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FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU: An American Boy in France ~ Thad Carhart

Monday, July 11th, 2016

“Long before mass tourism and globalization, France was simple, soulful, and every inch stimulating.  Carhart knew it all and shares this with us with the deftness and insight of a master storyteller.”  (Cover:  Leonard Pitt, author of WALKS THROUGH LOST PARIS)

FINDING FONTAINBEBLEAU is a beguiling memoir of post war France with loving stories about baguettes and penmanship learned with quill pens and black ink.  I enjoyed every page and every story in this book and was sad when I turned the last page.  At age 4, Carhart’s military family was moved from the Virginia suburbs to Fontainebleau, France.  The family celebrated their move with trips all over the countryside and discoveries while attending French schools.  With five children and a big old “woodie” Chevy station wagon they explored.  The author captures a great deal about French culture and habits.  It is a remarkable story.

The Nazi invasion truly made a difference to the hearts and minds of the French and the subtle protections on the individual levels are recorded in the stories.  PBS is doing a series on the importance of NATO and this story talks about the beginnings of those treaties.  War changes so much.
About the Author

The son of an air force officer, Thad Carhart grew up in a variety of places, including Washington, D.C.; Fontainebleau, France; Minneapolis; Amherst, Massachusetts; and Tokyo. After graduating from Yale, he worked for the State Department as an interpreter. His first book, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, appeared in 2000, published by Random House. Across the Endless River, a historical novel came out in 2009 with Doubleday. He lives in Paris. (AMAZON)

Thad Carhart Website
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I was constantly thinking about who I wanted to share this book with and for what occasion.  Carhart has returned to France with his family as an adult and has been given tours by the architect who is refurbishing The Castle Fontainebleau.  The layers of tile, the roofing material, the commitment of the people of France to their historic sites and the damage done by millions of tourists as they visit is fascinating.  Then the stories of the Kings, Queens, Mistresses and how they changed the buildings and added on to the design, and how consistent and authentic the designs and repairs were to the original buildings – fascinating.

The author’s Mother and the recorded stories about the 5 siblings and their adjustments to a new house and country are loving and often humorous.  The word delightful just keeps coming to mind.

I just wrapped up my copy for the biking architect in my family as his birthday is tomorrow and he will so enjoy this story to the max.  It did make me want to visit France and particularly Fontainebleau.  I have been excitedly talking about the book at my book groups as even though it is a very different read, I think they will enjoy the look at the 50s and what it would be like to be transplanted, not knowing the language, as a child.

TLC Book Tours   sent this book to me for review and it is wonderful.

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GLIMPSING HEAVEN: The Stories and Science of Life After Death ~Judy Bachrach

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

“It’s a tough thing to reexamine previous beliefs and lay oneself open to completely different conclusions.  For myself, I happen to know that all too well.
“Because, I realize as I write this book, I have spent almost my entire life being wrong.  And sometimes you can reconcile what you think now with what you thought before.  But in this instance, you cannot.”  (Page 185)

Judy Bachrach is a professional journalist with a long and distinguished career, who was a volunteer in a Hospice program for many years.  She believed that when we die we are gone, there is nothing more, until she began collecting stories from folks who had died and come back to life. They carried with them memories of a different life; she began interviewing the death travelers.

GLIMSPING HEAVEN is a compellation of six years of interviews and diligent research with top medical researchers, professionals and those who have experienced living after death.  Many of the death travelers are silent about their journey because so many individuals believe they are judged to be mentally ill, but when they do share their memories, “These memories are in many instances both verifiable and chillingly accurate.” (Promotion material)

I feel it is a privilege to have been asked by TCL Book Tours   and National Geographic Books to read and review this book.  Thank you for this opportunity.

The writing style in GLIMPSING HEAVEN is quite lovely and it is a gentle reveal and pursuit.  Bachrach has interviewed worldwide experts on death traveler memories and then numerous personal stories of folks who have experienced life after death.    The reader is amazed at all the new information, discoveries, and the sheer number of people who share this experience since the invention of CPR.

The reader will be diving into their belief systems and asking the questions: What do I believe about death and beyond?  What does my belief inform me about living my life?

I expect a level of excellence when I see NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is involved and I was not disappointed at all with this terrific read and exploration adventure.

From the promotional material about the author:

“JUDY BACHRACH is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine.  She is a longtime journalist whose early career was spent at The Washington Post, as after which she became an on-air television critic for Maryland Public Broadcasting, film critic for WRC-TV, critic for NPR’s All Things Considered and a political columnist for The Washington Star.  Bachrach has covered notable figures such as Amanda Knox, Lou Dobbs, attorney General John Ashcroft, Stephen Hawking, Nigella Lawson, one time Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Sheryl Crow, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie of Monaco and others.  She is the author of TINA AND HARRY COME TO AMERICA (the biography of Vanity Fair and New Yorker’s editor Tina Brown and her husband, Harry Evans: August 2001.  Bachrach founded thecheckonline.org in 2008; the first online advice column for the terminally ill and their friends and relatives based on her years of experience as a hospice volunteer in Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy.  She graduated from Chatham College, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.  She lives in Washington D.C.

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Related Reading:
Sting and Bones
The Forever Man 
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