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A House in the Sunflowers: An English Family's Search for Their Dream House in France [Paperback]

Ruth Silvestre
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 19 Feb 1997 --  

Book Description

19 Feb 1997
In 1976, in the Lot-et-Garonne region of south-west France, Ruth Silvestre and her family found Bel-Air de Grezelongue, a house that had been uninhabited for 10 years. This is the story of their love affair with that house and the surrounding community.

Frequently Bought Together

A House in the Sunflowers: An English Family's Search for Their Dream House in France + Reflections of Sunflowers + A Harvest of Sunflowers
Buy the selected items together
  • Reflections of Sunflowers £8.99
  • A Harvest of Sunflowers £8.99


Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby; New edition edition (19 Feb 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074900259X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749002596
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 748,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Reissues of actress and singer Ruth Silvestre's story of her love affair with her dream house in south-west France, chronicling the friendships that she and her family formed during the gradual restoration of their once derelict farmhouse and the local festivities, described with natural joie de vivre.

From the Publisher

Just to say that this is the first book in the sequence - the sequel is A Harvest Of Sunflowers, also available through Amazon and all good bookshops. Together, they form an unforgettable record of setting up a holiday home in the South of France.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Someone else on the Mayle Trail 18 April 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It seems as though there are ten-times as many books about people moving to France as there are French départements but Ruth Silvestre's is a cut above the many which peddle nothing but barely amusing stories about builders and the lasting effects of too much French hospitality. There's a warmth in this book, a genuine affection for her neighbours and their odd ways, and a real sense of the history of the place. It may have been written about events which took place thirty years ago but the hidden treasures of France barely change and I look forward to reading the sequel.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you will want to read again 22 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read the paperback version of this book many years ago and was so pleased to see it brought to kindle that I had to buy it and read it again. Second time around it didn't disappoint and I have read many similar books (some good, some not so) since my first read of A House in the Sunflowers.

This is the first book in The Sunflower Trilogy and tells the story of Ruth and her family finding Bel-Air de Grèzelongue in the Lot-et-Garonne and despite it being unloved and uninhabited for ten years, to them it was the perfect house in France. Their story is very different to many similar memoirs, mainly because they bought their holiday home in the 1970's. A time when there was no local expat network offering help and advice, just them and their French neighbours and the special friendship that grew over the years.

Ruth writes with fondness about the way their neighbours at the working farm down the lane did their best to welcome the strange newcomers and became good friends, including them in family celebrations, local events and inviting them to help with the harvests, all of which helped integrate them into the community. There was lots of work to do on the house, so their time spent on holidays in France was busy and sometimes stressful, but they were always happy to be back in their new French community.

Ruth generously shares their many new experiences and insights into the French culture in an engaging way. I read this book shortly after our move to France and I can't tell you how comforting it was to read it during our `settling in years'. I have read many move to France memoirs, before and after moving, but these three books by Ruth will always be very special to me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I bought the first book in the Trilogy based mainly on the 5* reviews. As soon as I was a few pages into it, I ordered the other two.

I asked myself initially how it would be possible for a person, specifically Ruth, to write three books based on every day happenings and to hold the attention of the reader.

She did and she did it superbly.

So many of the wonderful and unexpected experiences we have enjoyed in the four years we have lived here, and are continuing to enjoy, are so similar. Nothing sentimental about these books as some critics imply, they are based on fact and are real. Just wish that there was a 4th book in the offing. For those who genuinely want to feel happy and settled in La Belle France, these books provide the 'how to'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A house in the Sunflowers. 18 Dec 2013
By Cuechip
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brilliant story of setting up home in the heart of France. I cant wait to read the other books. You are transported into the the French countryside and partake of the meals shared with their farmer neighbours. Tales of the various harvests. Grape, potato and plum which the family took part in made me wish to be there too.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully easy read 22 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is actually a sequel and continues the story of Ruth and her family's ownership of a second home in Lot-et-Garonne. The book covers a number of summers, with their gradual updating of the house, building a swimming pool, and many friends who visit. It's very easy read and leaves you with a positive attitude about aspects of French life.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book full of sunshine 6 May 2003
Format:Paperback
I read this book approx ten years ago and was struck by the triumph over adversity. For people contemplating buying in France I would suggest that this is a good book for possible enlightment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read but over too soon! 15 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a non French speaker I could not understand much of the French writing. I would have enjoyed it better if there had been translation included. Or maybe I just need to learn French!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A House in the Sunflowers 2 Mar 2014
By Silke
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable to read about the headaches of re-constructing a 'new' home in a foreign country. As I do not speak any French, it is at times rather annoying to have French thrown in - it seems to stint the flow of the story.

I would like to read the follow-up but not at the price offered. Maybe when it is on a special. I will certainly keep it in mind.
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