A Castle in the Backyard: The Dream of a House in France

A Castle in the Backyard: The Dream of a House in France

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by Betsy Draine
     
 

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    In one of the most beautiful river valleys in Europe, in the region known as Périgord in southwest France, castles crown the hills, and the surrounding villages seem carved all of a piece out of the local stone. In 1985, in the shadow of one of these medieval castles, Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden fell in love with a small stone house

Overview

    In one of the most beautiful river valleys in Europe, in the region known as Périgord in southwest France, castles crown the hills, and the surrounding villages seem carved all of a piece out of the local stone. In 1985, in the shadow of one of these medieval castles, Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden fell in love with a small stone house that became their summer home.
    Like any romance, this one has had its ups and downs, and Betsy and Michael chart its course in this delightful memoir. They offer an intimate glimpse of a region little known to Americans—the Dordogne valley, its castles and prehistoric art, its walking trails and earthy cuisine—and describe the charms and mishaps of setting up housekeeping thousands of miles from home.
    Along with the region’s terrain and culture, A Castle in the Backyard introduces us to the people of Périgord—the castle’s proprietor, the village children, the gossipy real-estate agent, the rascally mason, and the ninety-year-old widow with a tale of heartbreak. A celebration of a place and its people, the book also reflects on the future of historic Périgord as tourism and development pose a challenge to its graceful way of life.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Draine and Hinden (English, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) have charmingly recounted their past 15 summers establishing a summer home in the Dordogne valley in southwest France. With wonderful detail, they have created a colorful picture of their search for and purchase of an old stone house in the hilltop village of Castlenaud-la-Chapelle. Similar to Michael Korda's tale of relocation in Country Matters and Peter Mayle's best-selling A Year in Provence, this charming memoir brings to life the history, character, and beauty of the authors' new culture, their rural surroundings, and their quirky fellow villagers. The book includes a list of further readings for those interested in more information about the Dordogne valley, but after reading A Castle in the Backyard, you may not need the extra information it may feel as if you've already been to the south of France and loved it. Highly recommended for travel collections in all public libraries. Mari Flynn, Keystone Coll., La Plume, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299179434
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
09/16/2002
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
322
Sales rank:
799,278
File size:
883 KB

Meet the Author

Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden are professors emeritus of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition to their scholarly writing, they have translated and edited The Walnut Cookbook by Jean-Luc Toussaint.

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A Castle in the Backyard: The Dream of a House in France 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a dedicated Francophile and one who has always dreamed of having a house in France, I eagerly bought this book, hoping that it would be as good as its title promised. My expectations were exceeded. Betsy Draine and Micheal Hinden's account of their search for, purchase of, and summers spent in their house in the Dordogne is well-written and engaging. I hope they will write a second installment so that their readers can follow their further adventures (we hope) in their house with the castle in the backyard! I strongly recommend this book for anyone who loves France or who dreams of living abroad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two university professors buy a house to renovate in Dordogne under the shadow of a medieval castle. Much in the style of A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun and every bit as good (maybe better).