|My Good Life in France by Janine Marsh
My review today is for My Good Life in France, the brand new memoir from Janine Marsh, who also writes the excellent website and online magazine The Good Life France.
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, albeit working holidays, and Janine writes openly about the emotional journey to making the move permanent and how difficult it can be to adjust. There may only have been two of them to start with, but when the local animal population realised they had arrived, things began to change. As someone who moved to France with a toddler and two cats and was happy for it to stay that way, but ended up with ducks, chickens, a goose, rabbits and a dog, I loved her tales of the animal antics that have become part of her daily life in rural France.
Every area in France has it’s own fêtes, festivals and celebrations of local history and traditions and Janine explains those unique to her area in a way that will make you want to visit somewhere that isn’t often on the main tourist map and experience it for yourself. I remember fondly our day trips to France, stocking up on wine and food, driving our Mini Cooper along twisty back roads, heading away from Calais and searching out the real France, even if just for a few hours. Those happy, carefree days of twenty years ago when we fell in love with France came flooding back as I read this book. Sadly, since moving to France in 2004, Calais and the surrounding area is somewhere we pass through as quickly as possible while making the twelve-hour drive from home to the UK and back again. Janine is a great ambassador for this region and has made me realise how much I am missing, zooming along the autoroutes and passing through, rather than stopping and enjoying.
This book has everything a good memoir should have; an interesting story to tell, the ability to write openly about the ups and downs of life, while also including humorous observations of the French way - their fondness for speech making in particular made me laugh out loud.
If you, like me, enjoy memoirs about life in France, you will love this one and it might even inspire you to seek out the Seven Valleys on your next French adventure.
To read more about her love of France, join me back here on Friday when Janine will be answering my France et Moi questions.
My Good Life in France is published by Michael O’Mara Books and is available in paperback and ebook format. Links to Amazon can be found below.