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France with My Father: A Journey Through Memory, Art, Time, and Family    by Janine S. Volkmar order for
France with My Father
by Janine S. Volkmar
Order:  USA  Can
Daniel & Daniel, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Are you planning a driving tour of Provence? If so, you must, MUST, take France with my Father by Janine Volkmar with you. Janine and her father Pierre flew to Paris and started the journey of a lifetime. Pierre, 85 years old, drove with nary a misstep. The author calls their trip 'a journey through memory, art, time, and family'. Her depiction of the hotels, towns, villages, cathedrals, art and food is alone worth the price of the book.

The two spent three days in Paris. Then left that lovely city with marvelous memories to transport back home with them, slowly drifting south, choosing hotels in which to stay a day or two or three. Whatever suited them. Their main goal was to find the town in which Pierre's mother, Janine's beloved grandmother, Maman, had lived when Pierre was a boy. Tightening up her French, Janine was often told she had a very good accent. Pierre did well and they were both impressed with the French who were so very helpful and gracious.

They drove to Bordeaux and around the Dordogne. A trip of three weeks strengthened their relationship. As the middle one of five children, Janine never felt very close to her father. She acquired a new perception of this very calm and patient man.

Charles Volkmar and his son Leon, Janine's father's father, were well known and respected for their very fine pottery. Janine and Pierre were interested in learning more about Charles and Leon. In their pursuit, they traipsed through many museums and art galleries. What they did, where they went, where they stayed and what they ate is all chronicled in France with my Father. Names of so many artists trip off Janine's tongue.

Janine is also an author in another genre. She writes mysteries taking place in 1800 France featuring Paul Cezanne. Of course, she used the opportunity to do some background research. The whole trip placed them in another world. In so doing, they have also given us a trip to France. They have planned a second trip. Hope it provides the background for another wonderful travel book.

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