This is a list of the Léonie Press books which we have published which have a French connection. Click on a title to obtain more details about a particular book. For links to other France related information, see the bottom of the page.
Author Title Description
Anne Loader A Bull by the Back Door: How an English family find their own paradise in rural France An unexpected legacy enables the Loader family to buy an old farmhouse in the depths of the French countryside. It has been unoccupied for years but they are drawn to the charm and dignity lying under the grime and cobwebs. Even before the purchase goes through "Les Anglais" are welcomed with genuine affection by their new neighbours. From their very first day at St Paradis they begin to make close and lasting friendships in spite of the language barriers. But it is not only their neighbours who welcome them. Soon they are aware that the spirit of the former owner seems delighted to see her family home being restored to life. Indeed, it appears almost as if she has chosen the Loaders for this task..
Anne Loader The Duck with a Dirty Laugh: More family adventures in rural France This much-requested sequel to the acclaimed "A Bull by the Back Door" continues the story of the Loader family in rural France. Renovations to their old stone farmhouse in the depths of the countryside are going well but slowly, as they tackle every aspect of the work themselves. They have promised the spirit of the former owner that they will bring the place back to life but not change its character. She still seems to be with them as they get busy installing electricity, plumbing and drains and doing the decorating. Old friendships prosper and new ones are made. Just when it seems everything is perfect, tragedy strikes at home in England and they face a period when just ‘hanging on and surviving’ is the simple goal. Their first test at St Paradis is coping with the coldest weather in Europe for a century: it’s -12ºC outside and 1.6ºC in the kitchen, the water is frozen, it’s snowing hard and everyone in the hamlet is ill...
Geoffrey Morris Only Fools Drink Water: Forty years of fun in Charente-Maritime The author and his wife - jokingly dubbed "senile delinquents" by their son - have been enjoying hilarious escapades in the Charente-Maritime region of France for more than 40 years. They have lived there for 20 years and are now naturalized French. This beautifully-written book, full of wit and self-deprecating humour, describes their experiences among the Charentais farmers, fishermen and bureaucrats. It is surely one of the most amusing books about life in France ever written in English.
Grace McKee Où est le 'Ping'?: Gascony - the fulfilment of a dream Pathologist Grace McKee tricked her unsuspecting husband Phillip into a French property-viewing holiday in June 1992, revealing her secret at 8am on their first morning in France. He made her promise not to buy anything unless it cost almost nothing - and only after a long discussion. A couple of days later they found Larroque, a 250-year-old stone house, nestling in the rolling hills of Gascony. After a two-minute conversation, they agreed to take out a second mortgage to buy it. It was in need of almost total renovation - a task that was to take the next seven years.
Peter Marsh Round and Round in Circles Adman Peter Marsh's lifelong love of yottin' finally found its zenith in the purchase of his own yacht, a 22' trailer/sailer which, after a season sailing around Anglesey and the coast of North Wales, he trailed to a lake in France and there spent the summer of a lifetime. Quite an adventure and one which Peter now wishes to share with others. This is the story of that adventure, a mildly scurrilous tale in which Peter makes observations of the people he encounters and places he visits, as well as some reminiscences, yarns of yottin' and life itself.
Peggy Anderson Lilac and Roses: Our home in the Cévennes sun Peggy and Alan Anderson bought a ruined farmhouse in the Ardèche in 1963 long before it had become fashionable. Set amidst vineyards and sweet chestnuts, it cost £900 and they spent the next ten years, and most of their savings, renovating it. Their friends thought they were mad but by the time the couple came to retire they had transformed the ruin into an enchanting home.
Eleanor Francis Butterflies on Mimosa This book has the sub-title "The pleasures and pitfalls of owning a gîte" and is about a couple who buy a cottage in Charente-Maritime as a holiday home. They decide to rent it out to holidaymakers in the summer so that the small amount of money raised this way can go towards the running expenses. Nothing is straightforward and they immediately learn to expect the unexpected.
Anne Loader The Bells of St Paradis: A Love affair with the Limousin Anne Loader’s amusing and honest books about life in her family’s 200-year-old Limousin farmhouse are a big hit with Francophile readers – who have begged her to continue the saga. “We’ve lived every moment with you,” is the most common comment. “Please tell us what happened next!”. This third book covering the period from August 1998 to April 2000, introduces new characters and situations as well as describing old friends and familiar places.
Louise Franklin Castanet Bananas in Bordeaux - Self-sufficiency for dreamers After Louise Franklin Castanet's French husband resigns from his hated job as a photocopier salesman the couple leave their Bordeaux flat and take on a riverside rented farm with their new baby and a growing menagerie of animals. The English born young mother keeps a daily diary of their adventures and the sub-title, "Self-sufficiency for dreamers", says it all. This witty and moving book is the ideal antidote to the metropolitan chick-lit genre of "Bridget Jones's Diary". It has 306 pages and colour illustrations by the author.
Sheila Wright Bon Courage, Mes Amis! Thoughts on restoring a rural ruin When Sheila Wright buys a ruined Limousin farmhouse at the "bottom end of the market" in 1994, she needs all the luck she can get. She even discovers a personal penchant for working with stone and mortar. Over the years she and her family renovate the building and bring it back to life, filling the granite-walled rooms with music and laughter. Sheila also writes about many other aspects of rural French life and her own experiences in the country. She has illustrated the book with pen and ink drawings.
Valerie Thompson The Hidden Triangle. A French Odyssey. When musician and artist Valerie Thompson bought an old stone house in a village on the banks of the Dordogne, it became a perfect holiday home and also opened the way for her to pursue her interest in the local culture, cuisine, arts, wildlife and history. This book not only tells about buying and renovating the house but is a veritable pot-pourri of all the French things that fascinate the author.
Gay Pyper Polly takes the Scenic Route. Through France by pony and trap. Map-reading and short cuts are not horse-mad Gay Pyper's forte, so when she declared her intention of driving across rural France from Normandy to Gascony by pony and trap the reaction of friends and relations was one of amazement. But soon the plans for the epic journey started to take up all her spare time, and everything seemed perfect when Polly the skewbald pony entered the Pypers' lives. Then Fate started to take a hand...
Pamela Barnett The Spirit of Mathilde
This novel of French family life set in the Corrèze department starts just after D-Day when a young British liaison officer stumbles across a village where German soldiers have brutally attacked the inhabitants, and gang-raped a vulnerable young girl.
Malcolm Alder-Smith 19 - Dix-neuf: Cuisine du terroir Corrézienne
Trained chef Malcolm Alder-Smith shares the delights of Corrézienne cuisine from the Limousin region of central France, where he and his wife Diane set up hillside guesthouse called La Maison de Quat'Saisons.
Alistair Scott and Sandy Thompson En Gard - Reflections of Rural France
Two city-dwellers who find their beautiful but neglected French house on the Internet move to the South of France and re-discover themselves. Along the way, they discover a skeleton in the grounds and learn to butcher a wild boar. Their neighbours, a gypsy family, drag them "kicking and screaming, singing and dancing" into French rural life.
Jan Bevan Keeping the Dream Alive
Jan Bevan continues the story of La Clède, begun in her mother's book "Lilac and Roses" (see above) and culminating in the family's 40 years in the Ardèche. The book is also a tribute to her partner Mike, without whom none of the recent restorations to "the old pile" - part of which is now rented out as holiday accommodation - would have been possible.
Anne Loader Souvenirs de St Dizier la Tour
This limited-edition A4 paperback book in French was published as the result of an exhibition of old photographs of the commune of St Dizier la Tour (Limousin) in August 2004, organised and staged by Anne and Jack Loader. It looks at the ten hamlets of the commune and their people, photographed between the late 1800s and about 1955. The text of this pictorial social history is in French and the title is only available from the publishers.
Anne Loader Images de St Dizier la Tour
This second limited-edition A4 paperback book in French resulted from a second exhibition of photographs of the commune of St Dizier la Tour (Limousin) organised by the Loaders in August 2005. It contains older photos which weren't available last year and a lot of more recent ones showing life in the commune from the 1950s onwards. The text of this pictorial social history is in French and the title is only available from the publishers. The book is dedicated to Pierre Lavédrine, who was mayor of the commune from 1959 to 1983. He had become a good friend and his death in November 2005 was a great loss to us and to the community.

There are always new books coming along so you can see what to expect in the future by looking at the Future Publications List. Where they have reached the stage that we have got an estimated publication date it is shown.

Francophile? Do you holiday in France? Do you have a house in France? Do you want to buy a house in France? Click on the link to see our other France related information... ALP's France Info Pages

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