One Sip at a Time by Keith Van Sickle

Written by on February 13, 2017 in Book Reviews And Interviews

Adobe Photoshop PDFOne Sip at a Time: Can a two-career couple really pick up stakes and move to Provence? Keith Van Sickle tells a humorous tale of the adventures (and misadventures) of a couple of Americans who  quit their jobs, become consultants and split their time between two countries. Laugh along as they build a life in Provence, slowly mastering a new language and making friends with the locals over long meals and just a bit too much wine. If you’ve ever dreamed of changing gears and learning what joie de vivre is really all about, you won’t want to miss this delightful book.

Review of One Sip at a Time

Little did Californian Keith and his wife Val realise that in accepting a works posting to the French speaking Neuchatel in Switzerland, it would become the catalyst which changed their lives forever. Returning home after loving their five years in Switzerland, the couple decided to take the bull by the horns and become self-employed consultants.

With their new employment came the freedom to follow their dream, and for periods of time live in Provence, France.  They wanted to enjoy the brilliant weather, explore the amazing countryside, marvel at the fascinating architecture and culture of the area, and revel in its many culinary delights. So together with their dog Lucca, they headed for Provence, keen to not only enjoy exploring this wonderful country, but also to integrate, make friends, learn the language, and understand French culture, and customs.

Keith and Val stay in three different locations over three long spring holidays in the following years. Mollégès in the Bouches-du-Rhône, Ventabren in Aix-en-Provence, and Le Thor in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

As an English ex-pat living in France for over ten years, I found myself, laughing at Keith’s descriptions of some everyday aspects of life in France, things which you just have to accept when here, such as their obsession with tail-gating and need to drive at breakneck speed all the time, and the fact that only pharmacies can sell any medicinal product.

I loved so many things about this book, including his description of the difficulty they had with picking their favourites, when faced with the delicious breads, pastries, and gateaux available at the multitude of boulangeries.

What shines through in this book also is the enormous pride the French people have in their local produce and regional specialities. Throughout France there are some wonderful festivals and celebrations of local produce, and the French peoples’ patriotism and their fidelity to France is wonderful to see, always, if possible, buying local produce at the local markets which can be found in nearly every village, however small.

Keith and Val’s determination to learn the language, is admirable and sees them making many French friends and acquaintances, which in turn gives the reader lovely insights into normal family life in France and the importance they put on the family and eating together.

So what is the most memorable part of this book for me? Is it the anecdotes about French life, the exploration of the language, the author’s descriptions of the beautiful scenery? Or the fact that the observations are witty and rich, a feel-good, spirit-lifting read. Well, to be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page of this enthralling book and reveled in the nuggets of information it contains, but I have to admit, I am still fascinated by those tight white pants…

Whether you are looking for insights into ‘real’ France and the French people, or a light read, I can thoroughly recommend this entertaining book.

Available from Amazon.

Related Articles

Eight Months in Provence by Diane Covington-Carter

American Diane Covington-Carter was obsessed with France. She had spent her youth listening to her father’s wartime tales, studying French, and saving every spare penny to go there on her junior year abroad when she finished school. Alas this was not to be, and instead she found herself becoming a young married mother. However, two […]

Continue Reading

Hosting Hapless Helpers by Karen Luff

Now you can discover the truth about what it is like to host helpers for your projects in your own home. Karen Luff, the author, left her native UK with her husband and five-year-old son for a new life in France in 2005. The large house they fell in love with is called Le Chataignier, […]

Continue Reading

Review of Minced, Marinated and Murdered by Noël Balen and Vanessa Barrot

What do you get when you have two authors, Noël Balen a writer and musician with over thirty mystery books to his name, and his corporate lawyer wife Vanessa Barrot who originates from a family of Parisian restaurant owners? The answer is: a great murder mystery story set in Lyon, the second largest city in […]

Continue Reading

A day with Marie-Antoinette book review

Marie-Antoinette, that’s all you have to say and most people will know immediately that you’re talking of the Queen of France who lost her head. She is a legend more than 200 years after her death. Famous for her fashion and her farmhouse at the Chateau of Versailles. Famous for her scented gloves and silk […]

Continue Reading

The Christmas Cottage by Patricia Dixon

The third novel by Patricia Dixon sees a festive return to the tiny French village of Pierre de Fontaine. Nestled amongst the sleepy hills and misty valleys of the Loire you will be transported to crisp, winter mornings and star filled, moonlit nights. Relax around a glowing log fire and enjoy a taste of Noël […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top