coming home – a summer story – the final chapter!

by Sharon Santoni

Here we are at the seventh and last instalment of my summer story.   A huge thank you to everyone who has followed along each week and left me such encouraging comments.

watercolour champagne and glasses

And of course a big thank you to Jeanne for her wonderful watercolours that have added so much to the story, and which she is also selling, and to Heather for her precious help with editing.

Here is how the story has played out since July:

in part one Catherine learned of a mysterious inheritance in the South of France:

in part two despite her husband’s  reluctance she travels to France alone to discover the house that is now hers,

in part three she begins to understand that her great uncle Paul,  who left the house to her was also a respected painter and artist

in  part four, Catherine finally reads the letter that Paul left for her and takes some big decisions.

in part five we watch Bob discover the house for himself, and see his wife in a new context. 

in part six things get romantic when they are stranded in a shepherds hut on the mountain just as a heavy storm breaks overhead

and today we will learn what they decide to do with the house ….

watercolour painting of house

Later in the morning Bob and Catherine walked back down towards the village, leaving behind them the mountain shelter, the oak trees and the never ending view. They walked slowly, sometimes holding hands, stopping now and again to talk. There was a lot to discuss.

“You know Bob, when I first received that letter about inheriting a house in France, I got all excited and I could see us starting a new life out here. And now I am here…and of course the house is even better than I could have ever imagined and there are all those paintings…but you know what, I’ve realized that you can’t just slip out of one life and into another. Or at least I can’t.”

“Yeah, replied Bob, “I think I feel the same way. I’m not saying I could never live here but there is no way I’d want to go home and tell the kids goodbye because, ‘Hey guess what! We are moving to the other side of the world’. ”

“Exactly! And supposing we did move here and in a couple of years our first grandkids are born. We’d hate being so far away.”

They turned and smiled to each other, relieved. It was obvious that the same thoughts had been going through their minds, even though they hadn’t discussed the subject so honestly up until now.

“OK,” said Bob, “so I just have to put this out there…do you want to sell it?” “Oh my gosh, no, no!” Catherine replied. “This house and the connection to Paul…it all means so much to me.” Bob put his hand on his wife’s shoulder as if to steady her. “Good, then we are agreed. But…if we say that maybe we’ll come here to live one day or maybe we’ll just come here from time to time, we still need to find a way to make the house live again and to honor Paul’s memory. It’s clear we have a responsibility to do something with those paintings but honestly, I have no idea how to go about that.”

“I know, I mean obviously we can’t just leave them up there in the attic. We need some sort of advice…You know, maybe this is the right time to go back to the notary. He wasn’t very friendly the last time I saw him but hopefully he or one of his colleagues could help us find someone to talk to about this.”

watercolour boulangerie

They were in the village by now and as they turned into the market square, Catherine spotted a woman and a man standing outside of Paul’s gate. “Oh look, there is Jocelyne, you know the lady from the notary’s office? I wonder who she is talking to?”

As they drew closer they could hear that Jocelyne and the man were talking in French and they were looking at Paul’s house as they chatted. They turned towards Bob and Catherine.

Bonjour Jocelyne,”  said Catherine. “Jocelyne, I’d like to introduce my husband, Bob…”

Jocelyne smiled broadly “Ah, vous voila! Bonjour Catherine, bonjour Monsieur, I am so ‘appy to see you ‘ere. I come to ‘ze ‘ouse to see if everything going good and I find Monsieur Shilbair ringing ‘ze bell on ‘ze gate.”

Catherine smiled and put out her hand, “Monsieur Shilbair? Bonjour, nice to meet you.”

Jocelyne explained, “Monsieur Shilbair used to come here very often, he was student with Monsieur Paul.”

“Oh really? This is wonderful! Jocelyne, I have so many questions for him. Do you think you can translate for me?”

The man laughed. “No translation will be required, I’m American. How do you do? My name is actually Richard Gilbert but Jocelyne has always pronounced my name with her lovely French accent! I was passing near Callianes and I thought I’d stop off to see how the house was these days. It used to be such a lively place when Paul was alive. There were always so many people coming and going. It seems strange to see it looking so quiet.”

“Well, please, come inside and have a coffee with us, if you have the time that is. This is Bob, my husband. We’d truly be delighted.”

watercolour blue chairs

Jocelyne excused herself, explaining that she had to go to work and would come around again soon. Catherine and Bob opened the gate to welcome Richard into the house with them.

Coffee was quickly made and the three of them sat down at the table in the garden to talk about Paul.  “You know, your great uncle was a remarkable man and so modest! The only reason I can make a living from my art today is because Paul gave me the confidence not only to paint but also to sell my work. And I’m not the only one, I know artists in Italy, in France, in the States who would all tell you the same thing. Paul had a true gift as an artist but also had a very practical mind. Believe me, most art schools don’t teach their students about the commercial side of the art world. His presence has really been missed.”

“But how did he teach you? Did he give classes, were there a lot of students here?”

“Well, he usually had three of four artists staying here at a time. We painted together nearly every day, sometimes in his studio, often outside en plein air. Evening meals were always spent together and that was mostly when he would coach us to think about our careers and earning a living from our art. Every once in a while he invited other artists to come and teach a specific technique but most importantly, this house attracted gallery owners like bees to honey. That’s actually how I first sold any of my paintings, because Paul put me in touch with a gallery owner who came down from Paris looking for new artists.”

“So, did you pay for this teaching?” asked Bob, always thinking of the practical aspects.

watercolour paintbrushes in pot

Richard smiled, “Paul was one of the most generous people I have ever known. We didn’t have to pay anything for studying with him but he expected his students to pull their weight around the house and in the garden…we even grew our own vegetables. You know I was very young then. I was grateful to him but it’s only with time that I have understood just what a generous man he was. A lot of budding artists never make it because they don’t have adequate support. Today, I try to help a couple of art students when I can but giving the occasional lesson isn’t the same thing as living under the same roof and learning each day alongside other artists.”

watercolour tubes paint

They continued chatting for a while and when Catherine offered Richard to stay for dinner, he accepted enthusiastically. During the meal, Catherine explained how she had learnt about her inheritance and how so much seemed to have happened in just a few weeks time.

“So, now we have to work out what we are going to do with the house. We don’t want to sell it and maybe in the future it will become a family home for us but for now we want to find a solution that Paul would have liked and….”

“Wait! I know what we have to do here!” Bob interrupted. “This house should become an art school…”

Catherine and Richard stared at Bob. “Really?!” asked Richard and “Of course!” cried Catherine simultaneously.

There was a short silence as each of them turned the idea over in their minds and then the questions and the ideas started fusing like fireworks…“Who would teach…How many students?…How do we choose the candidates?…How do you pay the teachers?…What about the house maintenance?…Can we ask Antoinette to stay?….”

“All of these are great ideas,” said Richard, “but it still requires financing. I’d be happy to help in any way that I can but I’m sorry to say I don’t have much spare cash that I could invest in the project.”

Catherine and Bob looked at one another. “Richard, there is something else you need to know and maybe you can give us some advice about. Would you mind coming upstairs?” They led Richard up to the painting studio on the top floor and showed him the canvases and paintings stashed away in the room and attic. Richard was taken aback by the number of paintings. “I had no idea about these…when I painted with Paul, we never came up here, we used the studio downstairs. These are worth quite a lot. If you are willing to part with some of these pieces, well then, I’d say that your financing issue is solved!”

There was another silence while the value of the paintings was sinking in and swimming around their heads, then Richard said, “I’d like to introduce you both to Alain. He studied with Paul a long time ago and they were friends throughout their lives. He is older than I am and his career took a different turn. He is an authority on art in the South of France and he has been curating an art museum in Aix-en-Provence for the past ten years. He has been talking about retiring…he’s a good man, this project might interest him. And if it doesn’t, he’d certainly be able to advise you about the paintings.”

They talked until long after dark and Richard seemed grateful for the invitation to stay for the night. “Maybe I could take the room I always used to use, the small one on the first floor?” he asked.

watercolour painting of winding stairs

The next morning, while drinking his first cup of coffee, he called Alain. Catherine and Bob couldn’t understand his conversation on the phone because he spoke to Alain in rapid French but they could tell that the tone was friendly and positive.

Richard put down the phone and smiled, “Looks like we’re having lunch in Aix!”


The city of Aix-en-Provence was flooded in warm sunshine as they parked their car and walked through the paved streets to the museum. They were charmed by the wide avenues and tall elegant buildings that retained the true character of 18th century Provence even in an urban setting. The museum was located on a small stone square with shade beneath four plane trees. While they waited for Alain to come down from his office, they toured the small exhibition of impressionist paintings and were surprised to find one of Paul’s pictures hanging on a wall alongside paintings by Childe Hassam and William Merritt Chase.

Alain arrived and the introductions were made. It turned out that he spoke good English and they followed him out of the museum and through the town to a little restaurant on the Place des Trois Ormeaux, talking all the while. Alain was very knowledgeable about the history of Aix and with his commentary the streets came alive as they walked.

Once they were settled at their table and had each ordered their meal, Richard explained to Alain how Catherine and Bob had come to Callianes and then let them explain their idea for the art school. Without giving too much away, Catherine let Alain understand that there were paintings by Paul that had never been seen by anyone and that while some could be donated to museums, others could be sold to finance the school project. The more they told him, the quieter Alain became.

Catherine finally came to the end of her tale. “So that’s about it Alain. As you can see, we have a great project on our hands but we need someone experienced beside us to help make the right decisions, to help us deal with galleries and museums and to help structure the school.” She paused and Alain looked from her to Bob to Richard, waiting to hear what was coming next. Bob stepped in.

“Alain, we know that you were a good friend to Paul and that you are an expert about his work and are well-connected. Well, we’d like to ask you if you’d  be interested in working on this project with us?”

Alain looked surprised and then his blue eyes seemed to become a little watery. “You know Catherine, your great uncle was one of my dearest friends and also a role model for me in my working life. He was a good man whose name as an artist is highly respected. It would be an honor to be part of a school that continues his work.”

….. Epilogue …..

watercolour shutters on house

Three years have passed since that lunch in Aix-en-Provence and we are back at Paul’s house. It is a sunny day and the wisteria is in flower again, just as it was the very first time that Catherine saw the house…the windows are wide open, there are tables and chairs laid for a meal in the courtyard and we can see Antoinette moving from one table to another, placing small vases of flowers in the center of each, humming contentedly as she goes.

A head pops out of a window on the first floor. “Bob!”, calls Catherine, “time to get ready honey, they’ll all be here in less than an hour.”

watercolour garden seats

Bob appears from behind the house, walking beside Alain and Richard. Between them they are carrying a huge zinc tub, filled to the brim with ice cubes. They joke together as they place the tub carefully in the shade to one side of the main door of the house and start pulling bottles of wine from cardboard boxes and placing them upright in the ice.

From the kitchen window comes the delicious smell of ratatouille and we can see the silhouette of someone busy preparing the meal…the front door opens and two young men carry a tall wooden easel out from the house and place it beside the gate. Stood up on the easel is a hand-painted sign:

coming home art show sign

Catherine appears at the front door wearing a pretty dress and open-toed shoes. “Bob! Please go and get changed, we need to be ready for our guests!” As Bob places the last bottles of wine into the ice and Richard collects the empty boxes, Catherine moves towards the tables with a list in her hand.  Jocelyne hurries in through the gate. “Bonjour Catherine, at last I am ‘ere, pliz, ‘ow can I ‘elp you now?”

“Oh hello Jocelyne and thank you, I would love some help with the seating plan for the lunch. I‘m in a bit of a flurry since the mayor is coming and the notary and all of these big galleries. I so want today to be a success for the school and a way to say thank you to everyone who has helped us over the past couple of years.” She shows Jocelyne the list and at the same time empties a bag of handwritten name tags, folded and ready to be placed in front of each plate. “I really want our guests to make the most of each other. I have asked the art students to spread themselves around the tables, so there are one or two seated at each but some of the other guests would be better if we guide them a little bit. Let’s see…Monsieur Ferrier, he is the nice young man from Sotheby’s who helped us organize the sale of Paul’s paintings last year…I would like him to be seated beside Alain to talk about plans for the school and also beside Marie-Sophie, you know she is one of the teachers here and she is so pretty, I am sure that they would hit it off!”

“Now for this table, let’s place Richard alongside the gallery owner from Texas. She has flown in especially to see the show and to look for new artists…in fact let’s put our two most promising students at the table with them…now, for our table…”

Bob brushes past her and leans over to kiss her cheek. “Isn’t this a great moment? I can’t believe that everyone is going to be here, even your notary!”

She kisses him back and smiles. “Yes, it’s just a shame that the kids couldn’t get back this summer. I would have loved for them to see how well the school has done…come on Bob, get going, you have to look your best for the mayor…and I need to see if everything is ready in the kitchen…” Catherine heads inside but Bob hovers in the courtyard, glancing at his watch.

Just then a taxi pulls up outside the house and he grins, then signs to the passengers inside the taxi to make no noise. He hurries over and helps everyone out of the car. When they are all standing just inside the gate, he rings the heavy bell loudly. From indoors they can hear Catherine exclaim, “Oh my gosh, don’t tell me the guests are already here!” She emerges from the house looking flustered but immediately stops short, her mouth open…

The small crowd at the gate yells, “Surprise!!”

Bob is standing surrounded by their children and with two little babies in his arms. Loud squeals of delight are heard as Catherine realizes that both her children are there, dropping their suitcases and swarming her with hugs and kisses. “Oh my goodness! What is this? Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?! And you brought the grandchildren! Oh this is wonderful!”

watercolour champagne and glasses

The rest of the day is a blur of happiness, of lively conversation, of admired artwork and even a couple of sales. The house is complete, it is more than complete, it is starting a new life full of joy and creativity…just as Paul would have wanted it to be.

And on the mountain above the village sits a shepherd’s hut…not much has changed inside, not yet, but above the fireplace hangs a half-finished painting of Paul’s house in Callianes and on the bed there is always a neat pile of blankets and pillows…just in case someone needs a place to be with someone special.



If you missed part one of this story you can catch up here,

 part two is right here, part three is here ,part four here

 part five here, part six here and part seven here

watercolour paitning of fireplace with logs



Lynn Minnick MyGREENLifeandRealEstate August 24, 2015 - 3:10 pm

Really enjoyed reading these every week, and starting my Monday mornings here in my Connecticut kitchen with my cup of coffee, your story, Jeanne’s beautiful watercolours, and my beloved France. Merci!

Anne Riordan August 24, 2015 - 3:11 pm

What a wonderful story! I could hardly wait for Monday to roll around. Thank you, wish it could continue but what a lovely conclusion.

Nancy August 24, 2015 - 3:51 pm

Ahhh to dream of being so lucky as Catherine! Thank you for a lovely summer read!

Roxane August 24, 2015 - 3:56 pm

Thank you for this delightful series! I enjoyed reading them so much every Monday morning.

De August 24, 2015 - 4:11 pm

What a wonderful story! Merci!

Becky penrod August 24, 2015 - 4:13 pm

what a wonderful story. Please write another one.

Georga Harrison August 24, 2015 - 4:14 pm

Do start another story! This one was delightful!

Heather McPherson from Australia August 24, 2015 - 4:18 pm

Oh what a beautiful ending. Thank you Sharon for a beautiful story, I can’t wait for the next one! I love stories that take you there & I truly felt I was there xx

Marilyn August 24, 2015 - 4:20 pm

My heart fell when they decided not to move into the house. But it soared when their plan for the art school emerged. What a perfect solution.

amanda riley August 24, 2015 - 4:24 pm

Thank you for such a lovely story,I hope that you write some more soon

Agnes Irene August 24, 2015 - 4:26 pm

A delightful and satisfying end to an utterly charming story – one that celebrates beauty, family, generosity, and love. How wonderful that the story continues – with endless happy possibilities.
This would be a beautiful little soft-cover book that one could dip into every year – to set the right tone for that dreamy, yearning, relaxing side of summer.
Beautifully done!

Eve August 24, 2015 - 4:28 pm

Bravo Jeanne & Sharon!!! What a combo! Love what you have created x

️Stephanie August 24, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Sharon ABSOLUTELY LOVELY! Thank you! I even purchased the above water color from Jeannie of the French Chandelier above the wooden table…so I couldn’t be happier…Well okay…if an Uncle Paul appeared…:) BTW this would make a GREAT FILM…Any chance you would pitch it to someone? I am VERY SERIOUS! ❤️️Stephanie

Patricia Cowan August 24, 2015 - 7:38 pm

I agree with all the accolades and especially the part about a FILM!!!
Since the story is soft and lovely and without all the current lines of action &blatant sex…possibly take the concept to Hallmark Channel or possibly PBS…look at the success of series, Last Tango in Halifax. There is such great interest in good stories and uncomplicated plot lines!

Sharon August 24, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Beautiful story…beautiful ending! Thank you for the enjoyment this brought to me every Monday. Loved it! Magnifique! Mercier beach up!

Beth Williams August 24, 2015 - 4:31 pm

What a beautiful way to end the story. Thank you for so many wonderful Mondays.

Anne August 24, 2015 - 4:32 pm

What a wonderful story, with beautiful illustrations. Well done, and I hope we can look forward to more stories like this in the future!

Judy Parsons August 24, 2015 - 4:32 pm

It is Monday morning in Alabama, USA. As I sit with my cup of tea and read the final chapter, I am in a peaceful bliss with your wonderful story and a little sad that is ending. The art work is lovely. Thank you both for sharing your talents.

Jayne August 24, 2015 - 4:43 pm

Oh to be so fortunate…..I’d have been moved in there like a shot! Thank you.

Valerie August 24, 2015 - 4:43 pm

I so did not want it to end but it ended in happiness! Oh to be in France! Thank you so much for writing these stories.

Eleni August 24, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Wonderful ending, could not imagine a better one. The paintings were a perfect compliment to the story……. Many thanks for the delightful Mondays.

Patty August 24, 2015 - 5:10 pm

Oh how I loved your book. I wish it could go on and on and on. Thank you so much!

Grace August 24, 2015 - 5:12 pm

I’m going to miss reading your story every Monday, it was very good.

A dele August 24, 2015 - 5:23 pm

Sorry the story has ended but it was lovely. Having the family arrive at the gate was so touching. It brought tears to my eyes! Merci!

Colleen Taylor August 24, 2015 - 5:25 pm

What a wonderful conclusion to such a beautiful story Sharon. Thank you for making my day. X

linda k. August 24, 2015 - 5:25 pm

I loved it and the ending brought tears to my eyes. It is such a dear, happy story. Thank you for my sweet strolls into Provence life each Monday. I must return soon.

Donna August 24, 2015 - 5:30 pm

Just wonderful. Happy endings and new beginnings . Just perfect. Thank you. Next year we are coming to provence

Carolemarie Sanderson August 24, 2015 - 5:31 pm

What a delightful story…..PLEASE write another one for us as Mondays from now on are going to be so dull ! Loved the warmth of your words and the gorgeous illustrations were an added bonus. Thank you!

Jean Watkins August 24, 2015 - 5:36 pm

I looked forward to each Monday, to be able to read the new chapter. A wonderful story and lovely illustrations were certainly enjoyed by all of us!!! Thank you!!!

Suzanne August 24, 2015 - 5:37 pm

What a charming story this was. I dreamed of being part of it all the way through. I’m ready for the next story, Sharon. You write beautifully.

Pat August 24, 2015 - 5:48 pm

Wonderful ending to such a lovely story, I have enjoyed it immensely, thanks !

Lynda August 24, 2015 - 6:04 pm

Oh ! What am I to do now each Monday! I have so loved reading this story each week – being transported to beautiful France – you must write some more stories – you certainly have the gift!

sharon Malan August 24, 2015 - 6:11 pm

thank for such a short wonderful story, transporting me right there to that little village and being rather envious of Catherines inheritance. The ending warm and happy , bringing a tear of heartfelt emotion towards the characters you created ..

Marianne August 24, 2015 - 6:18 pm

Thank you for a wonderful and delightful story. I waited patiently for Mondays but did not want the story to end. It ended beautifully, the beautiful house alive again with artists, such a tribute to her great uncle. What a happy ending to such a lovely story. You write beautifully. Please write another one for all of us who so enjoyed this one. P.S. Your new book is just beautiful. Ciao, Marianne

Michele Cohagan August 24, 2015 - 6:22 pm

Sharon what a beautiful story,I loved the Illustrations from Jeanne and the story was so descriptive,great ending!!! I received your book and have spent some time getting to know your girlfriends,how lovely,what a great idea!!!! Thank you for all the enjoyment you give everyday!!!

Mary from Napa Valley August 24, 2015 - 6:33 pm

Sharon, one of the greatest gifts to society, is the artist that is a storyteller, and you are blessed in abundance with this gift. Thank you for sharing your gift with us, in this lovely story. Bringing it to life with Jeanne’s beautiful water colors and Heather’s editing eye made “Coming Home”, come alive for all of us. Merci

Patrica Bergen August 24, 2015 - 6:47 pm

You turned Mondays into a day I couldn’t wait to wake up for. Thank you for your refreshing , romantic and heartfelt story. Truly a gifted writer.

Carrie August 24, 2015 - 6:54 pm

Loved it! You could have even spread this out a bit more and made into a book! I would have bought it in a heartbeat bein sur!

Jeanie August 24, 2015 - 7:02 pm

Thank you, Sharon, for sharing such a delightful story with us. Like the others, I would love to read another one too.

Meredith August 24, 2015 - 7:44 pm

From the beginning to the end, I was captivated by the story and illustrations. Please write for us again. You have a gift to share.

Ella August 24, 2015 - 8:08 pm

What a delight! I didn’t want it to end, but you have crafted a vibrant, hopeful closing chapter. Thank you to you and your collaborators.

suzana borlovan August 24, 2015 - 9:18 pm

A lovely story, enjoyed reading it so much. Thankyou x

Victoria August 24, 2015 - 9:39 pm

Thanks Sharon for this sweet enjoyable story. They have been part of my Monday now for weeks and I will miss them. With your busy schedule I don’t know how you have time for all that you do, but if you can fit writing in keep writing. Maybe a Christmas story. Have a good week.

Chrysanthemum August 24, 2015 - 9:41 pm

It was with anticipation that, each week I opened the new instalment of your story…. Enjoyed the twists and turns and the happy ending… Now what am I going to look forward to next week???
Thanks to all of you for sharing your talents….with us….

Valorie August 24, 2015 - 9:45 pm

Thank you so much Sharon, Jeanne and Heather! This has been so delightful and so much fun! What a lovely ending! I did not see it coming, but it’s perfect! xx

Emm August 24, 2015 - 9:47 pm

Such a lovely story, thank you. Now I’m going to go back and read them all at once.

A very sweet story, and lovely illustrations. I love the resolution, with the art school — perfect.

Marilyn August 24, 2015 - 9:54 pm

What a delightfully sweet story. The ending was perfect. Perhaps a sequel to keep us warm in the Winter, please.

Maude Ciardi August 24, 2015 - 10:34 pm

What a fun story! Thank you for the great writing. Monday was exciting when the story was continuing. I really enjoy your blog. I will never get to France so I am seeing it through your eyes.

Bonnie Schulte August 24, 2015 - 10:36 pm

Enjoyed your story so much. Thank You!!!

Rhondi August 24, 2015 - 10:46 pm

Thank you for such a sweet story. You should publish it along with the beautiful watercolors Jeasne did. I loved every minute and am sorry it’s done.

Carol Newell August 24, 2015 - 10:59 pm

Oh, Sharon, what a delightful story to begin each week! Charming, taking me back to the south of France with each read. Please write another story for all your fans. Thank you, thank you!!!

Laurie from Toronto August 24, 2015 - 10:59 pm

What a perfectly delightful way to have spent Monday mornings, stealing away some precious minutes at my desk, with a cup of tea in hand, to enjoy this story and the stunning illustrations. Thank you for your generosity in sharing it with us! Sad to have it come to an end!

Carol Best August 24, 2015 - 11:02 pm

Love love loved it, what a sweet story!

Annie Maurer August 24, 2015 - 11:13 pm

What a lovely story Sharon, well done! It really had me back there in France….Beautifully illustrated also.

Marilyn August 24, 2015 - 11:23 pm

Yes, indeed this is a special way to end the story. I just love it. Thanks so much for the dreaming.

Lorrie August 24, 2015 - 11:27 pm

Utterly delightful! Mille mercis, Sharon.

Betty Baker August 24, 2015 - 11:31 pm

Oh it had to come to an end didn’t it. I have enjoyed this delightful story every week and the water colours were so absolutely beautiful. I have the feeling that place like this really does exist. Just loved every line
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story Sharon – Betty from Ontario, Canada.

Christine August 24, 2015 - 11:54 pm


sel August 25, 2015 - 12:05 am

very generous of you to share your thoughts…..thank you

Vicky August 25, 2015 - 12:28 am

A very happy story with a wonderful ending!

joni August 25, 2015 - 12:43 am

I have so enjoyed this story you have written. Thank you for writing it.

Jamie from Kentucky August 25, 2015 - 12:49 am

Oh Sharon, what a sweet story with a perfect ending.. Thank you for making Monday’s something to be excited about..

Kelly August 25, 2015 - 1:02 am

Fantastic ending to a beautiful story! I am so glad I discovered you and your website! I have to admit something here – I bought your French Girlfriends book and was very bad and did not do any housework this past weekend! Couldn’t help it! Love the book so far and if you can’t be there, living in the french countryside, then the next best thing are great stories and books that take you there…all without the hassle of airports, customs, and so on! Bon Travail!!!!

Karen August 25, 2015 - 1:06 am

Loved it!!!!

Judy August 25, 2015 - 1:50 am

I loved it! Such a beautiful story accompanied by lovely paintings. I looked forward to every Monday! Thanks to all of you!

Mary Johnston August 25, 2015 - 2:03 am

Sharon, Great story, the watercolors add a distinctive & charming touch.
Received your lovely book. Tell me, how did you decide on the cover photo?
Thankyou, Mary from San Diego, Ca, USA

Botanic Bleu August 25, 2015 - 2:10 am

Your beautiful story has so many possible sequences. Stories about the art school teachers and students would be never ending sources for a series of books about Catherine’s and Bob’s adventures in France from Paul’s house. Along the lines of Agatha Christie novels, but not necessarily with murder involved. 🙂

As always I am enthralled by your writing every day and enjoy living in France vicariously through your words and stories.


Trish August 25, 2015 - 2:18 am

What a treat this has been! I know this region of France and it makes me realise there must be a network of people all over the world who hold a piece of France in their hearts. Thank you.

Frankie August 26, 2015 - 5:10 pm

Love, love, love the story. I just discovered it, so I got to read it all at once! I am a painter and could picture myself in there also. I was in heaven.

Trish August 25, 2015 - 2:52 am

Just gorgeous…please don’t hesitate to write again!

Elvie August 25, 2015 - 3:07 am

Soo sorry the story has finished.loved it.Please write another one.El

Judi August 25, 2015 - 3:23 am

I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every installment – and, have read them each a couple of times. Talk about hitting my pastime square in the face – dreaming of France, being in France, reading novels taking place in France, and just general armchair traveling and dreaming…. well, you touched it all. Great story and I passed it along to some good friends who just loved your story, too – and none of us wanted it to end….. But, it was such a great ending and now we are ready for another wonderful tale from you! Thank you!

Linda August 25, 2015 - 3:47 am

Hi Sharon, I have thoroughly enjoyed this story and have felt as if I were right there enjoying the sites, sounds, aromas, and best of all, the characters in the story. Thank you so much for sharing this. I had to leave for work early today and had a very long day at a work-related seminar in another city; I could hardly wait to get home to read the final chapter!

Please, don’t let it be too long until you write another story for us to enjoy.

Linda xo

Susan Gellner August 25, 2015 - 4:09 am

Tears in my eyes. Thank you for a beautiful story, moments of joy and hope for tomorrow. Mondays will never be the same.
Thank you!

Adrienne Dalton August 25, 2015 - 6:00 am

how lucky was I. I follow you on Instagram but today was the first time I have looked at your blog. i’ve just read all 7 episodes of your lovely story in the one go. Perfect. It was lovely, gentle, hopeful …. gorgeous, thanks a lot. and the beautiful water colours really added to it.
I’ll be following your blog closely now.


Cecilia Weller August 25, 2015 - 6:04 am

Sharon, what a wonderful story! I have looked so forward to every Monday, for the next chapter. I will miss these. I think that you should do a sequel to Catherine and Bob’s story. Give it some thought….

Sandra T. August 25, 2015 - 6:29 am

Just a beautiful summer read! And the drawings were so perfect! Loved everything about this story.

JaneEllen August 25, 2015 - 7:30 am

How wonderful your writing is. I have only read the first and now the last chapter but will go back to read all I missed. They are so worth spending time reading. I’m a prolific reader, have to say this is one of best stories have read in quite awhile. No wonder people want you to write some more. And the breath taking drawings to see each part to help illustrate the story. I would love to go to France, you have made it seem so real to all of us. This is truly exquisite. Can hardly wait to go back to read all others I missed. Thank you for privilege of reading your story. I agree with some other commentors, Hallmark or PBS would love this. How I’d love to be be able to purchase at least one of the drawings. Look forward to seeing those also. Thank you so much for one of most enjoyable experiences of the summer. Have wonderful week

Marian from UK August 25, 2015 - 11:25 am

Can’t believe I had tears in my eyes when the children arrived!! But it’s been a lovely story with vivid descriptions of Provence and Catherine’s adventure. I think I said previously, it reminds me in a way of ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ which was written by Frances Mayes and made into a film starring Diane Lane. A gentle story of starting a new life in Italy. It’s one of those stories you go back to for the feel good factor and I bought the DVD and watch it when I need a happy fix! I think your story is of the same genre and would translate very well into a film as someone has said. Don’t laugh at that, go and investigate!! Write more! Since finding your blog, I’ve seen how you seem to have broadened your skills and what a joy it must be. Go for it Sharon! Thanks for sharing with us.

Carol Grenfell August 25, 2015 - 11:34 am

I’ve so enjoyed the weekly episodes of this lovely feel good warm and fuzzy story, and sorry that it’s ended. But so beautiful wrapped up, pulling all the threads together without having to wonder about what the future holds…..
Thank you so very much

Wendy Langille August 25, 2015 - 12:05 pm

Thank you Sharon as I too found myself anticipating every Monday to celebrate with you this charming story with the lovely paintings capturing all the essences of ” C’est La Vie” Your book arrived just as I was leaving for a summer holiday with my girlfriends and we all loved it!

Leslie August 25, 2015 - 1:13 pm

Wonderful story! And the paintings were so pretty! I certainly hope you are working on a Christmas story for us all!

Marie August 25, 2015 - 3:00 pm

W O N D E R F U L! ! ! Thank you for this beautiful summer story. You have a gift for writing and that’s one of the many reasons I follow your blog. Thank you for being you. ♥

Mary Anne August 25, 2015 - 4:15 pm

This has been a wonderful story and I saved all the chapters to read all at once? I just finished this morning. I did this because my husband and I will be arriving in Provence this September and we look forward to enjoying the small towns, the beauty and perhaps finding a wonderful piece of art. I live your blog and hope you will continue your gifted writing with your colleagues.

Barb August 25, 2015 - 4:52 pm

Lovely story! Oh that it would be me 🙂 please keep writing!

Michelle August 25, 2015 - 7:04 pm

Great ending to the summer! Sharon, what a good story and the pictures were an added bonus. I very much enjoy reading your blog and seeing your photos. Finished your book, but it is too pretty to put away, so currently it is on the coffee table for everyone to enjoy. Merci for your work!

Meagen August 25, 2015 - 7:43 pm

Thank you so much for this lovely story. I couldn’t wait to read it each Monday. I am so happy that the characters opted to open a school. I was hoping that was the direction they would head!!

Shell Parsons August 25, 2015 - 9:09 pm

Oh Sharon, what an enchanting story. I have loved every minute of reading about Catherine’s adventures. The visual imagery made me feel as if I was actually in France…one day. Monday’s just won’t be the same anymore. x

Annette August 25, 2015 - 9:36 pm

Just the sweetest story. I too didn’t want them to sell and was thrilled when they turned it into an art school. I could smell the flowers and gear laughter in the courtyard.

vicki archer August 25, 2015 - 9:58 pm

Thank you Sharon.. I loved every word and so enjoy your story telling… 🙂
I think these stories must become a regular feature… xv

Mumzi August 26, 2015 - 2:22 am

Marvelous! I’m transported so easily from Indiana, USA, to Southern France. What a remarkable story. I could hardly read fast enough. So glad the grandchildren could come too. They make life so complete. Keep writing Sharon!

Sue Malizia August 26, 2015 - 3:42 am

Sharon, although a day late, I just finished your wonderful story and actually enjoyed looking forward to Mondays. Will wait for your your next one! =)

Sandy @ You May Be Wandering August 26, 2015 - 4:48 am

Oh Sharon, what a lovely ending to a truly enchanting story!! I have spent the past six weeks laid up with a very badly broken arm and I have looked forward to your latest chapter each week. You really should write a novel!! Thank you for sharing this!!!

Pamela August 26, 2015 - 8:46 am

Thank you for a great book to read! I so enjoyed the book, and the art work
was beautiful .

Eleanor August 26, 2015 - 8:56 am

Oh Sharon! What a wonderful ending! Thank you so much for this story. Loved every moment of it.

Kim Durant August 26, 2015 - 11:55 am

Sharon, will this book be available to read again in it’s entirety???? For many reasons was not able to read the whole thing 🙁 .

La Contessa August 26, 2015 - 11:25 pm

Wonderful……I approve!A Truely beautiful story.
I would like to inquire with Madame Jeanne if the last painting has been spoken for the table with the sunflowers and the wood pile with an open fireplace and THAT chandelier dripping down?If it still needs a home I would be interested!

Sheryl Kirk August 27, 2015 - 2:14 am

Your short story was old fashioned and just so sweet. Knowing you were sharing your writing talent with us out of the goodness of your heart was a warm feeling I think we all felt. You are a precious gem shining brightly. Sheryl from Magalia CA

Andrina August 27, 2015 - 7:04 am

I’m sitting having my lunch on a sunny Australian Thursday, crying with joy that the house is again filled with love and a purpose. Thank you so much Sharon, this has truly been your best novella to date.

Delaine August 27, 2015 - 3:05 pm

Sharon, I can’t tell you enough how much your story was enjoyed! So entertaining and I enjoyed the artwork that accompanied it!
I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how wonderful your book is! I am slowly savoring every single page! It has surpassed my expectations! Even though we have never met, I feel like we are friends and I am proudly displaying my friend’s beautiful book in my home! What a pleasure!

tracy August 28, 2015 - 6:10 pm

Simply- well done! Thank you for a late summer read with my cup of afternoon tea. I look forward to hearing more from you and your artist friend in the future. Just lovely (sigh). The End

Sally August 30, 2015 - 5:00 pm

What an inspiring use of Paul’s house, he would be so proud. This was a delightful summer read, I am looking forward to your next story. Perhaps, a winter tale?

Judy Bealmear August 31, 2015 - 12:17 am

Delight summer read. A little trip to France is always welcome.

Allie Callan September 9, 2015 - 11:57 pm

Thank you! Your vision (story) will stay with me.

Deborah September 12, 2015 - 3:07 am

Sharon, this story indulged all the flights of fancy I ever entertained about living in France.

Pauline Gibbs September 27, 2016 - 8:03 pm

I have just found this wonderful story. Your writing painted such a lovely picture of old buildings and the French way of life and the beautiful illustrations added to its charm. I have just recently paid my first visit to the South of France with some very dear school friends to celebrate our 65th birthdays. I fell in love with France then and your story brought back wonderful memories of our happy time together.
Many thanks.
Pauline xx

Judy Lambert July 9, 2017 - 4:55 am

I just finished re reading this delightful story. It really is quite addictive. I read the first 6 episodes and then wanted to savor the last. This is a story you can read over and over. Thank you for making it available for reading at any time! Love reading you and thank you-merci! Judy

Vicki Burge August 15, 2017 - 9:20 am

Better late than never. Have really enjoyed your delightful story. I’m making a wish to visit France one day. Thank you.

Jillian Hardie March 15, 2020 - 5:36 am

Oh Sharon what a treasure you are, I just love this story! I have to go and catch up on some work I couldn’t put it down . wonderful xx

Jillian Hardie March 15, 2020 - 5:51 am

The illustrations by Jeanne are wonderful xx
I didn’t mention earlier that I have visited Beaune whilst staying in Dijon and found it stunning. And on another trip stayed at chateau de la Verrerie in Aubigny-sur-Nere and went horse riding through the beautiful country side and met The loverly Count de Vogue and he invited us to see and meet his friends for the hunt the next day! Which I can tell you how much I enjoyed and have a glimpse into an amazing life, your story brought back so many wonderful memories. Thank you
Thank you xx


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