Amanda on January 24th, 2011

Tapestry Of LoveThis delightful tale is a total submersion into a life that is altogether different, the French country way of life, slow, sweet and sometimes stingingly sad.
Catherine is a resilient and totally independent character, she speaks fluent French – so important – and is determined to make her new life in the wilds of the Cevennes work and work well.  I have lived this particular life for seven years now, and although the author herself lives in the UK, she clearly understands the way a French rural community ticks.  When a foreign body drops without warning into a tiny village they cannot expect instant acceptance.  Like the pebble on the pond the ripples spread and all sorts of unlooked for consequences can occur.  But as time passes tranquillity is restored, neighbours become friends, then more than just friends.  Rosy Thornton understands this as few others do and this insightful novel reflects her clinging attachment to the region.  Love, life, language tangles, the usual fight with the creaking bureaucratic machine all set amongst stunning scenery.  If this sounds like your glass of wine, curl up and enjoy it.

© Amanda Lawrence 2011

Book Review – The Tapestry Of Love by Rosy Thornton from French Life

Amanda on February 11th, 2010

Moondrop To Gascony

Anne-Marie Walters

The inspiring tale of one woman’s war.

Anne-Marie Walters was a mere twenty years old when she was recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and secretly dropped by parachute into occupied south-west France one freezing, moonlit night in January 1944. Life as a secret agent seemed to suit the indomitable courage of this remarkable young woman. She became a courier on the WHEELRIGHT circuit, carrying messages, arranging escape routes for British airmen and living in daily fear of exposure. Then, just when liberation seemed to be truly on the horizon, she was ordered over the Pyrenees to Spain – on foot. No mean feat even in peacetime. And unlike so many of her SOE colleagues – for so long the unsung heroines of WWII, captured, appallingly tortured and eventually shot by the Nazis – Walters survived to tell the tale. She wrote this vivid, ebullient account of her life as ‘Paulette’, living clandestinely among the gallant French Resistance, immediately after the war. Through these pages she takes you with her on her breath-taking adventure, sharing her joys and her sorrows, and appreciating the nail-biting drama all the more because you know that when the last page has been turned she at least made it safely back over the white cliffs.

First published in 1946, this new edition includes notes by David Hewson, who identifies many of the characters behind the pseudonyms. It also includes a great many photographs. A beautiful book and a thoroughly absorbing read.

Published by Moho Books RRP £13.99

© Amanda Lawrence 2010

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Moondrop To Gascony – Book Review from French Life