Sourcebooks kindly sent me a copy of this memoir.
Karen Wheeler had a interesting life: a great job and home in London, a French boyfriend, and a few good friends. However, her outlook changes, and she decides to buy a home in a village in France and to move there.
Since other foreigners have moved to France and renovated homes, her experiences weren't as frustrating as Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence. She made friends with a neighbor, who chided the craftsmen who didn't do a proper job. Wheeler made her renovations slowly and even did a lot of the work herself.
However, not all is perfect in this new life. She has a falling out with one of the ex-pats, she must drive far to eat in a decent restaurant (gasp!), and she must adapt to not being able to walk to grocery stores to buy organic fruits and vegetables.
She is still able to make a living as a fashion writer by doing freelance work. And her life has balance. "It is June and the courtyard is in full bloom. The French have a word for this e'panouie. But it doesn't apply to flowers, It can also be used to describe the blossoming of a person.. I am never short of company. In fact, I have made more genuine friends in the short time that I have lived here than I did in almost two decades of living in London."
Wheeler gives a realistic view of a major lifestyle change. The discouraging events are described as well as the small triumphs.
If you are tempted to chuck it all in and start over in another place, this memoir will give you an idea of what you would experience!