The Road to Villa Page: A He Said/She Said Memoir of Buying Our Dream Home in France” is the first book in a planned series. It’s a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs as we follow the dreams of a couple from cosmopolitan Los Angeles who move to rural Dordogne, south west France.
Cynthia and William Royce’s story begins with ‘Oh my God, are we really doing this?!’ to looking for the home, getting a loan, wading through the red tape of actually moving, and studying French.
Finally, the most important part of making their dream come true, adopting a baby girl to make the journey complete.
The Road to Villa Page: A He Said/She Said Memoir of Buying Our Dream Home in France” is the first in a series of books that captures the experience of living in the Dordogne region of France, as filtered through the eyes of an American family. It’s told from a “he said, she said” perspective. Their story begins with falling in love with the enchanting Dordogne. The region has long been an inspiration to man, and the earliest known works of art are to be found in the nearby preshistoric caves of Lascaux. From the 1000 chateaux perched on towering cliffs overhanging the meandering Dordogne River to the countless plus beaux villages (most beautiful villages) dotting the region, it is truly a magical place.
Like most of Cynthia and William’s family and friends, I wondered what on earth would make this pair of successful TV writers on award winning shows like Murder, She Wrote give up their gorgeous house in Hollywood and their comfortable lifestyle to take on a renovation project and start a new life in a country half way round the world.
Well, France has that effect on some of us and if you dream of a new life in the rural French countryside of beautiful Dordogne, you’ll lap this book up. Cynthia and William are nothing if not adventurous. They are not fluent French speakers. They’re not DIY experts but their house near the medieval time warp town of Sarlat, Dordogne is in desperate need of work. And they don’t have much of a clue about what they’re letting themselves in for. The rose-coloured glasses are firmly in place.
Funny but real
The couple take on help with the house only to find that the help doesn’t appear to have much more of a clue than them. And on top of this there is the stress of adoption and needing to be in two places at once.
I really liked the alternating he said/she said approach. It’s unusual but it works really well. Cynthia and William are both hugely experienced writers and don’t overlap but present different views. It was ‘his dream’, but she was willing to follow the dream. It wasn’t all a bed of roses. But this is a couple who are adventurers and they are determined to overcome obstacles and make the most of their new life. I laughed out loud at some parts like when they hire an architect to carry out an inspection of the 200 year old house they fall in love with. Nonplused by the less than 20 minute inspection, William asks about the creaking 200 year old wooden staircase. The professional replies ‘the staircase is old and tired.’ So French!
Cynthia is also a photographer and the book has some beautiful images.
It makes for a great read and despite the challenges, the rose coloured glasses stay in place!
Available on Amazon and all good online bookshops