When an American woman and her British husband decide to buy a two-hundred-year-old cottage in the heart of the Cotswolds, they’re hoping for an escape from their London lives. Instead, their decision about whether or not to have a child plays out against a backdrop of village fêtes, rural rambles, and a cast of eccentrics clad in corduroy and tweed.
Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage begins with the simultaneous purchase of a Cotswold cottage and Richardson’s ill-advised decision to tell her grandchild-hungry parents that she is going to try to have a baby. As she transitions from urban to rural life, she is forced to confront both her ambivalence about the idea of motherhood and the reality of living with a spouse who suffers from depression. Then, just when she is finally settling into English country life, she is struck by an attack of non-alcohol-related slurring that turns out to be a symptom of multiple sclerosis. Her indecision about moving forward with motherhood is brought to a head when her neurologist tells her that pregnancy may actually decrease her risk of developing full-blown MS.
Part memoir, part travelogue—and including field guides to narrative-related Cotswold walks--Americashire is a candid, compelling tale of marriage, illness, and difficult life decisions.