Moving to France was an unlikely choice for an American who studied Spanish and Latin American Studies, lived in Mexico and South America and worked in Germany for half her career. Yet, it happened.

Gayle, a native of Washington State, has two master’s degrees, but, sadly, neither in French! (The first is in Latin American Studies from UCLA and the second is in English Linguistics from George Mason University.) In Germany, she worked as a language specialist, an educational liaison and management analyst.

From their base Heidelberg, Germany–about an hour from the French border–Gayle and her husband, Ralph, found Provence, found themselves smitten and eventually, found a way to make Provence home.

Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie tells the tale. It was Gayle’s debut memoir.

Gayle’s second book, The Birdwatcher’s Wife, was released in September 2021. The true story follows Gayle and passionate birdwatcher Ralph on a year-long birding adventure around France, beginning on 1 January 2019 and ending on 1 January 2020. The demanding quest turned their lives upside down and challenged their resolve. But France’s natural beauty, captivating culture, and astounding birdlife lead the way … to discoveries that surprised them both.

They have lived in Provence since 2011.