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Life in a Postcard: Escape to the French Pyrenees Paperback – 1 Apr 2002


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Life in a Postcard: Escape to the French Pyrenees + Love And War In The Pyrenees: A Story Of Courage, Fear And Hope, 1939-1944
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (1 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553813412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553813418
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Simpson on 26 Nov 2002
Format: Paperback
I would give it 10 stars if I could. I bought it with some cynicism. I enjoy the genre but was not interested in yet another book about French delicacies, lavender, scenery and climate. Rosemary has struck a brilliant balance in Life in a Postcard. There is something for everyone. It is a frank account of the challenges in setting up a home away from home in a country that is riddled with hurdles and difficulties that few of us will come across on casual visits.
Rosemary writes beautifully about her beloved monastery, about the trials and tribulations of bringing up a child largely on her own and doing her best to ensure that he is well integrated and happy in his new environment. For all their qualities the “Driving over Lemons” of this world lack the depth of historical knowledge, insightfulness and incisiveness that you will find in “Life in a Postcard”. I cannot recommend it enough.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By bettina jones on 15 Sep 2002
Format: Paperback
A really evocative and well-written book. The author not only draws us into the daily frustrations and joys of buying a dream home abroad - in this case a ruined medieval monastery - but paints a fascinating picture of rural village life in French Catalonia, a community that is multi-cultural in the extreme, with ex-pats, many of them hippies, from all European countries living in surprising harmony.
Move over Peter Mayle et al - this book deserves to be a bestseller.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "lucyreeves" on 28 Jan 2004
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this - the author paints an alluring picture of her extraordinary life in a tiny village in the Pyrenees, and the real sense of community there. Rosemary Bailey writes very well indeed and there's a nice balance of inner dialogue and honesty with the strong sense of place. Really makes you want to go there...
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 April 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book with high hopes, having read some of the reviews, but was disappointed. The author writes well about some of the scenery and culture of the region, but if I had wanted a history lesson I would have bought a history book! The passages where the thoughts/feelings of monks were imagined were just embarrassing padding. I would have welcomed far more detail about the building, the region, timescales, costings, and future plans. I'm a sucker for any book about France/Spain/Italy, but this was a real disappointment, hence my first ever review for Amazon! I think Peter Mayle's crown is safe.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By aspens1@compuserve.com on 16 April 2002
Format: Paperback
There is a little-known part of the French Pyrenees which is the new Provence: Ms Bailey's luminous evocation of the inscape and landscape of her Romanesque monastery and its environs vividly evokes the past, the present, and the way the future could re-shape the lives of the rural villages of Europe. Mostly, the book's about her ruined Romanesque monastery and how she lived there, how they rebuild it. But, shimmering through the story like the underthread of shot silk is also her own personal journey of rediscovery.
You can smell the rosemary and mimosa: taste the hot sunlight, heavy with herbs and ripe peaches. She is honest about the tramontane - mist and rainbows and terrifying destruction. Her description of the smallest ski-station in Europe is, well, you have to read it. I like the honesty of this book. Despite the Country Living scenery and lifestyle, she captures the honesty of the small, rural, mountain village. Its rough edges, its values, its humour, its - Life.
Throughout her story she weaves the life of the medieval monastic tradition, mixing pages of historical detail, myth, and romance with summer menus, gardening, family incident, moments of accidie, catharsis and celebration, observations on the politics of modern Europe. If there isn't a Channel Four Sunday night serial or at the very least a documentary in this book then someone isn't doing their job properly. This book cries out to be photographed. It's a Sunday night-in-the-winter sort of book, a lazy-summer afternoon-in-the-hammock book, almost poetic, a Journal : part architectural lovestory, part landscape, leavened with recipes and seasoned with politics: you can't really call it a Travel book because mostly she stays right there.
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By sukie1 on 1 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved this book. Makes me feel like moving to France. Read it whilst sitting out in garden. Its a book I will return to. I get rid of most books these days, but not this one.
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By Amicus on 23 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Haven't read it yet but if it's up to same standard as Love and War in the Pyrennes I'm happy
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By the gardener on 7 Nov 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Too much information about the monks in the first part of the book, but really enjoyed the factual information about the area and how the family coped. Enjoyed following the progress of their son at a French school and the re-building of their monastery. Amazing diligence on research of the building by the husband and how Rosemary lived amongst the rubble shows great stamina. Good luck to them in the future.
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