Wednesday, 6 July 2022

And now ... first review for "With bare feet and sandy toes"

I have said on many previous occasions that connecting with people around the world has been the best part of my writing journey. Readers have (mostly!) been supportive, encouraging and generous. And, despite being competitors in one sense, authors that I have bumped into virtually or in person have been keen to share successes and eager to chat about improving our craft and untangling marketing strategies.

Reviews are critical to remaining positively visible in bookstores and on Amazon, but waiting for them to drop after a publication can be tense. Mardi understands this as an author. But, we have a lot more in common than writing and the rollercoaster emotional ride that it engenders, as she explains in her review of "With bare feet and sandy toes" (below). It can be found on her blog along with information about her books, details of her cooking classes, her newsletter etc.

If you have not yet come across Mardi on  FacebookTwitter, Instagram may I recommend that you take a look at what she does. Right now, she is completing the final day of a six-year journey (not full-time) along the Camino de Santiago. Following her as she has walked has been a true joy, and prompted many a daydream. 

This is part of my Summer Reads series where I’ll be sharing book recommendations –  a series of “not just cookbooks”.

For Summer Reads this week, I’ve got another story that’s close to my heart!

Catherine Berry of But you are in France, Madame, and I have a lot in common. We’re both from Adelaide and both love  (and have lived in) France. A few years ago, I happened across Catherine over on Instagram (she’s also Our French Village House – another thing we have in common, rental properties in France that we operate from afar!) and downloaded her book, But you are in France, Madame and read it in one sitting. I loved that part of Catherine’s story (because I found out we had even more in common than just Adelaide and a love of France) – you can read my full review here) – and equally loved the follow-up story, Weaving a French Life: An Australian story which came out in 2020 (you can read my review here) where she describes the very delicate balance of loving two countries at the same time – something I know all too well about!

You can imagine my delight, then, when I discovered she had written a memoir all about growing up in Australia in the 1960s and 70s – what a PERFECT summer read and a trip down memory lane for me!

I read this book in one sitting thanks to jetlag, but also because it was so “more-ish” – each chapter had me nodding my head in recognition. Written to be read either as a stand-alone book to the first two or as a prelude, I’d say all the books make you want to read the others. This one completes the trilogy of Early Life – France – Australia (with her heart in France).

This book really transported me back to my childhood – the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Adelaide. I had to smile at SO many memories – from the warm milk “enjoyed” in the lunch “shed” at primary school, trips to the beach in summer, being subjected to confession at a Catholic school, and watching Test Cricket matches (sometimes over 5 days!) on the tv to the absolute wide-eyed wonder of a first trip to Europe as a teenager, there was SO much in here that I related to/ remembered.

Life really was simple when I was growing up in Australia and this is a very accurate depiction of that time. It’s a delightful breath of fresh air as Catherine remembers her hopes, dreams, and fears growing up in a more innocent time. For anyone who has happy memories of a simpler life as a child (wherever you grew up), who wants a book that will put a smile on your face or who wonders what life “down under” looked like 50 years ago, this is a PERFECT beach, couch, porch, backyard, plane or train read for the summer!

Thank you, Mardi and congratulations on your Camino journey. One day to go ...

Here again are my three books. Clicking on the links should take you to where you need to go wherever you are in the world to make a purchase.

Merci et bonne lecture


  1. Just finished the new book on Kindle. Loved it!
    Looking forward to whatever book comes next... xx

  2. Thank you so much. Appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

  3. You're welcome. I absolutely adored it. In many ways, it was very similar to growing up in England in 50s and 60s.
    Stay safe.

  4. PS - recommended to my Cousin too!

    1. I really appreciate your support. Thank you so much.