Paulette Tourdes was born in Jussac, a village in south-west Auvergne, in 1916. She spent half of her childhood there and half in the nearby town of Aurillac, growing up as part of a large extended family in typically rustic rural France.
She went to Spain for several months at the start of the Civil War, and not long after moved to England, having met her future husband in France; they were married in 1941. This is her colourful story, based in part on recordings she made in 2002, told by the eldest of her children, Martin.
It is a tale of two languages and two cultures, overshadowed by two World Wars, political uncertainties and mental illness. It examines what it means to leave your homeland and to embrace another and, for the children, the challenges of growing up bilingual. Sometimes funny, parfois triste, this is a story that explores the strong bonds between the two countries from a deeply personal level.
‘A sensitive, thoughtful, well-constructed piece of writing – a rare treat to read something contemporary that’s as well written and quietly nourishing as this is!’ – Susan Wicks, author of Driving My Father
‘A gripping, moving account of a love affair across cultures, languages, and the English Channel.’ – Western Morning News