A Cottage in Portugal

Richard Hewitt, Author, Barbara F. Hewitt, Illustrator
Richard Hewitt, Author, Barbara F. Hewitt, Illustrator Simon & Schuster $21.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-81313-4
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Hardcover - 303 pages - 978-1-57490-068-2
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After a few weeks' vacation in Portugal, the Hewitts, a New England couple, decided they wanted to live there. They liked its weather, relaxed pace, gentle people, gorgeous scenery and antiquities. Not far from Lisbon, the ancient, red-roofed castle town of Sintra, set amid forest and lush countryside and within sight of the sea, appealed to them. Here, they believed, their small savings would go a long way; they could buy some tumbled-down house, fix it up and live happily ever after. Never mind that neither of them was fluent in the language; Richard had been studying it and could get along; besides, his skills as a builder, hers as an artist would see them through. But they were unprepared for the suspicious neighbors and stolid bureaucracy, neither of which comprehended why any sane foreigners would want to live there. Their Kafkaesque experiences with contracts, permits, labor, plumbing, electricity and money duplicate those of others who have recorded similar projects in unfamiliar cultures. Though lacking the grace of such accounts as Peter Mayles's A Year in Provence, for a glimpse of country life in Portugal, their story has its moments. The Hewitts now divide their time between Massachusetts and Portugal. illustrations. (Mar.)
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