Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Review of Finding Fontainebleau: An American Boy in France

Finding Fontainebleau: An American Boy in France by Thad Carhart

Published May 17th 2016 by Viking
Hardcover, 304 pages

FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU recounts the adventures of Carhart and his family—his NATO officer father, his mother, four siblings, and their dog—in the provincial town of Fontainebleau, France. Dominating life in the town is the beautiful Ch√Ęteau of Fontainebleau, and the book intertwines stories of France’s post-war recovery with profiles of the monarchs who resided at Fontainebleau throughout the centuries and left their architectural stamp on the palace and its sizeable grounds. Years after his family moves back to the States, Carhart finds himself drawn back as an adult, eager to rediscover the town of his childhood, and in FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU he shares both his memories and his new discoveries with warmth and humor.


A fun fact to begin with is Fontainebleau is pronounced “Phone-Ten-Blow”

As a reader, you do not need to have a fascination with French history to enjoy this book. Carhart did an incredible job of interweaving all the different aspects of the book from his childhood in 1950’s France, the history of Chateau Fontainebleau, including bringing his own family over to France in the 1980’s to live in the town of Fontainebleau. In addition, the authors captivation with the quaint town of Fontainebleau kept seducing him to return like many of us are drawn to chocolate. Therefore, doing a beautiful job of telling the history of Chateau Fontainebleau & who from French history starting in 1137 with King Louis VII made an impact on the evolution of it from a hunting lodge to a magnificent museum.

My favorite part of the book are the years Carhart spent during his childhood in postwar France. How they lived reminded me of my summers in Northern Michigan with a wood-fired stove, no television, and spending quality time with the family. It is genuinely enjoyable reading about Carhart’s vivid memories as a child, the trips as a family, plus the overall antics that conspired. France was so different compared to America back in the 1950’s I loved reading about it and the traditions that are still in place today.


Thad Carhart, author of Across the Endless River, is a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland. He lives in Paris with his wife, the photographer Simo Neri, and their two children.

Find out more about Carhart go to his website:

"Thank you, Viking Publishing, for letting me give this unbiased review"


  1. This sounds like an interesting read. I really enjoy when an author combines personal stories with broader historical context.

    1. It is very interesting. I am certain that it would be an enjoyable read for you.