys a tale about someone who has encountered both highs and lows in changing their life.

by Colin Whickman

Clare Pedrick

CLARE PEDRICK is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.

Clare Pedrick and the house she bought as an old ruin
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