In the style of Almost French and A Year in Provence, Charlie and Me in Val-Paradis it is a beautiful tale of friendship, adventure and discovery set in the south-west of France.
Maureen Cashman along with her beloved poodle Charlie pack up their lives in Canberra and move to the other side of the world, settling in a small village in the valley of Cele River in south-west France. Maureen's aim was to spend some time away from her homeland, writing an epic historical novel set in the Australian outback.
Charlie and Me in Val-Paradis encompasses the two and a half years Maureen and Charlie spent living in an ancient priory in the little town of Espagnac-St-Eualie. As the two settle into life in the small French town, Maureen begins to realise that the creative ideas for her novel are just not flowing. Filled with guilt, she begins to write about their daily life.
Evolving from these notes and emails sent home to family and friends, Charlie and Me in Val-Paradis follows Maureen and Charlie's life and adventures in the town of Val-Paradis; the friends they made amongst the villages; of stories, traditions and legends of the areal the routines and rituals of life in a small rural French village, of the memorable meals they shared and of how they grow to love the town and its people, making it hard for them to leave.
With Charlie by her side, Maureen was exposed to aspects of village life that she wouldn't have been accessible without himl he was her passport to friendship in the village, helping start conversations and winning the local's hearts.
Together Maureen and Charlie discover a completely different pace of life, a stunning landscape and a dramatic turn of the seasons. They also discovered that they were living in a culinary hotspot with amazing chesses and table fare that converted an almost-vegetarian Maureen into a lover of fame and even foie gras.
Charlie and Me in Val-Paradis is a charming story set in the beautiful French countryside and is a delightful, insightful and gently humorous tale of life in paradise.
Maureen Cashman grew up in Sydney. She has an Honours degree in English and a Masters in Education, and has taught in Australia and abroad. She has also worked for the Commonwealth Department for Education and has written many professional texts as well as numerous stories and poems.
In 2005, after their time in Espagnac in the south-west of France, Maureen and Charlie returned to Australia and settled back in Canberra.
Charlie and Me in Val-Paradis
Simon and Schuster Australia
Author: Maureen Cashman