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When Jeffrey Greene, a prize-winning American poet, and Mary, a molecular biologist and his wife-to-be, discover a moss-covered stone presbytery in a lovely village in the Puisaye region of Burgundy, they know they have to live there. In lush, lyrical prose, Greene recalls their experiences turning the 300-year-old stone building - a chÂteau in miniature that the locals believe houses numerous spirits-into a habitable refuge. He brings to life their adventures in finding wonderful bargains with which to furnish their new space, including a firm mattress and some rather suspicious antiques bought from the back of a van.
Greene offers the unexpected joys and surprises of village life, from celebrating his and Mary's simple backyard wedding to toiling in a verdant garden. He shares the experience of surviving his mother's decision to move in and humorously introduces the locals - both human and nonhuman - who define his and Mary's new world.
Woven throughout this luscious tale are the pleasures of rural France: wondrous food and wine, long-held rituals and feasts, dark superstitions, and deeply rooted history.