Avec le plus grand soin: Meet Arnaud Chevalier

Se livrer: Jean-Marc and I are writing a book!

Jean-Marc and I are finally telling the story of why we packed up and left our beloved vineyard. Our co-authored memoir is titled The Lost Gardens and the first chapter is online now. This book-in-progress can be purchased via the link at the end of this post. Thank you and please wish us bonne chance.

Today's Word: se livrer

    : to surrender, to give oneself up to, be engaged

THE LOST GARDENS: a memoir by Jean-Marc and Kristi Espinasse

In August of 2017 my family and I said adieu to our heavenly domain by the sea. Here, beside the famous Bandol appellation, my husband, Jean-Marc, had planted his vineyard from scratch, and here is where I fell in love with a garden (and not just any garden...). In the midst of clearing, planting, and harvesting, we began to fix up the 19-century mas centered in the middle of it all.

But this is not a book about renovating a French farmhouse. And our story is nothing like the Hollywood hit: 'A Good Year.'

Indeed, it was one hell of a decade! Between hailstorms and compost heists, we survived the first vineyard (2007-2012) only to have our spirits pelted and our dreams stolen at the second domain (2012-2017). Jean-Marc and I have wanted to write about this experience for a long time. This, dear reader, is the story of Mas des Brun. 

If you would like to follow along as Jean-Marc and I write our vineyard memoir, chapter by chapter, you can purchase the online edition--the sections will be posted after they are written. Jean-Marc and I will take turns telling this story from our own perspectives, until the very last chapter.

Excerpt from The Lost Gardens:

A creak at the door woke me from my trance. There was my husband of 22 years. The Frenchman who, letter by steamy love letter, wooed me back to his country. The father of my children. The man whose every inspiration I had followed, no matter where it led us. (Except for the time he wanted to move to Healdsburg, California, in search of American grapes. No! I put my foot down then. France was my home now, even if we were about to uproot once again.)

Watching Jean-Marc approach, I set aside the towel I had been folding: the cloth was stiff and bristly from drying on the clothesline (our dryer broke down at our previous vineyard--at which point it seemed like a good time to practice the French art of hanging the laundry: oh, the romantic illusions we create in order to withstand unconventional living.)

My husband studied me for a few moments, his hazel eyes soft and tender before he said those unforgettable words:

"I will understand if you want to leave me."


Kristin and Jean-Marc Espinasse by Cynthia Gillespie-Smith
photo by Cynthia Gyllespie-Smith

Please Note:

=> The online edition is $29. You will receive two codes (a login and a password) to access the book site, where the story is already underway.

=> Your purchase of our book-in-progress, The Lost Gardens, is non-refundable, and does not include any future editions (paperback, hardbound, ebook...) in the purchase price.

=> As a partly interactive book (comments are welcome at the end of each chapter), your words, suggestions, emails on the topic are part of this book, could be used in future versions (or simply in marketing), and are hereafter copyright of the book's authors, Jean-Marc and Kristi Espinasse.

=> In a nutshell, you are purchasing/reading/participating in this book at your own risk and promise not to sue the authors.

Thank you for your understanding. Now, let's get on with this story! Chapter one is ready--click the link below to begin.

The Lost Gardens: A Memoir -- Buy it via the link below.