picnic in provence book coverReviewed by Alysia George

Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes is the lovely follow-up to Elizabeth Bard’s best-selling memoir, Lunch in Paris. Bard continues to chronicle her life as an American living in France as she moves from being a newlywed in Paris to becoming a new mother and starting a brand new business venture in Provence. Everything is tied together cohesively with the common topic of food, each chapter ending with a few recipes that have been referenced or alluded to throughout that chapter.

As a reader who is not particularly enthused about cooking, I did little more than skim over the recipes. With that admission, these recipes are not as intimidating as I assumed at first glance. In fact, they are fairly simple and easy to follow, with most ingredients being readily available, even in an American kitchen. This book will be making its way into my cookbook cupboard.

Bard has an easy way with words, describing her fish out of water experience in such a way that makes the French countryside come alive with a dreamy ambiance. Although at the time of her move to Provence she had already been living in France for a decade, Bard was facing an entirely different way of life, and an, at times, overwhelming initiation process – not only into country living, but also into motherhood and, eventually, into the role of ice cream shop proprietor. She makes herself relatable through the telling of her struggles and triumphs, and is an inspiration for those who need a little nudge toward seizing exciting opportunities and realizing their hopes and dreams.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Little, Brown and Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.