When Anna, a chef by profession, discovers she's pregnant, she prepares to leave dreary London behind and move to idyllic Provence, France, with her husband, Tobias, and her lovable baby-to-be. Read more...
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When Anna, a chef by profession, discovers she's pregnant, she prepares to leave dreary London behind and move to idyllic Provence, France, with her husband, Tobias, and her lovable baby-to-be. But she's suddenly forced to reevaluate her dreams when their baby is born less than perfect. Little do Anna and Tobias know that the change in plans sparked by Freya's birth is the beginning of an incredible journey of the heart. Along the way, they discover that there truly is no such thing as a mouseproof kitchen, and though life sometimes gets a little messy, it's the messy bits that give it meaning.
The couple and their new daughter end up in a vermin-infested farmhouse in a remote town in France--far from the mansion in Provence they'd originally imagined. Their rickety home is falling down around them, the village is involved in a decades-old trauma, and even the charms of the region's lavender fields and a budding romance between two of their young neighbors can't distract from the fact that Freya's hospital stays are becoming frighteningly frequent. Anna must draw on reserves of strength she never knew she had just to keep going from day to day. But will it be enough to keep her family together--and her daughter safe?
Told with humor and warmth, "The Mouse-Proof Kitchen" is a moving and thought-provoking story about how the best parts of life are often the most complicated.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-05-27
- Reviewer: Staff
Shah’s debut gets off to a slow start, but patient readers will be rewarded by this richly textured drama. Londoners Anna and Tobias’s daughter Freya is born with cerebral palsy, greatly complicating their dream of moving to Provence, France, to open a restaurant and compose music. Deeply conflicted, Anna and Tobias make a mad grab at happiness and buy a crumbling farmhouse in Languedoc. There, they care for Freya in a landscape of extremes, with neighbors to match, including Lizzy, a free-spirited American teenager; Ludovic, the tenant farmer who dwells on the French Resistance; Julien, living off the grid in a tree house; and Yvonne, the cafe owner who makes delicious sausages. Mysterious newcomer Kerim arrives to fix up the rundown property, and Anna’s mother comes to stay, rounding out the ragtag family. As Freya’s health declines steeply, Anna feels herself drifting apart from Tobias, each of them enclosed in a private sphere of misery until disaster strikes, forcing exhausted Anna to either accept her new imperfect life or leave to start anew. Portraying the complexities of marriage, motherhood, family, and life in a strange land, Shah (director of Death in Gaza, a documentary film) combines tragedy and humor into a satisfying tale of love, heartbreak, and transformation. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville & Walsh (U.K.). (July)