I’m a sucker for a book about an American attempting to live in the UK. Several of my favorite books about Britain were written by Americans who moved to the UK. So, I was delighted to take a look at Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage by Jennifer Richardson.
Jennifer is an American who happened to marry a Brit and after a glamorous life in London, the couple decided to buy a Cotswold weekend cottage and attempt to live in the Great British Countryside.
To hilarious result.
Jennifer is not a bumbling American, clueless to how things work in Britain. Rather, she’s a keen observer of British culture, mores and history. She tries to embed herself into the fabric of the Cotswolds community they chose and become a local.
But becoming a local is not easy in an area where a family who has lived there for two hundred years is still considered an incomer!
Americashire is a very personal book, we get a very intimate look at Jennifer’s marriage. And anyone who’s married can sympathize with all the problems the married couple faces. We’re just given the backdrop of an iconic English village scene to witness it. That said, the personal nature of the story may perhaps not appeal to some. But I loved it.
The book is broken up over a series of key events in the social calendar as Jennifer tries to paint a picture of some of the interesting things that happen in this village throughout the year. She also provides handy walks, which are humorously guided by her marriage troubles.
One major topic of the book that is covered quite a bit is whether or not the couple should start to have kids. It’s not an easy decision for them to make and it’s interesting to watch it play out as an impartial observer. They also grapple with marital resentment as one half of the couple gets a job near the cottage and can live there full time, while the other has to continue to suffer alone in London.
The book is a brisk read at just over 150 pages and there’s certainly more story there dying to be told. Jennifer and her husband currently live in California so we don’t get the story of why they left the Cotswolds or if they still have their cottage there (the author has assured me they do). I hope she writes a sequel.
Check out the official website here. Buy on Amazon below.