How To French Country – A Book Review


Missing France How To French Country

It’s time for my next book review. I know that because another book was dropped at our front door yesterday. And that means that my ‘to be reviewed’ book pile is now officially two piles, because the original tower was starting to get ridiculously high.

And today, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a really unique book – How To French Country from author Sara Silm. This gem is part memoir, part instruction manual and part recipe book. There really is something for everyone here. You even get French vocabulary tips.

Sara Silm is a writer and stylist who, with her hubby, purchased Chateau Montfort in France’s Béarn region in 2015. Since that time, the family have been renovating the property and living (at least in mind) the whole French fairy-tale.

I feel like this book would be perfect gift for any francophile who is keen to bring a France into every day life, either through decor or food. Or one who harbours a secret dream to renovate a property in France.

Title: ’How to French Country – Colour and design inspiration from southwest France.

Author: Sara Silm.

Published: 2021 by Thames & Hudson Australia, Hardcover,  258 pages.

What I Liked:

  • The concept. Part narrative and part instruction manual, How To French Country is equal parts inspirational and educational. The book comprises four parts. The first shares the story of how the family found themselves in the south-west of France. Then it dives into styling a home with a French flavour. Next we dig into a renovation case study before finishing up with seasonal and regional French recipes. Like I said above, there is something for everyone in a book that is worthy of sitting on display rather than in bookcase.
  • The tone of voice. It’s something I mentioned in this post – I definitely resonate with books about France that are written by Australian authors. And How To French Country continues that appreciation with Sara’s easy to read yet descriptive language.
  • The pure practicality that’s shared. From combining patterns and selecting paint colour palettes all the way through to baking autumnal fruits, Sara provides practical tips in an easily digestible manner. And because the book itself is so pretty, it’s a much nicer and more personal experience than simply asking Google.
  • The stunning photography. There is no doubt about it. Sara Silm creates beautiful images. And this book is packed with them. From expansive landscapes to detailed flat-lays, your eyes will be treated to a whole lot of French inspiration.
  • There are recipes for every season. And lots of them. For a book that does not claim to be a cookbook, there is a great range of recipes and cooking techniques, featuring ingredients from the south-west of France. 

What I Wasn’t So Sure About:

  • I couldn’t help but think there was room for more in How To French Country. It was mentioned earlier that Sara has written this book in four parts and seriously, at the end of each part I was left wanting more. I think each part could have been the basis of a book of its own. And I hope that Sara has plans for another volume or two. 

Have you read How To French Country? Did you love it as much I did? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

This is an unsolicited post. No compensation of any kind has been received from the author, publisher or parties connected with How To French Country.


About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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