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A Gift from Brittany summary A Gift from Brittany, series A Gift from Brittany, book A Gift from Brittany, pdf A Gift from Brittany, A Gift from Brittany 1bfb137f37 In This Enchanting European Version Of A Year By The Sea, An Artist Recalls Her Liberating Sojourn In France During The Sixties And The Friendship That Transformed Her Life Marjorie Was A Young Woman From Chicago In The S Who Shocked Her Family And Fianc By Moving To Paris To Pursue Her Dream Of Becoming An Artist There She Fell In Love And Married Yves, A Handsome And Volatile French Painter On A Trip To Brittany, A Rugged Area On The Northern Coast Of France, Her Husband Impulsively Purchases Nearly Half Of A Hamlet, La Salle, And She Finds Herself Renovating A House In This Remote Village Surrounded By Neighbors Who Dress Only In Black, Speak Patois, And Still Employ Customs And Farming Methods From The Middle Ages, Marjorie Finds A Friend In Jeanne, An Old And Illiterate Peasant Woman Who Has Three Cows To Her Name And No Knowledge Of The World Outside Her Village Their Differences Are Staggering, Yet As Marjorie S Marriage Unravels They Forge A Friendship Brimming With Laughter, Wisdom, And An Uncommon Exchange Of Customs From Vastly Different Cultures A Gift From Brittany Is A Charming, Moving Memoir About The Grace That Can Be Found Through Friendship, And Finding Reserves Of Strength You Never Knew You Possessed


10 thoughts on “A Gift from Brittany

  1. says:

    I love memoirs about brave adventurous people who move to Italy or France or Spain, and renovate an old house, plant a garden, cook fabulous feasts, fall in love and find themselves Surely its my Sliding Doors life Sometimes, when I m meant to be writing, I look at castles for sale in Scotland instead In fact, I do so far too often Lately I ve been gazing longingly at chateaus in Brittany The book I am now writing is set there and so I can tell myself it s research and not procrastination.I stumbled upon this memoir one day while googling Brittany chateaus for sale and, on a whim, I bought it I m very glad I did It s one of the most beautiful and moving memoirs I ve ever read, and surprising in a number of ways Firstly, even though it s subtitled A Memoir of Love and Loss , it is not a story about a woman moving to France, falling in love and living happily ever after Marjorie Price does marry a Frenchman and they do buy an enchanting derelict farmhouse in Brittany, but her husband turns out to be a charming but controlling misogynist who refuse to allow her to paint or make her own decisions His domineering behaviour escalates to violence, and Marjorie must find the inner strength to escape him and make a life on her own for herself and her daughter.Secondly, this is not a contemporary tale Marjorie left her native USA to travel to France in 1960 Her story is therefore set at a time of huge political and cultural change in the world The scars inflicted by the Second World War are still deep, and the Vietnam War and the battle for civil rights are cutting new ones Women s rights are still being fought for, and Marjorie s decision to travel on her own to Paris and try to make a life for herself as an artist is seen as shocking and unladylike So the betrayal of her dreams by a misogynist who thinks women should only support their husband s careers is just heart breaking, and her struggle to make her own way doubly poignant.Lastly, A Gift From Brittany has at its heart the story of an unlikely friendship between women Marjorie is young, college educated, American, and a single mother, struggling to make her way as an artist Her neighbour Jeanne is elderly, illiterate, and lives in a cottage with no running water or plumbing She has never ridden in a car, eaten in a restaurant, talked on the telephone, or seen the sea She wears a shapeless black dress and a white cap pinned to her hair, as her ancestors have done for years Yet she is funny, earthy, and unfailingly kind She helps and supports Marjorie at every new challenge or crisis, and teaches her much about life and the world even though she has never travelled than a few miles from her home.Jeanne is dead now, and so is her way of her life and all her stories and songs Yet this memoir captures something of her warmth and wisdom, and gives us a poignant glimpse of an ancient vibrant culture that is now mostly lost A truly wonderful book.


  2. says:

    In 1960 twenty eight year old Marjorie Price did a daring and brave thing She bought a ticket on a transatlantic ship to Paris, third class Alone Her family and friends who call her Midge are shocked and dismayed Young ladies just don t DO that in 1960 But Midge is determined She is an artist, a painter, and Paris is where artists are nurtured, taught, inspired.Of course, she meets a man Fellow artist, and native Frenchman, Yves sweeps Midge off her feet and they are soon married They are very happy together and have a beautiful daughter, Danielle After a couple of years they begin looking for a summer place A little cottage in the country by the sea where they can escape the bustle of Paris and paint in peace.Yves finds a place he says is perfect An ancient farm house and other buildings that make up half of a tiny hamlet in Brittany Spartan and without any modern conveniences, it is far from what Midge had in mind But he is insistent and she is forced into the purchase of La Salle.At first living conditions are rough but the place works its charm and they begin to fix it up Midge meets her neighbors, among them Jeanne, a peasant woman nearing seventy who lives in a cottage with no running water or plumbing, has never ridden in a car, eaten in a restaurant, watched television, talked on the telephone, or even been farther than a few miles from her home.Over the next few years, Yves personality begins to change radically As her marriage disintegrates, Jeanne becomes the closest friend that Midge has ever known, they form a bond of friendship that transcends their differences in culture, age or language.I loved this book It is a wonderful, loving tribute to a special woman who was the product of a dying way of life Even during the years she lived at La Salle, Midge saw beautiful old stone farms being bulldozed to make room for pre fab houses The peasant life the Jeanne endured is completely gone now While the country life may seem like an idyll, the author makes clear that Jeanne s life was one filled with back breaking labor and a paucity of sentiment This is a story that is at once heartwarming and heartbreaking Here is a peek at a European way of life that endured for centuries and then completely died out in a few decades It is one of the best memoirs that I have ever read and I highly recommend it It would be an excellent choice for book clubs.


  3. says:

    To be honest, I still sometimes judge a book by its cover I know, shoot me At first I thought this was going to be another book about some lady who moves to France, falls in love and blah, blah, blah It ended up being so much The story pulled me in and elicited emotions within me that usually remain dormant Definitely a book that I fell in love with.


  4. says:

    Very light, pleasant read Not so much about her love story with her husband always hard to imagine putting up with such brutish behaviorand it wasn t just because it was the 1960s but her love story with the village and one motherly figure she meets there.


  5. says:

    2019 bk 245 I picked this up at a book sale and kept it for a day waiting while my car was being serviced lightweight paperback, slightly larger print, non glossy pages easier to read in the shops glaring lights This is a heavy book The premise is a young couple in love in the 1960 s, marriage, a need for a place where both an paint as they are artists They purchase half of a derelict village and in between painting, they repair the site and build a home, except something very dark looms It is only thanks to the friends they make with the elderly neighbors that the author and her daughter survive the husband s very dark descent into mental illness Among the final straws are when he takes an axe to a statue he had carved of Marjorie Price This book shows a number of the darker elements of living in France, but still provides a sense of love for a region and a people Marjorie has a large capacity for acceptance and understanding And the book was the perfect length for a three and a half hour wait I finished it just as they called my name, and I had to shake myself back into southern Indiana.


  6. says:

    I loved this delightful account of the time the author spent in rural Brittany in the 1960 s and the special relationship she had with an elderly neighbor who helped her weather hardship.


  7. says:

    This was a book club pick It held my interest but I can t rate it than the 4 stars.


  8. says:

    An absolutely endearing story Through the chapters, it feels like you re getting to know Jeanne personally A bittersweet story that had me smiling till the end.


  9. says:

    My review, from I thought at the beginning that A Gift from Brittany would be a book along the lines of Frances Mayes Tuscany books love letters to Italy that are light, mostly cheerful accounts of life in Tuscany Marjorie Price s life altering experience living in an obscure hamlet in Brittany, France, however, the author describes as a Memoir of Love and Loss in the French Countryside Though it has cheerful and colorful aspects, the memoir is a poignant story of love lost but also of true friendship found in an quiet corner of rural France.A young artist in Chicago in the 1960s, the author Midge decides to travel to Paris for several months, against her parents wishes In France she meets Yves, an up and coming artist, and as in a fairy tale story, falls in love and marries the Frenchman They have a daughter, both continue to paint, and all seems to go well until Yves decides to buy a farm in Brittany The farm turns out to be several farmhouses, half of a hamlet The extensive renovations needed to the farm houses, which Midge finds herself in charge of managing and financing, and Yves obsession with the idea of his being a great painter, a genius , is balanced somewhat by Midge s developing friendship with a supportive and sympathetic neighbor, Jeanne Jeanne is in her late 60s, cannot read or write, never used a telephone, does not have television, has never traveled to the ocean that is not far away, and has been working all her life without electricity or running water Jeanne however becomes a protector to Midge, an American who does not know the ways of rural Brittany The memoir describes days in Brittany with its difficulties, its disappointments, its successes, as well as the joy of good friendship The book really tells two stories the story of an American artist in France transformed by her experience there, and the life story of Jeanne, a simple Breton woman Of Jeanne, the author wrote Like a messenger heralding her arrival, her low starched white lace coif revealed her to be a Morbihanaise Everyone greeted her she struck up a conversation with everyone The memoir also tells how these two helped each other and how in the end, Midge feels regret and wonders if different decisions along the way might have made the final outcomes any different Marjorie Price writes with the eye of the artist, with detail and a love of color Her descriptions of her painting and of landscape easily transport you to Brittany, its farms, coastline, and the feel of its people In summer, the heat was so intense it was a streak of fire on my back and soaked up the moisture on the paper, making it difficult to work with the transparency and fluidity of watercolor But on cool days, or on days when the fog lingered and moisture hung in the air, I could blend the light of the morning mist with the emerging sun, lay color over color like a theme in a fugue that fades as another unfolds ch 15 I recommend this heart warming book for its story, its descriptions of people and place, and its exploration of relationships, some that worked and others that did not.I have read A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and Under the Tuscan Sun, enjoyed them, but had no real desire to read the follow up books that both authors wrote A Gift from Brittany I found to be much serious and realistic, and true, and very moving.


  10. says:

    A Gift From Brittany can be viewed from many angles Francophiles will love the descriptions of 1960s French country life The author, Marjorie Price Midge moves to the French countryside where electricity is not a given, running water is rare, and outhouses are common For the same reasons, advocates of Slow philosophy will nod in agreement with life set to the tempo of seasons and cows It s easy to miss, though, that this is very much a feminist book.Imagine the early 1960 s in Midwest America Marjorie Price grows up with a burning She wants to paint Her parents are wealthy enough to send her to good schools and she is set to marry a pleasant and safe schoolmate The entire family shakes when she moves to France where she neither knows anyone nor knows the language She quickly falls in love with a Parisian artist and dreams of a life of painting and love Above her protests her husband buys a dilapidated 300 year old farm in Brittany They set to rebuild the farm and work on their painting until her husband afflicted with cyclic personality cuts her canvases with a machete and forbids her to ever paint again Her job, he says, is to support his genius His extraordinary ability is too fragile to be bothered by such common things as marriage, child rearing, cooking, or money A Wiki search turns up nothing for the man or the artist After the family returns to Paris she takes their child and moves back to the farm without her husband.Alone at La Salle she befriends a local elderly woman and learns about deep friendship Though different in most ways maybe because they are different they accept each other without reservation or judgment Marjorie learns about farming and country life and Jeanne learns about cars, boats, and ocean sand between your toes Their friendship deepens through real and near disasters and is a theme threading through the remainder of the story.Deeper than the narrative is the story of a woman finding strength amid cultures that don t necessarily enjoy strong women As dictated as her life might have been in America she was unprepared for the patriarchy of France where, with cultural acceptance, her husband ruled over her as a king French wives, it seemed, were to look good in bikinis and practice the art of the canap But Marjorie Price has other desires She lives within the customs and conventions but pursues her own dreams as best as she can A Gift From Brittany is a story for every human being who wants to live authentically to their own desires What is the gift from Brittany Real friendship An awareness of your own abilities Expanding your horizons to see that the world is wider than your own two arms I m not sure but my copy has a guide with thoughtful questions for readers More importantly she includes the recipe for Les Quatres Quarts the favorite dessert made by local women for every event The book is written with an easy prose Descriptions are charming and bucolic and sometimes melodramatic Any flaws, though, are enormously overcome by the warm humanity of the story Four stars.


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