The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All by Don Wallace
My enjoyment rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 4
Source: A review copy provided by Sourcebooks (I was not compensated in any monetary way for my review)
Genre: Memoir; Travel memoir
Objectionable material: None
Buyer's remorse: a term used to describe the feeling of regret or change of heart when making a significant purchase, like a house.
What Don and Mindy Wallace experience isn't so much buyer's remorse as, buyer's "oh my g*% what the Hell have we done?"
Surveying the condition of their French island
ruin cottage, the enormity of their decision comes crashing down -- almost literally: they own a house they can't afford, in a place they don't live, and with repairs/reconstruction that needs to be done that is beyond their skill level. Their efforts seem doomed from the beginning.
But over the course of 30 years (this wasn't a property "flip" project) Don and Mindy create a second home where they become ensconced within this special Belle Ile community.
I loved this book. It was charming and witty -- full of hope and despair about this crumbling structure they chose to inhabit and make a home. I loved the friends with whom they associated -- from local farmers to immediate neighbors to vacationers -- it was truly a sense of community. I loved the history of the island from the Druids, to the Romans to the Germans.
I think we all dream about having a second home -- to live in a faraway paradise and to become a "native." The beautiful thing about the Wallaces -- is over the course of 30 years -- they made their dream come true.