Book Review: Beginning French

They Bought a Farmhouse in France: Then ‘took leave of their senses’.

Les Americains” the Lessons from a Stone Farmhouse”.

The Aquitaine region of France is a unique and beautiful area east of Bordeaux. Rolling hills and country roads, small towns and markets complete with a host of friendly characters. Eileen is industrious and can do when things go wrong. Marty is the witty soul of the team keeping everyone in good spirits. Good thing, as buying that dream farmhouse was only easy, at first.

Enjoying the Regional Specialties: Recipes Included.

As you read about the adventures in the French countryside, you can enjoy the food as well. Sara, Marty and Elaine’s daughter is a talented chef who cooks in the kitchen for small dinners to groups. The recipes are worth a try and easy to create in your own kitchen using some things from gourmet markets or from the California region (Marty and Elaine’s home state). Roasted figs with Goat Cheese, Onion Soup, Lemon Tartes and many more delicious recipes are woven into the narrative of their experiences.

Boodles and Bingo the Traveling Pugs

One of my favorite sections of the book is the traveling adventures of Marty and Elaine’s pug dogs. Getting them to France was a full operation. First, the dogs land in the airport at Charles De Gaulle with all the paperwork. A train ride complete with bags and dog treats, medicines and leashes is next. Fortunately, the French happen to love dogs and they are welcome just about everywhere. Seeing a dog on a cafe chair, dressed in a rhinestone collar is not unusual in Paris (one of the charming scenes in the book). Many animals that crawl into the house, plop into the pool and live in the gardens around the farmhouse and add the flavor and color of the region.

Farmhouse Adventures: How do you get the Frogs out of the Pool?

The narrative of the book takes you through several years of the renovation and repairs of an old French farmhouse. A hilarious and expensive set of repairs awaits them. Exploding water heaters, cracking walls and collapsing floorboards tests their marriage (it survives). The sunsets in the French countryside make it all worthwhile. As they close down the house for the winter, you feel a sense of sadness as the summer ends.