This month has been holidays for me – all month long; lazy days with no responsibilities and time on my hands. What better way to spend some of that time than reading? As a result, I have read a considerable amount this month, far more than the goal I set myself of one book a month.
This month, I’ve been reading:
This month, I finished reading:
My favourite read this month
Choosing my favourite read this month has been tricky, as I really enjoyed both non-fiction books completed. Whilst Better Than Before taught me a great deal, Chateau de Gudanes – A True Love Story Never Ends written by Karina Waters, stole my heart. For that reason, I’ve given it five stars and the honour of my first regular review.
I was fortunate to be gifted Chateau de Gudanes – A True Love Story Never Ends for Christmas by my husband. (It was one of several gift suggestions I emailed to him, complete with pricing and links. In 27 years of marriage, I’ve learnt it doesn’t go astray to be very specific when it comes to gift suggestions.) I have been following this particular chateau on Instagram and Facebook for quite some time, so was excited to discover a book about it had been written. Being a special book, it is rather pricey, so not the sort of book I would buy for myself but perfect for a special gift or to treat yourself. The book arrived beautifully boxed and gift wrapped. The presentation was so perfect, I almost didn’t want to open it. (Sadly, I didn’t take a photo.) Once I did, I discovered not only the book but also a lovely bookmark of the chateau’s floor plan, adorned with gold cord and an antique button.
I admit it, I am enchanted by the concept of living in a French chateau or, indeed, any old home in a small French village or the countryside. I loved watching Escape to the Chateau. I adored researching and staying in several ancient Air Bnb cottages on our European holiday last year and long to do so for a longer stay. It’s a long-held dream of mine to own a piece of French history and live there, at least part time, albeit one that I expect will forever remain just that, a dream.
However, for Karina Waters, it is reality. In her first book, Karina shares the story of her beloved chateau, an “imperfect” story (according to her) told in a very informal and personal tone. Karina introduces the book with a letter, inviting the reader to “set forth upon the adventure of a true love story that never ends.” Who could resist such an invitation? Certainly not me!
Reading this book, I imagined myself wandering through the chateau, on a personal tour with Karina, transported there and fully immersed in the surroundings by her conversational tone, descriptive language and incredible photographs.
Beautifully photographed and presented, this book is a joy either to flip through or to read. The paper quality and binding is exceptional, pleasing not just the eyes, but also the fingers. It truly is a worthy coffee table book, whilst being small enough to carry for reading in transit or on holidays.
The book traces the story of how Karina and her family fell in love with the chateau, at that time in ruins, battled red tape and cultural differences for years to purchase the property and their work-in-progress of restoring the chateau in a unique and heartfelt way. A little of the incredible history of the chateau is also shared, gleaned from various sources through research and conversations.
This is a very special book. It had me hooked the moment I laid eyes upon it and I was unable to put it down. Torn between finishing it as quickly as possible and stretching out the pleasure, I read it cover to cover in just a couple of days. Since my first reading, I continue to flip through and admire photographs of original details preserved and incredible views from the windows. If you get a chance to buy or borrow this book, I recommend you do. You won’t be sorry. The book is available for purchase direct from the chateau website.
What have you been reading this month? Have you ever fallen head-over-heels in love with a book?