The Thornton family started their new lives in Southern France with a lorry full of glassmaking equipment, two young children, and only naïve optimism and 500€ in their pockets.
What followed was a seventeen-year rollercoaster ride of navigating the baffling French education and legal systems, setting up a business, and turning a scorpion-infested ruin into a home . . . not to mention encounters along the way with a motley collection of molesters, thieves, kidnappers, and corrupt politicians.
It is also a story of eccentric characters and inspiring friendships, all told with compassion and humor and a smattering of historical and cultural facts.
“If you enjoy books about moving to other countries, and love a bit of humour, this easy to read book is for you. I love the writer’s style, it’s very light-hearted, self-deprecating and enjoyable – a real page-turner. Rachel Caldecott brings locations and characters to life in her writing, and you feel like you are living her trials and celebrations with her as you read along. Recommended.” 5* Amazon Review by Simon Michael Prior, author of The Coconut Wireless
“A humorous counter-narrative of the typical sun-dappled French memoir, this story nevertheless crackles with bohemian joy, larger-than-life characters, sly details that will have you howling with laughter, and a wonderful sense of art, life, adventure, and catastrophe… also some wonderful glimpses of glassblower life.” Amazon 5* Review by Glassblower, Laurie Bousquet, formerly of Corning Museum of Glass
“Not your typical “I packed up and moved to France” memoir, this book does not claim that the experience was all wine and roses. I felt it gave me a much deeper look into what the adventure REALLY entailed.” Amazon 5* Review
“Some of the stories of their life in the southern French town of Lodève were horrific, others funny, and others really lovely. I found the whole family’s gutsy attitude to their relentless series of misfortunes admirable and I take my hat off to them all for their courage in staying and surviving. From the first page to the last, I gasped, laughed, cried and ultimately cheered as I read about their wonderful refugee work.” 5* Amazon review by Val Poore award-winning blogger and travel author
It is extremely well written with a light touch. The delightful style draws you into the author’s world as if you were a friend. I often found myself smiling as I read and nodding in agreement. 5* Amazon review by Stephe Coombes, author of Broken Fingers
Rachel’s writing is smooth and humorous. The dialogue amongst the characters leaves you feeling that you know them. How will they overcome all of the difficult things they encounter while learning to live, work, and study in a strange culture? Do they? I highly recommend this book. 5* Amazon Review by Sue Raymond
“As entertaining as they are, you can keep your wedding-hosting, chateau-restoring couples who have cashed in their over-priced London homes, here is a family on the breadline clinging onto life with resilience, verve and often penniless joie de vivre.” Amazon 5* Review
“The author writes in an easy conversational style – you really get a sense of her and her family. Down to earth, open, curious, compassionate, generous, honest: this a family you’d want to spend time with not just to understand how making such a move has worked given the odds but because they are just really good people.” Amazon 5* Review