My Inspiration Booklist: 4 mini book reviews
Would you do it? Mary tells us her personal story of leaving family and husband to spend six months alone in France in her fiftieth year. This was done partly in memory of her mother and partly as a choice to ‘claim six months for (her)self’ to journey alone and find herself.
Mary first stays with her friend Jock but as soon as a small studio apartment behind a shop in Ville-franche-du-Périgord becomes available, she sets up house there. Mary eloquently describes Jock, his circle of friends and their escapades with humour and understanding. This group of oddly matched but loyal ex-pats and locals are Mary’s main circle of acquaintances during her stay.
This book was the first I read that truly showcased the different approach the French have to life and the slow enjoyment of its pleasures. This book had me thinking of how much I should like to experience all the idiosincrqocies and time honoured traditions of French village life. Many other books telling a similar story have been written since this one was published in 2001 but I think it is a timeless story and it certainly started my journey.
French Essence by Vicki Archer
Vicki Archer’s earlier book My French Life captured her love affair with France and Paris and shared it with the world. My love affair with Paris was first fuelled by this book and then also by her later book French Essence. Her book My French Life is full of sumptuous photos, scenes of Paris and its stylish surrounds.
Her later book French Essence continues her love affair with France and in particular Provence. Evocative images of the country and her beautiful home Mas de Berard are so beautifully captured by Carla Coulson you can sit and daydream about living her life even if just for a little while. You can see the quality of Coulson’s work from my above photos of pages from my book.
These two books are my daydream books as they present a life style much more glamorous than my own.
The Accidental Renovator by Barbara Biggs
How do you accidentally buy a Paris apartment? Biggs gives honest details about buying an apartment that needs renovating, not having enough money, and being taken advantage of by locals. This is where Barbara’s life starts in this ‘true story of recklessness and romance’.
It does get better as things come together in a way not expected and Parisian life opens up for her. This story, told with its simple details gave me an appreciation of the difference in the French and Australian work culture and ethics, confirmed for me that I would not undertake a renovation project; no matter how enticing the purchase price or location was. I thought about it and decided I would not be prepared to work during our relatively brief holidays with three young children in tow and little command of the French language. I was prepared to undertake small projects and handle inconveniences but a full renovation was not for us.
So with this entertaining and enlightening read, yet another important decision had been made – I narrowed down my ideas on what type of home I would look for and the level of commitment needed. A great read and thoroughly entertaining.
At My French Table by Jane Webster
Chateau de Bosgouet is the home and business location of Jane Webster, a Melburnian francophile who followed her dream and relocated her family from Melbourne to Normandy, France where she started a cooking school. Her two books At My French Table and Family Ties are full of family adventure stories, gorgeous photos documenting the changing seasons of France, surrounding village life, and scrumptious recipes.
I find the recipes easy to follow and they have always delighted my family and guests. This is a great book for helping you think outside your immediate possibilities. When others take on their dream, tackle a challenge and succeed it is always inspiring. This I think has been stylishly done by Jane Webster. I read all I could about her family, subscribed to her newsletters, taking inspiration from a fellow Australian. I really recommend both At My French Table and Family Ties.
So, while there are many books similar to the ones I have read and reviewed, these were the ones that inspired me (as featured in my post My Story #1: It has to be France). I hope you also find them entertaining, inspiring and informative. Do you have another favourite? What has inspired you to travel to France?
Till next time Annette Xx
This post My Inspirational Booklist first appeared on afrenchcollection and is linked with #AllAboutFrance with the talented Phoebe of Lou Messugo. Below are links to Amazon if you are interested in finding a copy of these books for yourself and the link to our Disclosure Statement