Book Reviews

Design and Decor book review: No 1 French Country Cottage

What could possibly be more delicious than sitting by a crackling fire, snowflakes drifting lazily against the windows,and browse through a gorgeously executed décor book on French country cottages.

Cece Reviews the Read Volume II

Number one in a series of reviews on design and décor books

“Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is.” —Charles M. Schulz

What could possibly be more delicious than sitting by a crackling fire, snowflakes drifting lazily against the windows, while you sip, (OK maybe lady-gulp), a glass of fine French wine, or a snifter full of brandy, and browse through a gorgeously executed décor book on French country cottages.

We have all endured many challenging things over this past year of COVID lockdown, but I’m a firm believer that if you take a moment to look for the positives,  you will find that there are many things for which to be grateful.

At the top of my list of pluses has been the opportunity to read more – although truth be told, my family cannot understand how that could possibly be possible; I’m a committed bibliophile who takes a book absolutely everywhere with me, because you just never know when you will need something to read, or smell. (More on that later).

Too, we have all been hunkered down in our homes for close to a full year now, and for many of us, those four walls that are staring back at us as we stare at them, are begging for a change, whether it is a new paint job, moving and rearranging the furniture, redecorating, or simply changing up a room’s décor.

And so, what better way to get new ideas, for the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, or entranceway, than to pick up a book, such as Courtney Allison’s French Country Cottage, to garner inspiration and aspiration, while also reveling in the collection of spectacular photographs that literally make you feel like you can smell the bright pink flowers huddled together in the weathered patina bucket. Just as important, the book’s collection of ideas and images made me feel like it was possible to create the same kinds of aura, ambiance, grace, and class in my own home as Allison has done in hers.

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In her musings on the subject of books, (which made me an immediate disciple), Allison states that ‘books are one of those things that I have on repeat.”  (Can I hear an Amen!)

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I concur. As a lover of books and a writer who appreciates the eclectic aura of a spiritually Zen space, this Swedish-style drop-front desk has me dreaming of what wiling away an afternoon of writing would be like ensconced in this room.

French Country Cottage encompasses a collection of chapters overviewing not only the semantics of French country cottage style, but also, the very essence of style itself.  “Style” Allison says, incorporates “layers of many things. Experiences, treasures, trinkets from travel, bits you are inspired by, memories and favourite pieces you enjoy every day in your home.”

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And oh! The smell that wafted out in tantalizing whiffs as I turned one page to the next, a gentle, sensory experience that, midway through the book, had me sticking my nose into the spine to revel in the glorious aroma that is paper and ink.

I am a huge lover of big colourful decorating books;  in fact, they are to ‘MastercardTM ‘ for, especially when there is a next day delivery option!  They ignite reimaginings of ideas for both room settings, as well as awe-inspiring and remarkable décor pairings. And this is what I liked most about Allison’s French Country Cottage; it gave me ideas to implement and make my own in a way I can afford and actualize. Some of the previous décor books I have purchased called for either the wallet of a millionaire or a husband with the patience of a blind Job.

Neither of which I have.

So if you are looking for a book that will satiate your senses while nurturing your inner interior decorator spirit, French Country Cottage is the book to get.

Finally, if you are longing for a hit of travel dreaming, check out my world-travelling adventure images here Photography (

See, now didn’t I tell you that no matter what, you can always find a silver lining in that designer mask of yours?

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Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications, and is an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at in library small sizing

Her first book, The Love Story was published in 2019. Her second book will be coming out in the spring of 2021. Cece is also working on a book of Daily Reflections for Auto Immune Condition Warriors.

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