When an American woman and her British husband decide to buy a two-hundred-year-old cottage in the heart of the Cotswolds, they’re hoping for a weekend escape from their London lives. Instead, their decision about whether or not to have a child plays out against a backdrop of village fêtes, rural rambles, and a cast of eccentrics clad in corduroy and tweed.
Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage begins with the simultaneous purchase of a Cotswold cottage and the ill-advised decision to tell Jennifer’s grandchild-hungry parents that she is going to try to have a baby. As she transitions from urban to rural life, she is forced to confront both her ambivalence about the idea of motherhood and the reality of living with a spouse who suffers from depression. Just when she is settling into English country life, she is struck by an attack of non-alcohol-related slurring that turns out to be the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Her indecision about moving forward with motherhood is brought to a head when her neurologist tells her pregnancy may decrease her risk of developing the full-blown disease. Interspersed throughout the memoir are field guides to narrative-related Cotswold rambles.
Jennifer Richardson is an American Anglophile who spent three years living in a Cotswold village populated straight out of English central casting by fumbling aristocrats, gentlemen farmers, and a village idiot. She is married to an Englishman who, although not the village idiot, provides her with ample writing material. She currently resides in Santa Monica, California, along with her husband and her royal wedding tea towel collection.
Jennifer grew up in suburban southwest Florida, where she spent most of her teenage years plotting to leave the state, unsuccessfully lobbying her parents to send her to boarding school. Her wanderlust prevailed, resulting in stints living in Venice, Italy, and Singapore before settling in Los Angeles for ten years. Work opportunities subsequently took her from the UK to Berlin to Boston and back to L.A. She and her husband are currently busy plotting how to finance living half the year in Santa Monica and half the year in their beloved Cotswold cottage. You can find her on Twitter @baronessbarren.
I'd love to review this book for my column "Literary Lives of Foreign Wives" in the journal of the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese.
That would be wonderful. I will contact you to facilitate it. It should be out in early March 2013. Thanks!
Okay, great! I'm looking forward to reading.
Hope this finds you well. I wanted to get in touch to see if I could send you a copy of the book now to review it. The pub date changed and is about a month out now, i.e., late April. I will send you a friend invitation on She Writes and that way you can private message me contact details to get it out to you.
all the best,
Congratulations, Jennifer. I grew up near Santa Monica and have lived in Montana for the past 18 years. I can really relate to the difference in culture! Your description really makes me want to read your book. It sounds wonderful.
Thank you! I would love for you to read it. It should be out in early March 2013 and you will no doubt be seeing me remind everyone of that as the date nears.
A thousand congrats! Looking forward to reading. I'm getting married next year and also starting to ponder the motherhood question. A formidably multi-faceted one at that. (Also, coincidentally, it looks like our books will come out in the same month! Another kind of birth...)
thank you and same to you! Have you checked out http://maybebabymaybenot.com/? It is a funny blog by Liz Ference on pondering the baby question.
Love memoirs and the sound of this book. So glad I read this post.
I love the concept! I'm very excited to read the book. I have a sister on the other side of the pond. She's English. I'm American. She's always lived there and I've always lived here in Southern California. Thankfully, she found us 15 years ago. I can so relate the amount of writing material you get. I've been to visit her small village outside of Colchester just near the sea. Oh, my! Talk about writing material! I'll get there. I'm so interested in your story. As for my sister and I, we explain the differing accents by telling folks I've flunked language school. For now, it's fending off the stares and questions.
Thank you! Your story of your sister and you sounds so interesting -- like a book in itself. I don't know Colchester by the sea but have heard it is beautiful. In any case, I hope you read (and enjoy :-)) my book when it comes out in a few months. All the best, Jennifer