Mistakes Were Made is a revealing memoir and unexpected love story from model and actress Fiona Lewis about her journey to self-acceptance as she restores a crumbling French chateau. Alone in the French countryside, Lewis reflects on her glamorous youth across London and Paris in the ’60s, Hollywood in the ’70s, and the important, sometimes disastrous, choices she made along the way.
Having lived a perfectly satisfactory life in California for over two decades, Fiona Lewis wakes up one day in her fifties and asks herself, Is this it?Is this the existence I’m meant to have? She can hardly complain. After all, her life has been full of adventure and privilege: London and Paris in the ’60s, Los Angeles in the heady ’70s. Now, however, she feels lost, as if she were slipping backward over the edge of a ravine, abandoned not only by her old self, but by that reliable standby, optimism. Realizing she has to find a way to reinvent herself, she impulsively buys a rundown chateau in the South of France. (Her husband is not pleased.)
Alone in the depths of the countryside, she contemplates her childhood, her affairs––Roman Polanski, Roger Vadim––her years as an actress in some good and some questionable films, and her first Hollywood marriage to the damaged son of a movie star. As the renovation drags on, fighting with a band of impossible French workmen, she is forced to battle her own fears: her failure to become a real success, her inability to have children, and her persistent fear of aging.
And she has to contend with her husband, who has no interest in the French countryside. In fact, he resents her obsession with France, with the house, with the renovations. The house seems to have a hold over her, and he’s not wrong. He reluctantly visits and is annoyed by the cost of the renovation. Was she not content with him in LA? Why can’t she just be happy?
It’s an age-old question and one every woman must confront, along with aging, lost love, and missed opportunities. Yet, Fiona’s wit and wisdom prevail. And this provocative, brave memoir takes a stunning turn when all those unanswered questions develop into a tender and unexpected romance.
“…refined and worldly, [Lewis] memorably and candidly provides keen insights into the decades she inhabited; her discomfort over the 1960s sexual revolution doubles as astute social commentary…truly fascinating …an account of an extraordinary life.”
“With Mistakes were Made (Some in French), you feel as if you’ve been sitting with Fiona for a long weekend of glorious storytelling. Her life has been full of great opportunities, of daring adventures, and she describes her search for the life she imagined but can’t define. When she buys a ruined chateau in the French countryside—against her husband’s wishes—you feel every jolt of the pain and humor she experiences. A truly fantastic book.” —Naomi Watts, actress
“I read Fiona’s beautiful book, alternatively holding onto my hat and clutching my pearls. Ventre bleu!” —David Mamet, playwright
“In Mistakes Were Made (Some in French), Fiona Lewis describes the hard work, subtle tricks, and cool reasoning necessary to restore a chateau in France, while allowing us an intimate look at her remarkable life—her childhood in England, her career as a model and actress, her misadventures with men in Paris and Los Angeles. Mistakes Were Made is an intimate rendering not only of the rescue of a beautiful house, but of the rescue and restoration of self.” —Susanna Moore, author of In the Cut
“Fiona Lewis takes us on a wild and hilarious ride from a storybook childhood in the English countryside to a glittering Hollywood career with a French fantasy escape—meeting famous lovers and intriguing locals along the way. With wit, wisdom and poignancy, Lewis asks the tough question: how do you define success, find your passion and not get lost along the way? Any Francophile with a Hollywood crush will devour this wonderful, sexy story.” —Kate Betts, author of My Paris Dream