His favorite spot, to which he and his wife Jennie kept returning, was Provence, in the south of France. They found the three hundred days of sunshine, as well as the fine countryside, historic old building, special food and a world-famous variety of the Wine, Rose.
They finally took the plunge and decided to leave England permanently and move to Provence. This book tells of their experience in finding an agent who finally turns up a beautiful house on the northern side of the Luberon Mountains in the village of Gordes, which had a wonderful peaceful view. We learn of some of the problems of settling in, learning the language (instead of sticking to English only and remaining with the group who never really entered French life). What they thoroughly enjoyed was the ebb and flow of village life, especially joining in to the group dropping in to the cafes for meals. They learned how to grow their own truffles, which was difficult, and got help in caring for their small vineyard.
Mayle is candid about the difficulty of leaving one’s own country forever – – made somewhat easier by the fact they had no children, only two dogs, who seemed happy with the move. His happiness is infectious, however, and the book is written with all his usual charm.
Reviewed by Anne McDougall