I think this book could have been better, which is the reason I only "liked it" (thus the 3 star rating). It has a lot of good going for it, but it also has a couple of things that honestly irritated me. Let's start with the not so good: * The whole quest to find a home in the town. For the most part, for some reason, Collins and his wife were set on living on an old home, even if it was an ancient piece of shit that was literally falling apart. The titular house, Sixpence House, was basically a home with a flooded basement, cracks all over, the house next door was collapsing onto it, and a myriad of other problems. He went ahead and paid to have a survey of the house done (an inspection) for a house that was obvious by a simple look was not worth it, and anyone in their right mind would have fled. *The whole process of buying a house. Apparently the Brits pretty much favor the sellers when it comes to house buying, so he was already at a disadvantage. However, there were moments when his wife and him really needed to grow a spine and walk away from deals. They did walk away from some, given some of the residents of Hay are pretty delusional in terms of what they think they can get for their old houses that, in many cases, look like they should be condemned. And this would not bother me as much were it not for the fact they have a child. You are adults and want to play DIY on rickety house, go for it. You have a child, be the adult, do the responsible thing and move into a safe, well built home. It is not like you did not have options. They chose to ignore any good options to try to live in the charming town. In the end, not able to find a home, they have to return to the U.S. So, all that effort and nothing to really show for it, aside from the experience. Now, the book has a lot more good stuff to it: * The descriptions and details of the town of Hay itself. If you are a book lover or bibliophile in any way, shape, or form, you should add this place to the list of places you must visit. I don't think you have to be into book collecting or the antiquarian trade to enjoy the place. If you are, you will likely enjoy the place a lot more. *The insights on the antiquarian book trade. * The book trivia and excerpts from old books. Collins picks out these at various points to illustrate points he is making or to expand on a particular experience. These are definitely one of the best parts of the book, and they make the book worth reading. In fact, it may make some folks want to hunt down some of the obscure items he picks out. *His commentaries on British versus American living. There are the good things like National Health Care, which means, for instance, that when their boy gets his foot hurt, they don't have to lose their life savings to get health care. And there are the not so good things like the whole housing situation. The commentary on American news versus British news is spot on, and for that alone makes one want to move to Great Britain (though I would move to one of the cities if it was me). As an aside, he is writing a book during his time on Hay, Banvard's Folly, so we get to read a bit about the process between writers and publishing as well. By the way, I did read his other book, which I did find very interesting as it is a collection of tales of inventors and geniuses who never really made it big. I have to add it to GoodReads sometime if I can recall around when I read it. Overall, I do recommend both books, but for this one, keep in mind the reservations I have.