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How Blue is my Valley: the real Provence

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Humorous travel book about moving to France from IPPY and Global Ebook Award Winner Jean Gill
'Laugh out loud ... such a vivid picture of the fields of lavender, sunflowers and olive trees that you could almost be there with her.' - Living France Magazine

The true scents of Provence? Lavender, thyme and septic tank.

There are hundreds of interesting things you can do i
Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published March 20th 2008
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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  196 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Jan 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Unreadable. It reads like she collected a bunch of thoughts from scraps of paper and decided it was a book.
Karen Charlton
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘How Blue is my Valley’ should have a sub-title: ‘And how Green and Soggy was the one I left behind.’
This book, Jean Gill’s honest, witty and charming account of how she, her man and a menagerie of pets left their rainy Welsh Valley and moved to the sunshine and lavender-scented countryside in Provence is delightful. I couldn’t stop smiling as she compared the well-disciplined flocks of French goats with the thuggish little bovids she encountered back in Wales. Jean picks up on every nuance of h
Feb 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Too jumbled

The title states, "the real Provence", yet why did everything discuss Wales? The part about Provence, the resistance, etc. was very interesting. Wales, not so much. Why doesn't the author talk about the real Wales in one book and the real Provence in another? I skimmed the last 40% of the book and only read the parts about Provence.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Had to throw in the towel on this one. So disappointing.
Jena Henry
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Take a look again at the cover of this book. Isn’t it a lovely, standout display? It drew me in and called to me to read this book. The title is similar to a popular Welsh book and film from 70 years ago, so I wondered if there would be a connection to Wales. Yes, there is. And the cover shows field of lavender, so I wondered if there would be a link to Provence, France. Yes, again.

Author Jean Gill writes about her move from Wales to Dieulefit, France. The town name means “God made it”, and it i
Ronald Mackay
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How Blue Is My Valley The Real Provence by Jean Gill After finishing Jean Gill’s “How Blue is my Valley” I felt as though I’d just had a panoramic and refreshing conversation with an entertaining companion. You can’t have a conversation with a book? Of course you can! – All you have to do is nod enthusiastically so as to encourage the author.

With her wealth of experience, enquiring mind, broad knowledge and deep curiosity, Jean Gill never loses your attention as she ricochets between facets of an older life in Wales and a newer one in France.
Helen Wheels
Jun 16, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’m being VERY generous with this rating. I am struggling to give this book even a one star. I have absolutely NO IDEA what this book is about. It certainly is not a funny book about moving from one country to another. Just in chapter one, the authors tells about her septic system, paths around the city, lizards in walls, newspapers, language barriers, truffles, her new house and clause in contract and just dribbles on and on with no connection in topics. It’s like a bad tennis match. She is eit ...more
Paul Trembling
It takes a certain amount of courage to leave behind a place where you've built a life and move to a different country to start again from scratch. It perhaps takes even more courage, plus a fair bit of honesty, to write about it and share the experience with everybody.

Fortunately, these seem to be qualities that Jean Gill has in abundance - along with a great sense of humour, some down to earth wisdom accumulated the hard way, and a lot of enthusiasm for life. All this comes out as she shares t
Julie  Whitley
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first year of a new life in Provence

A lovely autobiography of an English-born Scotswoman from Wales, who moved to Provence, France with her husband, dogs and cat to start a new chapter in their lives. With humour and delightful descriptions, we live through the first year with Ms Gill as workmen tear apart and renovate her home, while she and her husband meanwhile explore their new surroundings, learn the language, the food, the cheese! and the exquisite scenery.
In reading, I felt like I was
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aside from the fact that this is about a work life in Wales and a retirement to France, it resonates well with moving from suburbs to a farm in rural Wisconsin. Or maybe Australia. Certainly the cultural differences and language learning and refining are quite specific and enjoyable to learn about in such a fun read, but learning to live rural does sound incredibly similar! Her sense of humor is contagious and delightful.
If, like me, you have no French nor Welsh and find the need to pronounce d
David Raymond
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An entertaining travelogue

The book tells the story of the writers move from South Wales to the south of France. The story is told with laugh aloud humour. Grateful to escape Welsh weather there is still some nostalgia for Wales where she was eventually adopted by her Welsh neighbours.
From Her good natured description of her French neighbours it seems as if she is having the same effect on them. Jean Gill has also had that affect on this reader. Her struggles with the languages both Welsh and F
Mrs Vanessa Barber
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Just a little too much flour and not enought doe for me

I'm a real lover of people taking themselves into new countries and cultures, i should know I've lived in many countries myself.
I found the book just way too elaborate a with little detailed substance for my personal liking.
But I feel anyone taking the time to publish such memoirs deserves at the very least an honest review.

Good look

Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to read this book because it is non- fiction, no plot and I would read it on my Kindle only when waiting, like in a dr. office. It is an entertaining read about a Brit moving to France. Some hilarious incidents offset the more mundane aspects of their move and adjustments. If you have ever lived in a country other than your native one, or want to, the author describes the pitfalls and joys of adjustments to cultural differences.
Caffeinated Weka
I tried to get into this book as the topic looked really interesting but couldn't find a way in. The writing was a complete jumble of names, places and random events. I reread so many long-sentenced paragraphs trying to work out whether the action was happening in France or Wales and gave up after two chapters. ...more
Oct 17, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm finding it so hard to believe so many people liked this book. is long and boring. There is no plot and there is no basis in reality for much of what happens in the book, is some convoluted talking and complain about places and random events, is all disjointed and a tad ridiculous and to end is disappointing, the narration was good I guess. ...more
Robyn Cain
Apr 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won the audio version of How Blue Is my Valley and listened to it during sessions of d.i.y. This was my first introduction to the author. I found it enjoyably witty, visual and it eased my labours. The narrators voice was good on the ear too. I've read another book by this very clever writer and going to review that next. ...more
Jun 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely tale of moving to France. I really enjoyed her descriptions of weather and skies as well as that part of Provence. It is always a pleasure to see accounts of surviving the disasters of house repairs and tradesmen. I giggled over the unfortunate hiccups in using French - a case of been there, done that.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Big fan of these kind of books and was thrilled with Jean Gill's take on life in Provence from an expat's point of view ! Liked her witty writing style and I'm happy she has many more books that I can delight in ! ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I didn't finish. I didn't have a problem with the parts about Wales like other folks. I just didn't find it interesting. The author wrote about cheese, mushrooms, olives with tips on who to buy things from but that's not why I'm reading this book and how would these vendors still be around? ...more
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A beautiful book. Mouthwatering in all the senses. Very funny too.
As I was reading it I realised that I was wearing my favourite earrings which I’d bought in Dieulefit a few years ago. This book makes me want to go back there.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hard to follow during much of the narrative. Kind of written in a stream of consciousness. But, amid the convoluted passages are some lovely stories & descriptions of France.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Funny and witty, good book. My only problem with it was the writing. Long sentences, too many brackets, which made one sentence into a full paragraph. Started to read a sentence and by the time I finished it I had no idea what it started with.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat in the navel-gazing genre, but there are some interesting observations of the world in Provence.
Peta-Dee Rawlinson
I found this to be quite a lovely read. Easy to pick up and read bits at a time between jobs. Quite amusing in places and very enjoyable
Asuka Mai
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book while i read it, its very interesting and funny, it makes me laugh many times , very entertaining!
Thanks to the author Jean Gill that has sent this book to me... i am so happy, she is very nice and kind ^^
Well i am so lucky that i won this book from Goodreads giveaway :D

This book tells about what like the experience ltransition from one country to another country, which must adapting the culture and the language that very different one..making an old house become a new
J.G. Harlond
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that transcends genre; it's as much a travel book as a personal memoir - as is the best travel writing, I suppose - thinking here of Bruce Chatwin. Gill sets out to entertain; her account of dealing with day-to-day household affairs in a new location and in a different language is very amusing. But there are also some poignant details and some beautiful descriptions of her valley in Provence. Anyone who has moved to a very different location to where one grew up or, in ...more
Kristin Gleeson
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely account of one person's experience of living in Wales and Provence where life can take on unexpected challenges and pleasures. Written in a very witty sort of stream of consciousness it is a memoir that I found totally absorbing and at times very funny. It's a book that gives the reader a real and vivid insight into the area and what it's like to upsticks and move to another country and culture. Highly recommended. ...more
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gentle and funny read. I really enjoyed it and have passed it on to my sister to read.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a bit to get into this one for some reason (two or three chapters), but once I got used to the author's style, I thoroughly enjoyed her honesty, charm and witty humor. ...more
Christy Olesen
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got the Kindle edition then picked up the Audible Whisper Sync edition and listened to it while doing some boring work. It really helped pass the time. I enjoyed the author's descriptions and adventures in Wales and France. The narrator was perfect, did a great job with the Welsh and French words. ...more
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Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named 'Endeavour', a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.

Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels,

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“He is already giving me more advice. Never, never, never put your saucisson or your cheese in the fridge. I feel guilty. I have treated my produce cruelly. I blame my mother. Why didn’t she teach me this – and tell me important things like not to hold an orange pumpkin against a cream jumper when I was peeling it. She could have told me how to preserve kiwifruit rather than my virginity – far more useful.” 0 likes
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