This second memoir from the author of Lunch in Paris may have the makings of a cliché, as it follows the well-known trope of an American carving out a new life in France. But with ease and grace, Bard overturns any stereotypes which could threaten her down-to-earth and highly readable account of moving to rural Provence, starting a family and opening an ice cream shop.

With an optimistic tone, Bard charts her experiences of early motherhood and the parallel search for fulfillment in a style that’s conversational, confessional – sometimes even heart-breaking – but always very real.

Her story is personal yet universal and depicts Provençal life in all of its sun-kissed simplicity. There’s also a bonus as the book is liberally dotted with delicious recipes, from courgettes gratin and saumon en papilotte to lavender-honey and thyme ice-cream. It provides a perfect, reverie-inducing window on the wonders of life in Provence.

Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes, by Elizabeth Bard. Published by Summersdale. Price €11.50.

From France Today magazine

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