Being a big fan of her first book, "The Ripening Sun", I rushed to buy Patricia Atkinson's second book "La Belle Saison".
While her first book is about struggle and hardship to get her business off the ground, Patricia's second book takes a look at all the good things around her; cheese, hunting, truffles and fishing, among others; for which she had no time during the earlier years. But this is also the book of a woman who had to work hard to survive, who, grimly determined to make something of her life in France, just kept going, never looking back and, in the process, inevitably, did leave something precious of herself behind.
How do you handle success - and yourself - now you have achieved the impossible: creating a thriving vineyard and your own highly acclaimed brand in the very competitive wine business? All this as a woman in a French male dominated environment, and English to boot!
How do you face a certain feeling of loneliness and emptiness once you and your wines have become world famous; "you now have all you ever wanted, haven't you?" How do you find yourself back after all these years of abnegation. The answer comes to her, slowly, over time, and remains with Patricia despite trials which would have severely dented other, less resilient people.
This is not a literary masterpiece, she didn't have time to write one. Patricia is in a hurry to live a life as full as possible. This is an warm and fun book, sometimes sad, written in a straightforward manner by (and this you will feel strongly when reading the book) an honest, warm, fun loving, and passionate person who dares to go to the very limit of her many talents instead of playing it "safe". And in the process, she makes a success out of it. This really is the message of the book.