The French House: A quirky and inspiring memoir about turning a ruin into a home
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"On a tiny French island, a couple of American dreamers redefine their lives by restoring a ruin...The French House moves to a soulful, very funny rhythm all its own."-Meryl Streep
Don and Mindy Wallace have always been Francophiles, so when they had the opportunity to buy a home on a small French island off the coast of Brittany, they jumped-sight unseen-into a crumbling mess that challenged their finances and their family.
But when the Wallaces arrived on the island they found 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, Don and Mindy could have accepted their fate. Instead, they embraced it.
Redolent with the beauty and flavors of French country life, The French House is a lively, inspiring, and irresistibly charming memoir. Fans of Under the Tuscan Sun (Frances Mayes), Paris in Love (Eloisa James), and A Year in Provence (Peter Mayle) will be enchanted by this account of a family that rises from the rubble, wins the hearts of a historic village, and finally finds the home they've been seeking off the wild coast of France.
What readers are saying about The French House
"The French House is engaging and well-written and will make even non-Francophiles yearn for a trip to France."
"With hauntingly beautiful descriptions of a tiny French island and its inhabitants, this book will take you to a different place, and might even inspire you to reconsider your life and finally follow your dreams where you and your family can become whole."
"...charming and witty -- full of hope and despair about this crumbling structure they chose to inhabit and make a home."
"I was captivated from the outset and felt like I was on their island living it all with them. A great read!"
What reviewers are saying about The French House
"Don Wallace has crafted a delicious French bonbon of a book...full of humor, hope, and lessons on how to live a life full of meaning."-Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of Devotion and Still Writing
"Village life vignettes, the sensual celebration of island pleasures, eccentric neighbors, cuisine, beach life, natural history-readers will find a smattering of all that in these pages, but it's the story below, like the unshakeable foundations of the house itself, that makes this such a satisfying read."-Rain Taxi Review
"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...It was a lovely adventure and perfect for a summer read."-Under a Gray Sky
"The French House is a detailed, delightful memoir of their journey to restore a dilapidated abode into a beckoning sanctuary in an idyllic coast French countryside.. I have thoroughly been devouring it, and I think you will too."-The Simply Luxurious Life
"Author Don Wallace shares the heartwarming story about his family's 30-year journey to restore a ruined cottage on the tiny French island of Belle Ile off the coast of Brittany... readers are privy to the charming true story of a family's journey to create the perfect home away from home."--E! News
gone to study. There was a family connection to the Magyars; we are part Hungarian.” He smiled as if that explained something. “She was absolutely controlled by her parents and terrified in particular of disappointing her father. But of course she already had, by not being the son he’d always wanted. Right? And when she got to Budapest, well, she went a little wild.” The comparison to Mindy’s mother at college, away from Hawaii for the first time in her life, must’ve popped into Mindy’s and my
such as open faucets flooding the upstairs. But perhaps you’re not here yet. Perhaps you’re reading ahead (recommended) or else, like us thirty years ago, you’ve arrived to find yourself standing in the middle of a rural village without any idea of where you are and searching for a cottage you must locate without a street sign or house number in sight. If the latter, here’s hoping you stashed these instructions in a place where they can easily be found. Because you’ll need them. Finding the
making the best of it. Maybe she was just biding her time before laying into me in private. I’d deserve it. But I needed to know. The suspense was killing me. Just as I was about to launch into a mea culpa, Gwened turned sharply away. The grinding of gears came from down the lane, and a moment later the dull nose of a weathered Citroën truck appeared. It swung toward us, squeezing slowly between hydrangeas, rocking in the deep ruts. Behind the wheel: Denny the Dreamer. Who turned out to be tall
second caving in to the host’s supplication. It was a kind of passive-aggressive dance that honored both parties in the transaction. Both parties understood you would eventually accept the offer of coffee. Both knew you wouldn’t mind a sweet. But you didn’t want to seem too eager, in case your host was in tight circumstances. Perhaps she didn’t really have any lump sugar! Truly, it would be a terrible person who would take her host’s last lump of sugar, or worse, reveal that she had none. The
Mindy, laughing at Anne’s wicked mispronunciation of our island’s most picturesque restaurant. “Pronounced far, meaning lighthouse.” “Wait! Then what’s that dessert we had at Hôtel du Pharrrrt?” “Far Breton.” “Lighthouse cake?” “Noooo…” Anne was having such a good time mangling the language that it actually made me jealous. Normally that was my gig. At dinner at the Hôtel du Phare she’d feigned confusion at every menu choice, fruites des mer becoming “fruit of a female horse” instead of a