Greetings dear readers and friends. I hope you’re all safe and well in your corner of the world. Well, it’s an exciting day on the blog. What could be better than an escape to France at the moment? Even a virtual one… I had the pleasure of reading the delightful travel memoir / ultimate escape book, My French Platter, by Annemarie Rawson, and I’m thrilled to share it with you. Stuck at home myself, it was a great way to do some armchair travel and live vicariously through Annemarie’s French adventures.
Living a comfortable life in New Zealand, Annemarie gets itching to try something she’s always dreamed of… living and working in France. With no shortage of courage, and an impressive background in business and design, Annemarie applies to manage a private country home in southern France. Excited, overwhelmed, and filled with doubts, she garners the support of her husband, Steve, and decides to accept an offer to manage a stately, elegant home in the countryside about 45 minutes from Toulouse. Or so she thinks…
Between spotty communication with the London-based owners, and a home which, while beautiful on the outside, has layers of grime and dust that would make even the saltiest Frenchman weep, the couple’s arrival at the farmhouse leaves a lot to be desired. Not one to throw in the towel, Annemarie and Steve roll up their sleeves and begin fashioning their new digs into a proper holiday home. Scrubbing the kitchen bare, and enlisting the help of a friend’s cousin, who happens to be a chef in Montpellier, Annemarie learns the essence of hospitality work. Steve busies himself in the vegetable garden, and takes his high school French to the next level – helping the couple make friends with locals and navigate home improvements (no easy feat in any language!).
What starts out as a bumpy road for the pair, turns into an unforgettable adventure. Annemarie and Steve experience the sights and sounds of the bustling French farmers markets, visit beautifully-preserved medieval towns and villages, and learn to savor every minute of the sunwashed, southern France lifestyle. Annemarie becomes quite a whizz in the kitchen, garnering compliments from holiday guests (she’s included a sampling of French recipes at the end of the book), and the couple enjoys lively dinner parties with their new circle of friends.
Unfortunately for the couple, one of the owners turns out to be quite a pest, to put it kindly, and sends the couple packing with no notice and no explanation. Crestfallen, but not beaten, Annemarie vows not to give up on her French dream just yet. After a dreamy trip down to Provence and Tuscany, Italy for a much-needed break, Annemarie and Steve are completely swept off their feet by an offer to manage a magnifient estate property. And it turns out, this is the real deal. The dream property Annemarie had been longing to find.
Thus the couple’s next chapter in France begins, which we’ll all be eagerly awaiting in Annemarie’s follow-up book: My French Platter Replenished. Just lovely!
-My French Platter on Amazon
-Annemarie Rawson’s website and blog
To enter to win an e-book copy of My French Platter, please leave a comment below and tell us about your ultimate travel escape fantasy – to France or another destination.
One winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) on Saturday, November 28th at 12:00pm EST.
Thank you for your participation and bonne chance, good luck les amis!