The House in France – Book Review

Jun 20, 2011

With exquisitely beautiful and frank detail, author Gully Wells shares in her memoir The House of France the memories she has of her mother Dee Wells and her step-father Sir Alfred Jules “Freddie” Ayer as she grew up in London, Paris and in their summer home situated between Toulon and Marseille all amongst the royal, social and political elite.

Wells consistently paints images of a young girl coming to understand her mother through her writing, the eccentricities she observed and why it was her mother became the fierce independent woman who spoke her mind with such resolute conviction being the glamorous and often rebellious American journalist who wrote for The Guardian, The New York Times as well as authored a successful book titled Jane released in 1973. Explaining how her mother’s wisdom clearly molded her into the woman she became, Wells giftedly tells a seemingly objective description that isn’t always flattering, but always intriguing; however, throughout the entire piece there is an undercurrent of utter love and adoration that can’t be contained in the last few pages as she writes about her return to her mother’s house in France and how after six years following her mother’s death she is finally able to return as she has never been without her mother present until at that very moment.

Beginning in Paris where her mother and father met and married, readers will be delighted, shocked, impressed and charmed by this wonderfully scripted memoir that is a traveler’s dream and a daughter’s reality.

“’Take a chance’ – this was the precept she had always lived by, the impulse that had propelled her forward, the belief she clung to as fervently as any of the pilgrims who worshipped at the shrine of Notre-Dame du Beausset-Vieux, in that tiny chapel on top of the hill, behind our house.”

Click here to order The House in France: A Memoir by Gully Wells from Amazon for $17.07
Pages: 320
Publisher: Knopf
Available beginning: June 21, 2011

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3 thoughts on “The House in France – Book Review

  1. Thanks for this review! Sounds like a great read. I’ll have to add it to my summer reading list. It reminds me of a book I read last year called Them by Francine du Plessix Gray. In it she writes of her mother Tatiana du Plessix and stepfather Alexander Liberman (of Conde Nast fame) and their influence (not always good) on her growing up in wartime Europe and then becoming a part of New York City’s cultural elite. It was a great book and I’d highly recommend it.

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