Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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****A Castle in the Backyard

The Dream of a House in France

by Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden

Reviewed April 22, 2005.
The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 2002.  302 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (944.72 DRA).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#1, Cross-Cultural)

Most books about Americans moving to Europe remind me how lucky I am to live here.   A Castle in the Backyard did that, but it also made me envious.  Although we too experienced the almost magical sensation of finding the perfect place to live with perfect timing, we have since had to move away.  I’m a Castle Nut, and I still dream of finding a place with a view of a castle.  The authors of this book found a home that actually has a castle in the backyard, with a view of two more castles as well.  Reading this book, I began to wish that I was still teaching college, and that my husband and I could buy a place (where we wouldn’t get kicked out) and could spend all our summers in France.

The authors write of how they first began to dream of living in France and their search for the perfect place.  They almost settled for a small place without plumbing, but just when they had given up, they found a home right outside the walls of the Chateau at Castelnaud.  They write of making it through the deal and settling into the village.  They talk of making friends with their neighbors and their wonderful summer routines.  Reading their words transported me to a medieval village in France.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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