Wish us luck (Souhaitez-nous bonne chance)! + Putting the cart before the horse (la charrue avant les boeufs)...
Arsenic in my omelette? Animal instincts + French vocabulary you won't find in a textbook (like the slang word for concierge...)

What does “Féerique” mean in French? + compare translations of our bilingual book synopsis

Kristi and Jean-Marc Espinasse
Photo of me and Jean-Marc in 1991. Today, enjoy an extended sound file in French as Jean-Marc summarizes our story. Now that our vineyard memoir is written, we have arrived at a critical step: finding an agent and then a publisher for the hardcopy edition. Your help is vital! Please study the following synopsis in English and in French, and help answer the questions that follow.

Today’s Word: féerique

-magical, stellar, enchanting, fairy tale

The Lost Gardens is the story of a man who pursues his dream of making the ultimate Bandol wine. After experiencing the harvest at his uncle’s vineyard in the world-renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Jean-Marc Espinasse makes a life-changing decision. He quits his job as an accountant in the cosmopolitan city of Marseille, and moves his young family, including his American wife, to an isolated domaine in the windy, inhospitable Rhone Valley. There begins an unbridled pursuit of his wine fantasy, which takes him on a whirlwind of bipolar ups and downs.

In a take-turns husband/wife narrative, Jean-Marc chronicles his battle with a longtime mood disorder, aggravated by a mysterious family tragedy, and his painful struggle as he comes up against a never-ending string of obstacles at the vineyard--from a near-death accident in his wine cellar, and again on his tractor, to the ultimate threat of a lawsuit which leads to his final breakdown and loss of the winery. In her chapters, Kristi shares her determination to stay sober on two consecutive vineyards, her own struggles with anxiety, and her escape into blogging and gardening. Throughout the story, she considers the mystery of love as she analyses her difficult relationship with her soulmate, from its fairytale beginning in the South of France to a total breakdown of the heart when the love is lost, somewhere among the wine and the vines.

With the vineyard and gardens slipping away, the couple has nowhere to turn but to each other. Through the storm there emerges a story of faith, hope, and love, and what it means to stay committed in the darkest moments.

Audio recording: Click here to listen to the book synopsis in French

The Lost Gardens est l'histoire d'un homme qui poursuit son rêve d'élaborer le nec plus ultra des vins de Bandol. Après une vendange chez son oncle, dans le célèbre vignoble de Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Jean-Marc Espinasse a une révélation. Il quitte son emploi de comptable dans la ville cosmopolite de Marseille et installe sa jeune famille, y compris sa femme américaine, dans un domaine isolé de la Vallée du Rhône, venteuse et inhospitalière. C'est là que commence la poursuite effrénée de son rêve de vigneron, qui l'entraîne dans un tourbillon de hauts et de bas bipolaires.

Dans un récit à tour de rôle, Jean-Marc raconte son combat contre ses troubles de l'humeur de longue date, aggravés par une mystérieuse tragédie familiale, et sa lutte douloureuse contre une série interminable d'obstacles au vignoble - d'un accident qui frôle la mort dans son chai, et un autre sur son tracteur ou la menace ultime d'un procès qui le mène à sa dépression finale et à la perte du vignoble. Dans ses chapitres, Kristi parle de sa détermination à rester sobre dans deux vignobles consécutifs, de ses propres luttes contre l'anxiété et de son mode d'évasion dans le blogging et le jardinage. Tout au long de l'histoire, elle se penche sur le mystère de l'amour en analysant la relation difficile qu'elle entretient avec son âme sœur, depuis son arrivée féerique dans le sud de la France jusqu'à son désespoir lorsque l'amour se perd, quelque part parmi le vin et les vignes.

Avec ces jardins qui leur échappent, le couple n'a plus qu'à se tourner l'un vers l'autre. À travers la tempête émerge une histoire de foi, d'espoir et d'amour et de ce que rester engagé signifie dans les moments les plus sombres.


1. An important question that publishers will want to know is this: What other books out there on the market resemble our story? In reading the synopsis above, does our account bring to mind anything else you have ever read with a similar theme? Please name those books in the comments section.

2. Does the English-to-French translation reflect the subtleties within the text? Do you have any suggestions or corrections?

3. What new words did you learn today via our text? We hope this bilingual edition has been as helpful to you as it has been to us. Thank you very much for your help with our book!

For more about our story and/or to purchase the current online edition, click here.

Our farmhouse as Mas des Brun

Jean-Marc and Kristi Espinasse
Photo of Jean-Marc and me by Suzanne Delperdang Willis Land. The "Real Men Drive Tractors" was a gift from our friends Chris and George. Thank you for sharing this post with anyone who may be interested in our story. 

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety