Writer: Ruth Silvestre
Publisher: Allison & Busby Limited (1991)
Pages: 279 p
Gift from Mei
Ruth Silvestre is an actress who lives in London with her family. Between her works and life, she always has one dream: to have a house in Southern France for her holiday. She has done house hunting with her husband, Mike, from villages to villages, until one day, they came across one old house that has been deserted for ten years: Bel-Air de Grezelongue.
This book is about Ruth and her family’s journey to restore the house bit by bit as a second home for them. What sounds like a little boring story, turns out very interesting and touchy instead, probably because Ruth could portray the process in the beautiful language. From changing the roofs and tiles, adding a room and cleaning up the attic that is filled with old treasures, Ruth Silvestre could make the readers feel and imagine the dream house starts to appear as a whole part.
What makes the book more captivating is the different culture between British and French people that Ruth explains in details, especially related to food and eating. French people are so fond of food, even the lunch could last for hours and hours. Ruth has wonderful neighbors, one of them is a family, The Bertrands, who loves to invite the inhabitants of Bel Air for lunch or dinner, with some irresistible French menus.
The other interesting thing is how Ruth tries to solve the puzzle of the previous owner of the house, Anais and Alais, from letters and stuff she found in the attic. To see the lifes from olden days is a very amazing experience indeed.
This kind of book is usually not my cup of tea. But thanks to Mei, who just got back for good from France and gave me this book, I enjoyed a different experience that I haven’t imagined before (just as I enjoyed our rendezvous in Starbucks, wish we could do that again someday!). I also just found out that this book has two more sequels, still about the house and its inhabitants, with their ups and downs. I wish I could read them someday.
I also read this book as a part of Twenty Ten Challenge, for Who Are You Again? category.