Author(s): Maureen Emerson
In 1926 a young American architect and his lover, an ex-officer in the British Army, moved to the south of France and built a white, flat-roofed Modernist masterpiece that rested on the rocks below the Esterel, with views across the Mediterranean. They called it Le Trident. From the moment it was built, it captivated Riviera society. Noel Coward called it "impossibly beautiful" and its guest book became filled with the Riviera beau monde. As commissions for more villas flooded in, Barry Dierks and Eric Sawyer became the "darlings of the Riviera". Over the years, Dierks would design and build over 70 of the Riviera's most recognisable villas for clients ranging from Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque and Jack Warner's Villa Aujourd'hui to the Marquess of Cholmondeley's Manoir Eden Roc and Maxine Elliott's Chateau de l'Horizon. Riviera Dreaming tells the dazzling story of the lives, loves and adventures that played out behind the walls of these stunning houses and provides an unparalleled portrait of life on the Cote d'Azur at the height of the Jazz Age.
Maureen Emerson lived in Provence for 20 years, where she worked as a local co-ordinator for CBS and NBC at media festivals in Cannes. During her years in Provence Maureen became enthralled with the stories of those expatriates who lived on the Riviera in the 1920s and 1930s and how the Second World War affected their lives. Her first book on the Riviera, Escape to Provence, was published in 2008.