Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Gift From Brittany by Marjorie Price

Marjorie is a young artist in the 60's who fulfills her dream of moving to Paris and ends up snagging a handsome French painter for a husband. Marjorie, swept up in the romance of it all, agrees to buy a summer home in the countryside with Yves and their young daughter. But her visions of a languide seaside villa turn into owning an extremely remote, dilapidated hamlet of seven farmhouses in Brittany! While Marjorie is reluctant at first that she and her family will be happy, she soon finds that she adores La Salle and the people: in particular, Jeanne Montrelay, a peasant woman in her 70's. What Marjorie did not count on is the painful demise of her marriage to a man who becomes abusive and insanely jealous of her talent. This city gal from Chicago moves herself and her daughter permanently to this tiny hamlet where she is cared for lovingly by Jeanne and the villagers. In the most unlikely place she find her true self and gathers the courage to explore her talents and move on with her life.

It was unusual to read yet another memoir of an American setting up shop in another country that is set in the 60's rather than present time. It was fascinating to read about the lives of these villagers that is so truly different--it makes you wonder what this village is like now, forty years later. I was very moved by the relationship forged between the protagonist and the elderly peasant--a very unlikely friendship that blossomed. Enjoyed immensely!

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