A non-fiction must read! “Beginning French lessons from a stone farmhouse” by les Americains



The trouble started when their dream came true.

First they took French. Then they took leave of their senses. They bought a 400-year-old cottage in rural France from an ad on the Internet. Their “completely restored” farmhouse certainly looked charming, but the pool leaked, the walls cracked, and the electricity fizzled whenever they switched on the kettle.

This is the wry and witty memoir of les Américains, Eileen and Marty, joined by their chef-daughter Sara. Their dream of being French leads them into uncharted territory where “oh la la” takes on a whole different meaning.

Before they can even move in, a freak accident destroys the interior of the house. An ancient wisteria threatens to uproot the kitchen floor. The wildlife continually tries to take up residence, and the pool becomes a watery hole that swallows up euros. And then there’s Jacqueline.

The only way les Américains can salvage their sanity is by adopting a simple, time-tested mantra: “Have a setback, have a drink.” Soon they’re buying rosé by the case.

Whether you’re a traveler, foodie, Francophile, or home-improvement veteran, Beginning French will enchant you with its vivid portrayal of part-time life in southwest France. Home chefs will enjoy the 12 Dordogne-inspired recipes, and English speakers will appreciate the interactive glossary of French terms.

About the Authors

Les Américains is the nom de plume of Eileen McKenna and Marty Neumeier, an American couple who divide their time between California and France. Eileen is the kind of person who can predict an entire plot from the first line of a novel, or the first scene in a movie. Marty is a design consultant who has written six bestselling books on innovation, creativity, and branding. Their daughter Sara, who appears in Beginning French and contributes the recipes, is a New York food stylist who began her career at Martha Stewart Living. The trois Amèricains meet every summer in France—to cook, write, and share photos and travel tips with their followers. Go to to read more stories, print out recipes, or set up a book club visit over Skype.

A Note From the Publisher

The ebook is unique in that many French words and phrases are linked to a glossary in the back. Just tap on a word and the definition page appears. Tap again to return to the story.


Live this adventure vicariously through this adorable couple! Learn and laugh with them as they overcome setbacks and learn the region.

A unique book, that includes recipes, and the e-book has an automatically linked glossary for the French words.

An adventure to read, and you will fall in love with this family.

I highly recommend getting the e-book version if you can, because the interactive e-book glossary is great as well.

I received this book from the publisher on behalf of NetGalley.

Here is the Amazon link for purchase:



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©January Gray and January Gray Reviews, 2016.
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