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Book Review: The French House

Title:   The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All
Author:   Don Wallace
Genre:   Memoir/Non-Fiction/Travel
Source:   Pulisher/Netgalley
Rating:  4
Locate It:  Amazon or  Powell’s


When life gives you lemons, make citron pressé

When Francophiles Don and Mindy Wallace received an offer for a house on a tiny French island, they jumped at the chance, buying it almost sight unseen. What they found when they arrived was a building in ruin, and it wasn’t long before their lives resembled it. Plagued by emergency repairs, a stock market crash, and very exasperated French neighbors, the Wallace’s could have accepted their fate. Instead, they embraced it. The French House is the delightfully amusing and picturesque memoir about a family who seized life, rose from the rubble, and built themselves a home away from home.


My Thoughts:

I’m sure that I am not the only person who has fantasized about living abroad.  I’m not just talking about an extended vacation but something more like the adventure the Wallace family found themselves on when they purchased a crumbling ruin of a “maison” on the Belle Isle.  Wallace shares the path that led he and his wife to impulsively purchase their small home and the many struggles it took to rebuild the cottage.

The French House is a darling book that mixes local history, memoir, quirky characters, architectural challenges (what will the village elders do if they add windows to the second floor?) and humor.   I do recommend this book.  It was a lovely adventure and perfect for a summer read (although I could also see enjoying it bundled up on a cold winter day as well).  The French House is a book that I will probably read again and again.

*I received a digital copy of this book via the Publisher & Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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