Twenty or so years ago, my husband and I made the crazy purchase of a dilapidated chateau in Central France.
It was love at first sight. We saw La Mulatiere on a grim February day with snow threatening. Outside it was so foggy we couldn’t see the view. But even if there’d been a Nuclear Power Station next door we were going to have it.
My optimistic estimate that we would be straight-ish in three months stretched out to a good three years. We had to sell up in the UK to fund it all, but aided by heroic Work-Away volunteers and my bungled efforts of shabby-chic-ing charity buys, we were eventually up and running.
Meanwhile I’d become obsessed by Angel and Dick Strawbridge’s “Escape to the Chateau”. I identified with them and the many other Brits I saw facing the same challenges as we had. I also wanted to share my story, but being a writer by trade, the obvious way was a to write a book.
I could have written “My Escape to the Chateau” as a straight-forward autobiographical account. But during the renovations, I found objects lost, buried or hidden by the chateau’s previous occupants. Curiosity took me on a trip into the past. I had to find out who these people were and what their lives were like. Ten years of research yielded a mass of fascinating facts. “My Escape to the Chateau” is a fictional love story into which I’ve woven the lives of people who have lived in the chateau over the past 250 years.