My View: A good book extends the adventure of a road trip | Opinion

I tend to pick my reading material much as I choose my wine. From among established varietals or genres, I’m drawn to distinctive covers and labels. In doing so, I’ve amassed a hefty stack of future reads that I stow behind a family room chair, and a vast array of pinot noir that beckons from a cool basement corner.







Selene Kranz

Selene Kranz


Two consecutive road trips afforded me the rare opportunity of extended reading time, one not to be taken lightly. I thoughtfully perused my stash of books, and came away with “The French Gardener” by Santa Montefiore. I wasn’t sure if I was more enchanted by the name of the author, or the photo of a mysterious young woman on the cover. Surrounded by beautiful flowers, her gaze is fixed, but not on the quaint cottages that loom hazily in the distance.

Reviewers compared the author to Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher, neither of whom I had read. But the promise of being “spellbound by the sheer charm,” and entranced by “passion, loss, renewal, and the healing power of love” sealed the deal. I tossed the paperback in the car amidst a variety of snacks and sparkling water. We were on our way.

People are also reading

  • Alan Pergament: Cris Collinsworth may have gained Bills fans with effusive praise of Josh Allen, teammates
  • Trio, including blackjack dealer, accused of cheating at Buffalo casino
  • Bills QB Josh Allen appears to audible by yelling out ‘blue cheese, blue cheese’
  • Report Card: Bills’ coaching decisions stand out in opening win over Rams
  • Coffee to go, again: Lancaster lawn littered with Tim Hortons cups
  • Rod Watson: Hochul on borrowed time with ‘unconstitutional’ gun law
  • With little explanation, diocese has reinstated 17 priests accused of sexual abuse
  • Restaurant expansion, historic preservation at odds in Williamsville
  • Allegany County district bars cellphones for full school day
  • Buffalo Bills remain modest, even after routing Super Bowl champs
  • Sources: After 39 years at WIVB, Jacquie Walker is thinking about retirement. Her bosses want her to reconsider.
  • How we see it: News writers make their picks for Bills-Rams in season opener
  • Observations: With Josh Allen at the helm, anything seems possible for this Bills team
  • Bills tight end Dawson Knox shares message for late brother Luke on social media
  • Woman dies, man in custody after domestic dispute leads to stabbing

I always offer to help drive; and I’m sincere – preferably, I opt for country roads or less busy highways. But, as is usually the case, my husband declined. So, free of guilt, I settled into the passenger seat, and began to read.

We hadn’t gone far when I reached a passage where a young boy was tormenting a poor old donkey. It made me question my choice, as well as the prospect of my literary journey being entertaining. However, a trend soon emerged. Whenever the child was about to strike – figuratively, and otherwise – a kind soul intervened. My confidence restored, I carried on.

Some of the early scenes seemed a bit forced to me; with a gratuitous smattering of designer names, objects and famous London locales. I was also surprised by some phrases that seemed clichéd. But true to the promise of being spellbound, I found myself increasingly engrossed in the evolving story.

Not surprisingly, a garden, in various states of order or disarray is the central theme. Villagers reminisce about its days of grandeur and the lady of the house at the time. The new owner of the rambling country estate focuses on its restoration as a distraction from the increasing dysfunction in her own life.

The introduction of a handsome Frenchman definitely piqued my interest. The author effectively “painted” pictures with her words, and I joined him as he transformed relationships while tending to the garden. Wizened by the joys and sorrows that accompany love, he often spoke of magic being found in unexpected places. Indeed, it was.

Not likely to be as enduring as the Bible or “War and Peace,” I found “The French Gardener” to be a worthy read, nonetheless. Its visual beauty, and prevailing themes of hope and healing, were the perfect escape from the tumultuous world we live in. I enjoyed being lost in its pages, and though satisfied with the ending, regretted having to close the cover for the last time.

We arrived home renewed and somewhat refreshed, despite the long drive. Buoyed by the gratitude I felt for the nurturing relationships in my own life, I poured a glass of wine, and sat cross legged on the family room floor hunting for my next adventure.

Related Posts

Previous post Overseas Adventure Travel Reports Rise in Solo Travelers for 2023
Next post ‘Pretty Vacant’ tour of derelict sites in Drogheda a success