Saturday, May 2, 2009

Book Review: My French Life

Lately I haven't had as much time to read as I normally do and the pile of books beside my bed is getting higher. And yet, when I saw this book perched up high on a shelf in my favourite independent bookstore, I just knew that My French Life would be my next book.

The name of the author on the cover looked strangely familiar and it took me a few minutes to make the connection. Could this be the same Vicki Archer who writes a blog called "French Essence"????? It was!

As soon as I opened the cover, I felt like I was transported to the south of France with Vicki telling me the story of how she came to be the owner of a seventeenth-century property in Saint-Remy-de-Provence.

Reading this is a beautifully written book was an absolute delight. Vicki Archer has an elegant way with words, creating descriptions and scenes that are both captivating and charming.

"Each morning as I leave for the boulangerie I promise myself today is the day to avoid temptation. A block away and the smell of freshly baked bread is enough to weaken my resolve. Unsurprisingly my baguette order swells to include croissant, brioche and pain au raisin or pain au chocolate....When I hear Marie's Provencal accent importing, 'Un petit gout' (a tiny taste), and asking what else I would like ensuite, ensuite (next, next), I am lost." (page 94)

Not to be overlooked are the opulent photographs by Carla Coulson that accompany Vicki's story. They are exquisitely composed in black and white as well as colour. These magnificent photos have style, energy and joie de vive. In fact, I'd have to say it is one of the most beautiful books I've seen!

At the end of the book, Vicki provides lists from her French address book, including restaurants, fashion, books, hotels, antique markets and other places of interest. I'll be taking note of these addresses for my trip later in May as they are undoubtedly fabulous!

Title: My French Life
Author: Vicki Archer
Photographer: Carla Coulson
Publisher: Viking Studio, Penguin Group New York, 2006
Category: Non-fiction
Price: US$35, Canada $38