Review: ‘French Ties’ by Jane Webster – finding your own magical pocket of France

Hannah Duke - 27/06/13 -

Last month marked the launch of Jane Webster’s new book ‘French Ties’. Following on from her first book ‘My French Table’¹, it chronicles her life after purchasing a run-down château in Normandy.

Ever dreamed of packing up and moving to France? Well that’s exactly what Jane Webster did. She then wrote her incredibly beautiful and very successful first book. In between stunning photos of the Château Bosgouet are poignant recollections and delicious recipes inspired by her new vie française.

A French fairytale

Hannah Duke - 27/06/2013 -

At first glance, Webster’s life seems like a veritable fairytale. The first part of the book sees her take readers on a descriptive tour through the Chateau. One level leads to another in a dreamlike sequence. After thinking that surely we’re done on the second floor, low and behold, another three await.

Accompanied by the ethereal photography of Robyn Lea and Mark Roper, you would be forgiven for thinking that Webster is living in a dream.

The French know best

Hannah Duke - 27/06/2013 -

Interspersed throughout the book are helpful hints for living la vie française. They are age-old remedies and tips for cooking, cleaning and keeping house.

Cleaning copper pots? Try lemon juice and sugar. Searching for appropriate pre-dinner nibbles? Slice up some radishes and serve with fresh Norman butter and sea salt.

A thirst for knowledge

Hannah Duke - 27/06/2013 -

With such an endeavour must come a great deal of courage and zeal. Webster frequently mentions the confusion her grand voyage caused amongst friends and acquaintances. No one could comprehend why she would uproot her family and move to a foreign country.

Whereas her first book dealt with these changes, her second sees the family become comfortable in their surroundings. They are finally à l’aise.

You have to admire Webster’s compulsion to learn more, to assimilate and to share her passions with others. It is impossible to travel anywhere without your eyes wide open. She understands that to move to the French countryside takes something more. It is not only your eyes that must be open, but your mind also.

The only downside to Webster’s book is that it makes you want to pack up your things and move to France. But not once does she seek to encourage your envy. She truly appreciates her French ties, and it makes her recollections all the more magical.

Read our MaVieFrançaise® interview with Jane Webster.

Image credits:
All photos taken by Hannah Duke

Photography in ‘French Ties’ by Robyn Lea and Mark Roper

About the Contributor

Hannah Duke

“I’m a Melbourne-based journalist, editor, photographer, and blogger dreaming of la vie européenne. I love all things French except for the pigeons: film, food, literature, fashion, and I indulge in this passion as often as possible! Find me on Twitter, or Google+.”

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