Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I guess it all started for me back in the late 1980's with Peter Mayle's A YEAR IN PROVENCE. I was enchanted, addicted to the genre and have since read a steady stream of books by ex-pat Brits, Americans, Aussies and others writing about their experiences of heading off to some gorgeous place, usually but not exclusively in France or Italy, where they convert a house or farm and live happily ever after.
I must say that almsot without exception I have enjoyed these books.

Now a new standard for the "ex-pat makes good genre" has been set by Vicki Archer and Carla Coulson with their breathtakingly beautiful book, MY FRENCH LIFE, published under Penguin Australia's impressive Lantern imprint of which I wrote last week.

Vicki and her husband and three kids fulfilled a lifelong dream when they bought and restored a seventeenth century farmhouse in Saint-Remy de Provence. They also restored abandoned orchards, planted an olive grove with more than 2000 trees and along the way fell in love with all things French.

She has now told her story and, along with friend Carla Coulson, who provided the magnificent photographs, and the design skills of those clever folks at Lantern, the result is quite something to behold.

It is large and luscious and from the appealing jacket to the padded cover, from the beautiful end-papers to the absorbing text and hundreds of mouth-watering pics, this is a book that once you pick up you will not want to put down.

It is the winner of the inaugural Beattie's Book Blog Non-Fiction Title of the Year Award.
Have a look at it, you will not be disappointed.

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