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I bought this book as we went into lockdown as a way of staying connected with a country that I love so much. We have had a home in France for 15 years and it is breaking my heart that we can’t be there at the moment.
Janine’s writing flows beautifully and she describes life in France so well. I laughed out loud at the reference to Ch’tis - a French dialect - our neighbours recommended the film and were absolutely delighted that we got the humour. The commune events that have taught me to dance Le Madison and sitting in absolute amazement when all my neighbour jumped up to dance to Les Lacs du Connemara!!!
So many Brits go to France and then spend forever trying to find English speaking builders, plumbers, gardeners and my advice is ....don’t!! We use French artisans always and we have never, ever been let down. Embrace the lifestyle and you embrace a new way of living.
Well I started this book with expectations of enjoyment, what I didnt realise was how much i would be able to relate to it, having ourselves owning a holiday home in the seven valley region, I couldnt put it down and had read it within 2 days. Janine writes from the heart, you will feel like you are walking in her footsteps , with many laughs and tears along the way. For those of you who enjoy a brilliant realistic life story whether a francophile or not, this is a MUST READ for everyone. I have now just finished the next one MY FOUR SEASONS IN FRANCE and will be reviewing this aswell. Brilliant author whose writing resonates with us so well and captures all there is to love about the Nord Pas de Calais. Both my husband and I have read both books avidly and my husband has only read a handful of books in his lifetime so this says it all.
Real Life in France Janine has a descriptive and flowing way of writing, her description of France brings it to life, almost as if you are there with her and Mark. In this lovely memoir, we follow a year in their lives in the tiny hamlet in the Seven Valleys region of France where they have settled. They soon fit in with the locals becoming friends with all, often enjoying a coffee and chat in the warm, homely kitchens of her neighbours, Once again there are ups and downs, the renovations of the old barn are going well, that is until a freak hailstorm causes quite a bit of damage, both to their vehicles and the house. Having spent time in the Normandy region I can fully appreciate the unpredictable weather, sunny one minute, pouring with rain the next, even snow on one occasion. This is a real-life account of life in France, the joys and delights are in abundance, of course, there are sad moments but these are out weighted by the good happy times. Long may it continue, and long may the chickens, ducks, geese, cats, and dogs reign. Thank you Janine for another enjoyable read which I can highly recommend.
This is the second book of Janine’s I have read and I was looking forward to it being published. I particularly like the style of writing which draws you along and is easy to read, Janine’s self-deprecating humour (Madame Merde) is charming. The book is about her life in northern France and if you are not interested in France or its people you might ignore it. That would be sad because I think it speaks into the times we are all living through now, community, friendship, kindness, hospitality and family - they are all here. I read the book during breaks at work and for those moments I was transported back to a familiar landscape and my own memories of visiting the area. I always finished reading feeling happier and a little fuller of joy de vivre. For me it was food for the soul. Janine’s life is idyllic but it is not without its challenges and whilst not everybody can or wants to live in France the story can inspire you to follow your dreams whatever they may be and that makes it a must read for me.
30 years ago, I greatly enjoyed reading Peter Mayle's "A Year In Provence", especially as I had recently acquired an old holiday property about 40 miles north of Bordeaux. Janine Marsh has stepped into the late writer's shoes with her account of a year in the life of her property in the north of France. This was a most entertaining read. What I particularly enjoyed was her understated humour and the description of the little village where she lives and the characters whom she meets. Highly recommended!
On starting to read this book the words were familiar and I wondered if I'd already read it. I hadn't, the foreword was just a reiteration of the beginning of the author's life in France. The book follows a calendar year of activities, at times I feel like I've slipped back into 1960s, The pace of life seems slower and people know their neighbours and look out for them, but the mention of Brexit reminded me that this is now. Once again I enjoyed sharing Janine's world with her. The ending came so abruptly that I wondered if the download had failed. One minute I was eavesdropping in a neighbour's kitchen enjoying some snacks, the next it was over!
Janine Marsh describes beautifully her corner of France.As we turn the pages we live with her adventures with her numerous animals ...who are mostly adorable but occasionally very naughty.Similarly with her neighbours in the tiny hamlet...friendly ,helpful , clinging to ancient traditions in a changing world.She describes them all with much affection.I have read both of her books and cannot wait for numero trois!Sheila Griffiths.
The problem is that a book like this is so compelling that "just another chapter" (and then another) and it is soon finished. Janine weaves a series of lovely pictures in the mind. Thank you for the 2nd book and thank you for the blog which I so enjoy.
I loved this long awaited follow up book from the Good Life in France. I am currently living in the same area. Reading it during the Lockdown made me realise why I love this area so much. My only complaint about the book is that it is so well written, I read it in a day and now want Janine to write another one. I loved the description of the small bar in Montreuil. It’s one that my husband and I know well. We even bought a gin optic from Natalie and Manu last year which we now have set up in our garden bar. I love Janine’s easy way of writing. Reading it is like getting a letter from a friend. So nice to hear about the real France which is so close to England yet miles away in terms of culture and the way of life. When’s the next book?
I have absolutely loved both of Janine’s books. I feel as if she has become a friend telling me stories. The books have been easy to read, and yet hard to put down. My desire to start a new life in France has been given a bigger boost as the book took me through each season, which has its own ups and downs. I am genuinely sad that I have finished, and I hope that there will be another book (featuring the animals and Jean-Claude) very soon. I can’t recommend the book enough!