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A Gift from Brittany

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  159 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The enchanting memoir of an artist's liberating sojourn in France during the sixties?and the friendship that transformed her life
While in her late twenties, Marjorie Price leaves the comfort of her Chicago suburb to strike out on her own in Paris and hone her artistic talents. Dazzled by everything French, she falls in love with a volatile French painter and they purchas
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Gotham Books (first published 2008)
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May 17, 2009 Carey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1960 twenty-eight year old Marjorie Price did a daring and brave thing. She bought a ticket on a transatlantic ship to Paris, third class. Alone. Her family and friends (who call her Midge) are shocked and dismayed. Young ladies just don't DO that in 1960. But Midge is determined. She is an artist, a painter, and Paris is where artists are nurtured, taught, inspired.

Of course, she meets a man. Fellow artist, and native Frenchman, Yves sweeps Midge off her feet and they are soon married. They
To be honest, I still sometimes judge a book by its cover. (I know, shoot me) At first I thought this was going to be another book about some lady who moves to France, falls in love and blah, blah, blah. It ended up being so much more. The story pulled me in and elicited emotions within me that usually remain dormant. Definitely a book that I fell in love with.
Jun 15, 2009 Sunni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very light, pleasant read. Not so much about her love story with her husband (always hard to imagine putting up with such brutish behavior...and it wasn't just because it was the 1960s); but her love story with the village and one motherly figure she meets there.
May 15, 2009 Harvee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review, from

I thought at the beginning that A Gift from Brittany would be a book along the lines of Frances Mayes' Tuscany books - "love letters" to Italy that are light, mostly cheerful accounts of life in Tuscany.

Marjorie Price's life-altering experience living in an obscure hamlet in Brittany, France, however, the author describes as a "Memoir of Love and Loss in the French Countryside." Though it has cheerful and colorful aspects, the memoir is a poig
Dennis Mitton
Jan 02, 2015 Dennis Mitton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Gift From Brittany can be viewed from many angles. Francophiles will love the descriptions of 1960s French country life. The author, Marjorie Price – Midge – moves to the French countryside where electricity is not a given, running water is rare, and outhouses are common. For the same reasons, advocates of Slow philosophy will nod in agreement with life set to the tempo of seasons and cows. It’s easy to miss, though, that this is very much a feminist book.

Imagine the early 1960’s in Midwest Am
Sarah Beth
This charming memoir recounts the author's experiences of an American woman living alone in the Breton countryside and her deep and life altering friendship with an elderly peasant woman. Originally purchased as a summer home, Midge finds herself living alone with her daughter in the Breton farmhouse when her marriage falls apart. Unexpectedly, this painter from Chicago forms a close bond with Jeanne, a peasant woman who has never travelled outside of her village. Although Midge eventually moves ...more

A Gift from Brittany is tagged as "A memoir of love and loss in the French Countryside." Although that is true, I do not think that the book is best described as such. This book is best classified as a (late blooming) coming-of-age memoir in the French Countryside.

Midge, a young artist in 1960, starts on a journey towards self-discovery the minute she lands in France. This journey is put on hold abruptly after her arrival, due to meeting and marrying an exciting and promising artist, the self-p

Jun 04, 2011 Joje rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am enjoying this book, even if I know Brittany fairly well, because it is from an earlier time than I know it. And of course, there's a little voice in the back of my head saying it in French, as she writes it in English, which is probably how she lives, too. The telling is effective and easy to follow, and I am particularly caught in the question of how it comes out with her husband. In fact the relation to that husband was being described very well until she moved back to the old house to av ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a compelling memoir, of the author's ten years living in France, first in Paris and then in a tiny village. She is an artist who married an artist and this is more interesting than the typical "how I refurbished a stone cottage" story of life in a remote village. Her struggles to paint when her husband forbade her and her deep friendship with an older lady, Jeanne, are at the heart of this story.
There are 4 themes: her marriage, at times passionate and troubled. Moving to the village. He
Mike Debaptiste
Mar 16, 2009 Mike Debaptiste rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, travel
I really enjoyed this book about the remote French countryside in Brittany. In 1960 a young Midge leaves home and family in Chicago to go to Paris to paint. She meets a charismatic young French beatnik artist, falls in love, marries him, and they eventually move to a summer place in remote Brittany where she meets an older woman, Jeanne, with whom she establishes a life-time friendship. This book is a tribute to the woman Jeanne, and I fell madly in love with her instantly- reminded me of my pea ...more
Mar 05, 2009 Monika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2013 Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in the summer and loved the uncomfortable true story of an American artist who takes herself to France at a time when young women did NOT do this kind of thing. She meets up with a French artist who, of course, makes her subsume her own art for supporting him and his. When she finds herself the owner of an old farm in Brittany she learns to communicate with an old woman from the area who speaks a local dialect and they can't speak anything in common. But somehow through the friendship ...more
Apr 22, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir focuses on a specific time in Price's life when she was in her twenties, moving from Chicago to Paris in the 1960s. She meets and marries a Frenchman and they divide their time between their home in Paris and a farm (half a hamlet, to be exact) in the French countryside. Price writes of her disintegrating marriage but burgeoning friendship with her neighbor, an elderly, uneducated woman named Jeanne. Price's story is a perfect example of the alchemy of an out-of-the-ordinary friendsh ...more
Sandy T
Sep 01, 2009 Sandy T rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The description of this book calls it "enchanting" and I will have to agree! It is a lovely little memoir of an American artist who moved to Paris in 1960. She fell in love with a French artist and they moved to a hamlet in the remote countryside. The author painted a beautiful picture of the country and the peasants who inhabited it, with their long-held traditions and very primitive life. But mostly it was a story of friendship--the kind that transcends time and place and unites two completely ...more
Christel Knudsen-Maska
A treasured book. Marjorie Price writes with the color and precision of the painter she is. I learned about Brittany- the people, the language and the old country way of life. I read this book a second time to once again savor the gnarled, robust, wintry scenes... the sunny summer mornings, the wise words of the elderly peasant woman Jeanne Montrelay and the author's own passionate thoughts on love and art and the expression of both.

I really liked Marjorie Price's writing style. She made the book very readable. I would love to visit some of the places she described in her book.

I enjoyed reading this story of friendship between two women who were very unlike each other and who were from enormously different backgrounds. The connection and friendship between Midge and Jeannne doesn't happen very often in life and it was a true gift.

Jul 29, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i loved this book. it's been a few months since i read it. but the friendship between the young foreigner and the older peasant woman is one you will never forget. there could have been a clash of cultures, but instead there was a wonderful sharing of themselves and their cultures. the friend ship between them reminds me just a bit of the friendship between the older woman and the young man in 'mrs. palfrey at the claremont' - which i also loved.
Aug 21, 2008 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Karen by: found it at the library
I enjoy learning about other countries when I read; their language, their customs--and this is one of the best books I've read in that respect. If you like art, women, and children, you'll enjoy the book. "Midge" vividly paints what it was like to live in a secluded French village in the country during the 1960s. No gratuitous anything, just all about how a woman can survive loss, yet still live and grow.
Dec 15, 2008 lmkbigsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me of Under the Tuscan Sun with its expatriate author and a cast of characters with whom you feel a strong kinship. There were some dark moments for the author and certainly no romantic entanglements for her. I found myself cheering proudly for the author as she got herself sorted out with the help of these Britons and their country ways and common sense.
Jun 18, 2008 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely little memoir of an American artist who moved to Paris in 1960. This book painted a beautiful picture of the french country and the peasants who inhabited it, with their ancient ways of life removed from the comforts of the world. It was also a story of friendship-the kind that transcends time and place, to unite two dissimilar women. Very good.
Stephen Castley
Jan 29, 2016 Stephen Castley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Price has written a beautiful book about a time 50 years ago. This memoir is honest and heart felt. I loved the writing and the insights into a time that has disappeared. Her search for an artistic life came at a price, but true friendship was also discovered.
It is an enjoyable read and one that will keep you turning the pages.
Nov 30, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Fascinating memoir, set in the 1960's in France. This was well written and compelling because of the uniqueness of the setting and the perspective of an artist. I found it hard to put this book down and read it fast, in gulps.
Dec 26, 2011 SiriJodha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was enchanted by this book. Provided lots of food for thought, since I might relocate someday to a culture other than the one I've grown up in. A feminist treatise, of sorts, but with a very soft, compassionate touch.
My primary interest in this title is in the info regarding the countryside of Brittany. I found some interesting connections to my French heritage. It's a nice read, but not at the top of my list to recommend.
Mar 12, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ended up really enjoying this quiet little memoir that gave a glimpse into a world long gone in France. But what I loved most about it was that it was the story of the power of friendship between women...that transcended language, culture, and age barriers. Very touching in that regard.
Jun 23, 2016 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-history
She did more than describe the area, she described the people she met and how they affected her life. It was a very heartwarming book, full of how relationships negatively and positively impact a life.
Marie Turner
Jul 24, 2012 Marie Turner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story of love in loss in the French countryside. Marjorie forms an unlikely friendship with a peasant woman and learns to live alone and thrive in a foreign land. Pat Mann's book.
Dec 01, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful story and of course the setting was extra-ordinary! More wonderful glimpses into France.
Oct 23, 2010 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Things have changed! The memoir covers the early-mid '60s. I'm glad she loved and glad she lost love. (Subtitle: a memoir of love and loss in the French countryside)
A memoir of an American woman's living in Brittany in the 1960s. She forms a deep relationship with an elderly peasant woman that crosses cultures.
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