An account of expatriate lives in Provence: "Maureen Emerson has produced a remarkable book which will captivate any reader with a genuine interest in the history of the Cote d'Azur and of its English-speaking expatriate community", Patrick Middleton, The Riviera Reporter. "The impact of the war makes for some of the book's most compelling reading. The author has thoroughly researched her subject and the book paints vivid portraits not just of a beguiling place and a tumultuous era, but of two plucky and unusual women... whose love of Provence changed the course of their lives", Vivian Thomas, France Today. "Remarkable women's lives the subject of a fascinating book", Dianne Jones, The Mid-Sussex Times. "By patiently piecing together the lives of these two women, Maureen Emerson has produced a fascinating portrait of a bygone era and reveals an expatriate community far different from the one that could be seen in the luxury hotels of the French Riviera", Nicole Benazeth, LMS News, The Magazine of Sophia Antipolis. "Maureen settled back in England eight years ago to be closer to her family but Winifred and Elisabeth were never far from her mind and she has just completed her fascinating book on their lives after eight years of research", West Sussex County Times. --Various
Escape to Provence is the true story of two remarkable women who, with style and energy, carved out new lives for themselves in the South of France in the first part of the last century. An American, Elisabeth Parrish Starr, and an Englishwoman, Winifred (Peggy) Fortescue, the author of a best-seller of the 1930s and '40s Perfume from Provence, both escaped to Provence for quite different reasons. Elisabeth, as the result of a personal tragedy, coupled with a need to live her life without censure, and Peggy because she and her husband felt that in Provence 'one could be poor with dignity'. After dangerous aid work on the Somme during the Great War, for which she was decorated by the French government, Elisabeth bought an ancient house in the hills above Cannes. Here she drew other expatriate friends around her and, with the now widowed Peggy, lived a bucolic existence in their Proven??al village until the threat of another conflict changed their lives for ever. Peggy raced to safety in Sussex, in England, while Elisabeth fell under the oppressive Vichy regime that affected everyone in the region during the dark years of war.When the South of France was liberated by American and French forces, Peggy returned to a Provence that would never be the same again. Over the years their lives had become involved with those of Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough, the poet John Betjeman, the dashing Spitfire pilot Richard Hillary, the artist Rex Whistler and the families of President Theodore Roosevelt and Charles, 6th Marquess of Anglesey. As well as the story of two unusual women, Escape to Provence is also a portrait of an era.