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My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,253 ratings  ·  101 reviews
One grey dismal day, Janine Marsh was on a trip to northern France to pick up some cheap wine. She returned to England a few hours later having put in an offer on a rundown old barn in the rural Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais. This was not something she’d expected or planned for. Janine eventually gave up her job in London to move with her husband to live the good ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Michael O'Mara
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  1,253 ratings  ·  101 reviews


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Liza Perrat
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I might not be brave enough to renovate a run-down barn in rural France, but as an ex-pat living in a French village, I can totally relate to Janine Marsh’s book, My Good Life in France.

The author’s new life in France started out quite differently to most ex-pats though: whilst on one of her regular day trips to pick up cheap wine in northern France, she purchased an old barn in the rural Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais. It seems no one was more surprised at this purchase than the author
...more
Сhristie ♥
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"There isn't much that will beat a freshly baked baguette from the boulangerie, a hunk of cheese from the fromagerie, some fresh tomatoes from the marché and a cake from the pâtisserie."

Utterly delightful book about a couple which moved from London to live their rural life in the Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais in France. Each chapter is beautifully written and I scribbled a lot on the pages (btw, it's called marginalia https://blog.bookstellyouwhy.com/marg...).

I laughed out loud (Chapter
...more
Patricia Sands
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been eagerly awaiting the publication of Janine Marsh's memoir, My Good Life in France, and was honoured to receive an ARC for an honest review. It's no surprise that this book is everything readers hope it will be. With her sharp insight after many years as an ex-pat in France and her engaging sense of humour, Marsh takes us on the bumpy road of highs and lows restoring a "truly awful" (her words) property in the north of France that captured her heart.

Through the author's eyes and
...more
E.J. Bauer
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I openly admit to loving books about expats setting up home in France. It's not that this memoir presents a smooth, breezy ride through relocation and renovation, it's more that the honest and at times raw recounting of the whole process left me breathless. Imagine dirt floors, freezing winters and a badly behaved septic tank and you get some idea of the horrors the old barn presented to its new owners. The author's bleak battle with the elements, a rather smelly sheep and a fickle electricity ...more
Laurel
I've been following Janine Marsh's "The Good Life France" on social media for several years now, so it was fun to hear her backstory and live vicariously through her for a few hours. A light and humorous read/listen.
Randal White
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Oh, how I wish I could be neighbors with the author! Her ability to vividly describe the scenes and people of her little French village is wonderful. A very fun, charming, quick read. Not at all preachy or snarky like some expat written books. I had a hard time putting it down, and am missing it already! What higher praise could there be than that!
Elaine
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now, this is what I want to read. I want something light yet intelligent, not gooey but meaningful, and loaded with local-color, and this book had my interest with that. It is a Peter Mayle sort of reddux, but no one can equal his ironic humor as he not only shows us his Luberon neighbors' quirks, but also pokes fun at himself. Marsh does some of that, and she takes the reader with her adventure to resettle in France from her busy work life in London, a rather popular theme among those ex-pats ...more
Susan Keefe
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Do people really buy a house in another country on impulse, or is it just something TV shows fool you into believing? Well, the author Janine Marsh certainly did just that on a wet and windy February cross channel day out with her husband Mark, and Dad. Timing can be everything in France, and if you miss that all important long lunch time they have, then anything can happen!

Thus began their adventure as the townies Janine and Mark threw caution to the wind, and jumped in with both feet, buying
...more
BJ
Thoroughly enjoyed this little trip to France. Book about an English couple who on a "wine run" to France find a dilapidated farmhouse that they cannot resist buying and begin to fix it up on weekends and eventually move there full time. Almost always enjoy this type of book. Read it as part of the 2018 Pop Sugar reading challenge #7: A book set in a country that fascinates you. Enjoyable read.
John Bohnert
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the way Janine writes. I enjoyed my brief visit to northern France.
Jacqueline Jones
5* not necessarily for the writing even though I thoroughly enjoy it. For me the whole concept of moving to another country fascinates me.
Margaret
I really enjoyed learning about rural life in France through the experience of a Brit. Fascinating read.
Lois
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved it!
Victoria
A quick read and an interesting, personable insight into life in rural France.
Deirdre
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!
Keith Sickle
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On a cold, wet day about ten years ago, Londoner Janine Marsh went with her husband and father on a day trip to France. They didn’t have big plans – it was just a quick jaunt to have lunch and buy some wine.

But sometimes life has other plans, and she ended up not only buying wine but also…a house. How that happened is the beginning of Marsh’s charming and funny memoir.

Nestled in a tiny town in France’s Seven Valleys area, near Calais, the house was a bit of a fixer-upper. No, it was more than
...more
Sue
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received ebook as giveaway. I enjoyed this book, finding it highly informational, funny, and wonderfully descriptive. A must read for all considering a move to France, and highly educational for all others.
Jacqueline
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, memoirs
An accidental house hunt, while on a day trip to France from London, led Janine and husband Mark to the home of their dreams just over The Channel in northern France. With a writing style that is gentle and relaxed, much like how she describes life in the area she lives in, Janine takes us with her as she gets to know the area, the locals and more importantly works hard to turn a run down farmhouse into something quite special.

To begin with, France was still a holiday destination for them,
...more
Bookmuseuk
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I might not be brave enough to renovate a run-down barn in rural France, but as an ex-pat living in a French village, I can totally relate to Janine Marsh’s book, My Good Life in France.

The author’s new life in France started out quite differently to most ex-pats though: whilst on one of her regular day trips to pick up cheap wine in northern France, she purchased an old barn in the rural Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais. It seems no one was more surprised at this purchase than the author
...more
Carolyn
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My Good Life in France is a delightful, sweet endearing memoir by author, Janine Marsh ~ In Pursuit of the Rural Dream, France.

It all starts on a grey, dismal, wet day in London when an idea sparks Janine's mind to travel to northern France with her husband and father to buy some good, cheap wine.

This day-trip is one Janine will never forget as it will change her life forever as she sets out on her new adventure and roller-coaster ride of doing something completely unforeseen such as buying a
...more
Denise Hale
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auto-biolography
I wasn't sure when I started reading. The idea that someone on a wine stock up trip to France would impulse buy a house seemed to indicate people with more money than sense. Furthermore the house was barely habitable! However, I liked the glimpses of French country life and Janine' s writing style made it an easy read. Gradually I warmed to her and Mark who did most of the renovation work himself. Originally just weekends financial changes meant Mark was spending more time on his own in France ...more
Tricia Wright
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Visiting France every year of my life, since the age of 9, now 62. Wonderful country. Due to go again in a few weeks

This book truly resonates with me. Someone who leads a very busy life, within a career that's improving all the time, having brought up their own family and changed partners, let's up sticks and move to rural northern France, not too far from home!

I know people who have tried it and returned; those that have wanted to do it but not had the courage, or their partner cannot face the
...more
Elly
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realise this was a memoir when I picked it up until I read the rather painful first chapter (where it was very 'and this happened and then that happened and then this happened').

Some parts where explained in extreme detail (her relationship with her partner, the differences in being French and English) but the things I was interested in had been very much glossed over (like the whole house renovation? She shared in detail how run down it was, and talked vaguely about how they were
...more
Linda
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being Honest

I had been following Janine on her blog prior to reading her book. I was surprised at the number of issues which had to be handled in order to obtain their home and make it livable. France does not open their arms to new people right away. Janine was quite frank about the problems in renovating the property, not being fluent in French and the people not being overly friendly. She certainly has given us good for thought! Issues one might not think of, like how slow a foreign
...more
Shereen Lang
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a little gem of a book.
Such an easy,funny and touching read. I can relate to a lot from this book. It feels like I have lived in the village myself. And all the animals over the years had me laughing almost like me lol.. I really enjoyed reading this book, compared my travelling experiences, reflected at certain situations. Love you market view and was excited by all your finds.. I love the way Janine opened her heart to a new strange country, its people and customs. Her positive look on
...more
Jayne
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Janine's writing style made me feel like she was sitting across the table, telling me of her adventures. (We're drinking a glass of wine, of course.) She invited me into her lay it on the line, charming, frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes, laugh out loud, funny life. I feel like we are old friends and if I ever get to the Seven Valleys area in Pas-de-Calais, I just might wander into her garden.
Zuzana Smolenova
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
What a little gem of a book. Such an easy,funny and touching read. I can relate to a lot from this book. It feels like I have lived in the village myself. I really enjoyed reading this book, compared my travelling experiences, reflected at certain situations. I love the way Janine opened her heart to a new strange country, its people and customs. Her positive look on negative situations. I hope there is a sequel somewhere in the future.
Zoe Doney
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, funny book!

I chose this book randomly for a holiday read and am so pleased I did! As a Brit living in Belgium and hoping to buy in France, I giggled all the way through at many of the things that have happened to me too - how many kisses are acceptable and who on earth invented priorite a droite?!?!

I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you're considering the big move to France or not!
jane king
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
The author has a writing style that is engaging and makes this book a quick and easy read. I was a little disappointed that, after telling us all about the horrors of the house she bought, she said very little about the actual renovation and transformation. Still it is a lovely snapshot of life in a French village and I would love to do it. If only!!
Gerry Welsch
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming account of a bold move from modern London to rural France. Easy reading and poignant vignettes. I am more sure than ever that I am not cut out for rural living. But the French food and festivals do sound very tempting. One question - author refers to her children only once. Where are they?
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21 followers
Janine Marsh is an ex Londoner who gave up life in the city for love and the good life in France. She is known as “flop chef not top chef” to her French friends (Madame Merde behind her back – and that’s a long story that’s in her book My Good Life in France!).

She lives in France with 3 dogs, 6 cats, 4 geese, 28 ducks and 18 chickens who all have names and think she is the maid. She writes in a
...more
“now and, smiling, stuck his hand over the top to shake mine. ‘Can I help you?’ he said, in an English accent. Here in the middle of nowhere, France. At that precise moment the rain stopped, just like that. A beam from the setting sun broke through the dull heavy clouds; I felt bathed in a ray of glowing sunlight. At the bottom of the mucky hill, ducks in someone’s garden started quacking, the joyous clamour echoing around the valley like laughter. Somewhere close by I heard a sheep baa gently –it was like a welcome. The rhythmic, melodious and soothing sound of distant church bells pealed. It sounded like fate. ‘Hello,’ I said. ‘We’ve been given these house details by an estate agent in Hesdin and we just thought we’d have a drive by and a quick peek.’ ‘Blimey, we only put it on the market yesterday,’ spluttered the man. ‘It’s not been dressed up or anything. In fact, my daughter who lives here hasn’t even cleaned it and I’ve just popped in to mop up the leaks and make sure the wind hasn’t blown the doors off.’ I heard my dad sniggering behind me.” 0 likes
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