Well for starters Tottie Limejuice is a nom de Plume and I am not going to spoil it for you by telling you how author Lesley Tither came up with this name – it’s in the book!
As for the title – well that too is explained in the book but it comes from Lesley’s elderly mother who features prominently.
This is the true tale of a lady (Tottie/Lesley) who decides she will take her dysfunctional family from the UK to France to live and enjoy the splendours of the countryside, the good life, the healthcare and all that is great and good about France.
The story is about why Lesley made this choice – the book actually ends before she starts her new life in France. The last pages of the book feature the family on board various vehicles making their way to the middle of France and their new home, accompanied by healthcare specialists to help with her 90 year old mother’s needs.
Tottie finds that care for her beloved mother in the UK is not always great and she decides to move to France where she can carry on her work as a copy writer and look after her mother herself. Her brother who suffers from various issues including OCD hoarding, a tendency to self-destruct and alcoholism decided to go with her. Oh – and Meic, her epileptic dog (who also suffers from heart problems), not forgetting that Lesley too suffers from a neck ailment that make strenuous movement very difficult.
It was not an easy route, finding a house, negotiating the purchase, selling their own properties in the UK, transporting an elderly and frail lady to rural France. Many of us would baulk at the decision to learn to live in the same house as a family – all at a certain age who have lived apart for decades, let alone a family with so many issues. However, Lesley is a thoroughly pragmatic and rather gung-ho type of woman and let’s nothing stop her. Injuries, dementia (her mother), financial concerns, fear of the unknown, a brother with a prediliction for going off the rails – there isn’t anything that ultimately thwarts Tottie in her quest to give a better end of life experience for her mother.
Endearing, warm, a good dollop of humour and a lot of honesty have gone into the story of her life with family anecdotes skilfully woven through, Lesley doesn’t hold anything back and is unfailingly upbeat about whatever has befallen her in life.
It’s an enjoyable read and at the end when Lesley finally overcomes all of the obstacles you’ll find yourself hoping that she finds the happiness she craves for her little family.