Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Cover reveal My Paris Romance by Olivia Spring

French Village Diaries cover reveal My Paris Romance Olivia Spring
My Paris Romance by Olivia Spring


My Paris Romance: Falling in love with a billionaire…

 

Having enjoyed My Lucky Night (see my review here) I can’t wait for My Paris Romance to hit my kindle, so couldn’t resist taking part in this cover reveal – I just hope the inside is as red hot as the outside!

 

Cassie swore she’d never fall for another rich guy. Her heart has other ideas.

 

After a whirlwind holiday romance with hot billionaire Frenchman Nico, personal assistant Cassie receives an invitation to visit him in Paris.

 

Although she’d love a fairy-tale reunion, Cassie cannot fall for Nico. They live in different countries, come from different worlds, plus he’s more loaded than a bank vault. And after her rich ex and his snooty family left her feeling heartbroken and worthless, Cassie swore off dating wealthy guys. If she’d known Nico was France’s most eligible bachelor when they met, she’d never have got involved.

 

But their connection is undeniable and she’d be crazy not to see him again. If Cassie suppresses her feelings and just goes for the experience, she can avoid getting hurt, right?

 

Except when Nico sweeps her off her feet with a string of sexy, romantic dates around Paris, her plan not to fall in love unravels. She hopes he feels the same, but then a shocking revelation turns her world upside down…

 

Can they overcome their obstacles? And will Cassie get the happily-ever-after she’s been dreaming of?

 

Order this fun, steamy, fish-out-of-water, billionaire romantic comedy now and join Cassie in Paris to find out!

 

Read as a standalone novel or as book three in the My Ten-Year Crush series.


 

French Village Diaries cover reveal My Paris Romance Olivia Spring
My Paris Romance by Olivia Spring out 30th August 2022


Pre-order Links  




Amazon UK 

Amazon US 


Publication Date: 30th August 2022


Author Bio 

Olivia Spring is a British, London-based writer of contemporary women's fiction, sexy chick lit and romantic comedy. Her uplifting debut novel The Middle-Aged Virgin, which was released in 2018, deals with being newly single in your thirties and beyond, dating, relationships, love, sex and living life to the full.

 

In addition to The Middle-Aged Virgin, Olivia has published The Middle-Aged Virgin in Italy, Love Offline, Losing My Inhibitions, Only When It's Love and the sequel When’s The Wedding?

 

Olivia’s seventh novel, My Ten-Year Crush, was published in September 2021. Book two in the series, My Lucky Night followed in November 2021 and book three, My Paris Romance will be published in summer 2022. 

When she's not writing, Olivia can be found enjoying cupcakes and cocktails and of course, seeking inspiration for her next book!

 

Social Media Links 


Twitter 

Facebook 

Instagram 

Website

Bookbub



#MyParisRomance


My Paris Romance is book three in the My Ten Year Crush series. You can read my review of book two, My Lucky Night here.



Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Book review of Toujours la France! by Janine Marsh

French Village Diaries book review Toujours la France! Janine Marsh
Toujours la France! by Janine Marsh


Toujours la France!: Living the Dream in Rural France (The Good Life France) by Janine Marsh

 

Following on from her hugely popular books, My Good Life in France and My Four Seasons in France, ex-pat Janine Marsh shares more heart-warming and entertaining stories of her new life in rural France. 

 

Since giving up their city jobs in London and moving to rural France over ten years ago, Janine and her husband Mark have renovated their dream home and built a new life for themselves, adjusting to the delights and the peculiarities of life in a small French village. 

 

Including much-loved village characters such as Mr and Mrs Pepperpot, Jean-Claude, Claudette and the infamous Bread Man, in Toujours la France! Janine also introduces readers to some new faces and funny stories, as she and Mark continue their lives in this special part of northern France. With fantastic food, birthday parties, rural traditions old and new – Jean-Claude introduces snail racing to the village – and trouble with uninvited animals, there is never a quiet moment in the Seven Valleys. 


 

French Village Diaries book review Toujours la France! Janine Marsh
Toujours la France! Janine Marsh Love Books Tours


My Review

Welcome to more adventures of Janine’s Good Life in France – yippee! Dipping into the pages of this latest memoir you will get to enjoy village life and experience the strong community she and husband Mark are well and truly a part of. However, hers is not just a rural life with her farmyard family and French neighbours, this book is also full of tales of Janine’s adventures further afield, that come her way working for various tourist offices in France. Cleverly woven into her daily life are lots of delicious snippets of history, culture, traditions and regional gastronomical delights. These not only added interest, but will, I am sure, feed any Francophile addiction and many certainly made me laugh as I was reading. You will probably also pick up enough French trivia to entertain your friends or even win a prize or two at a pub quiz.

 

It is always nice to read about life in France, knowing that the author gets French life like I do and understands it is the quirky differences between our cultures that makes living here so special. This is a gentle memoir of everyday life and drama, with lots of humour, but nothing too emotionally draining – it was just what I needed to relax with, and distract me from the weird weather we have been experiencing in my part of rural France lately.

 

This book will open your eyes to a different France from Paris, Provence or the Côte d’Azur. It will make you want to travel more, chose the regions that are often overlooked, and slow down to ensure you spend the time to really get to know the area, the people and in doing so, experience the real France.

 

I have now enjoyed all three memoirs from Janine, and I’d be happy to read more.

 

Purchase Links



Amazon 

 

Author Bio

Janine Marsh lives in northern France with her husband and myriad pets. 

 

She is unable to resist a stray animal, and the word is out. She works from a converted pigsty when she’s not travelling around France doing research for her website www.thegoodlifefrance.com, which tells you everything you need to know about France and more. 

 

She gave up a sensible job in London, where she was born, to renovate a bargain-basement barn and turn it into a home – an ongoing project. She is an award-winning travel writer and social media fan who loves to share her life, explorations and photos on Facebook at The Good Life France.

 

You can find Janine on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and read her latest The Good Life France online Magazine here.

 


You can read my reviews of her previous books here:

My Good Life in France 

My Four Seasons in France



Monday, April 11, 2022

Book review of My Four Seasons in France by Janine Marsh

French Village Diaries book review My Four Seasons in France Janine Marsh
My Four Seasons in France by Janine Marsh


My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life by Janine Marsh

 

This month sees the release of Toujours la France! the third memoir about life in France from Janine Marsh. Having enjoyed Janine’s first memoir My Good Life in France, I was delighted to be accepted on the Toujours la France! blog tour. This reminded me that lurking on my stuffed-full kindle was My Four Seasons in France, her second memoir, so I wasted no time and dived right in.

 

My Review

As you would expect from the title, this book follows a year in the never-dull lives of Janine and her husband Mark. I really enjoyed this format, watching the seasons change as village life rolls gently on, and experiencing the extreme weather that hits the Seven Valleys, the rural corner of northern France that they call home. 

 

We meet their neighbours, join in with village activities and experience rural French life at its best, and worst. We are introduced to their vast collection of dogs, cats and feathered friends, whose antics alone could fill a book, and anyone with any experience of rural village life will no doubt see and enjoy the similarities. I certainly found myself nodding in agreement at the ups and downs of a close-knit village community and some of the cultural differences between us Brits and the French.

 

Janine’s writing style is friendly and fun and she certainly brought this region of France alive for me. As I found from reading her first book, she made me want to set aside some time to explore an area of France that we usually drive through at speed, without really seeing it, on our way to or from the ferry ports to the UK. Shame on us!

 

If you love reading memoirs about real life in France, this is one is for you.

 

Purchase Links 




Author Bio

Janine Marsh lives in northern France with her husband and myriad pets. 

 

She is unable to resist a stray animal, and the word is out. She works from a converted pigsty when she’s not travelling around France doing research for her website www.thegoodlifefrance.com, which tells you everything you need to know about France and more. 

 

She gave up a sensible job in London, where she was born, to renovate a bargain-basement barn and turn it into a home – an ongoing project. She is an award-winning travel writer and social media fan who loves to share her life, explorations and photos on Facebook at The Good Life France.

 

You can find Janine on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and read her latest The Good Life France online Magazine here.

 


You can read my review of her previous book here:

My Good Life in France

 

Join me back here tomorrow for my review of Toujours la France!  - you are going to love it!

 

Friday, April 8, 2022

The stonework of the Chateau de Javarzay and my Cinderella shoes

French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
Stonework markings at Chateau de Javarzay


The madness of March

March was a month of madness where change left our normal routine in tatters. 



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
In the UK with family


The big news was that for the first time since the pandemic we made it to the UK for what can only be described as a whirlwind week of catching up with family. The travel alone left my head reeling, but it was worth it – as was the extra cost of a daytime cabin on the ferry. It was our first time using the DFDS Dieppe-Newhaven service, but it won’t be our last. 

 

We have now been living with Covid-19 for two years and although restrictions have all but disappeared, I currently know of more people (both here in France and in the UK) who have caught it in the last few weeks than ever. With France voting this Sunday in the first rounds of the Presidential elections, I’m just glad I don’t have any need to be anywhere near a bureau de vote. Our social life has become a little less hermit-like, but we are still not taking too many chances and never leave home without a mask and bottle of hand gel. The news might not be full of headlines about the pandemic and lockdowns, but with the war in Ukraine, it is no easier to understand or cope with and still leaves a sickening feeling in my stomach.

 

The clocks have jumped to summer time and winter has officially rolled into spring, although with temperatures of -2º last weekend and tempête Diego currently rocking the garden with forecast gusts of wind up to 100km/hr, I’m yet to be convinced. One thing that I am convinced by is that our climate is as unstable as world politics and although it might not be much, I’m more determined than ever to use my bike instead of the car for local journeys. Last weekend’s frozen commute to work wasn’t easy with three pairs of gloves and seven layers of clothing, but I survived.


 

French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
Chateau de Javarzay, Chef-Boutonne


Work at the Chateau de Javarzay is a welcome distraction and the more time I spend there, the more I’m learning about it and enjoying it. I like to think that the stones are the bones of the chateau and I hope you’ll agree that it has a fine bone structure to rival any super model. It’s certainly got good pedigree too, being one of the first Renaissance chateaux in the Poitou region and dating back to 1515. The more I'm there, the more details I find to catch my eye and the more the history of this building comes to life. 


 

French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The museum entry



The current entrance to the chateau is in the orangery, an addition to the original building in 1850. The building may have gone through many changes and renovations over the years, but the wear and tear of the centuries is still evident in the superb, patterned floor where I’m lucky enough to spend my working days. The smaller black tiles are set diagonally between the cream flagstone squares, and if you look closely, ammonite fossils can be seen peeking through. 



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
Fossils in the flagstone floor

 

Cinderella shoes

The floors might be beautiful, but my first few days at the chateau revealed an urgent need for new shoes. My requirements were quite specific - they had to be warm and comfortable enough to stop my feet feeling like blocks of ice when standing all day on the flagstone floor, safe enough for climbing up and down a sixty-five-step spiral staircase numerous times a day, smart enough for work at a chateau and have that something special that catches the eye. 

 


French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
My Cinderella chateau boots


On our recent trip back to UK, as if by magic, THE most perfect pair of Cinderella chateau boots leapt out of a shoe shop to find me. I might be fifty, but I like to think you are never too old for your first pair of Doc Martens Air Wairs, and the fact that this pair are pink and sparkly is just the icing on the cake. 



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The spiral staircase in the turret tower



They have now completed two full weekends at work, and I’m delighted to report they are light, comfy and warm, plus I can tackle the spiral staircase with a youthful spring in my step.



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The stone mason marks

 

I love to run my fingers over the huge stones that frame the doorways, that stand over 2.5m tall, and are pitted with the stonemason’s marks from when they worked on the creamy tufa stone from the Touraine. I can feel the five hundred years of history in my fingertips. 


 

French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
Stone cornice


As part of the recent building works the walls may have been plastered and freshened up with paint, but this original stone cornice now has pride of place in the corner above our souvenir shop. 



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The exterior stonework Chateau de Javarzay

 

Outside, the stonework of the chateau is even more impressive than what is visible inside and it’s certainly worth taking your time to look closely at the details. There are the intricately carved supports for the turret and tower walkways. 


 

French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The round tower walkway


The crenelated towers that served to keep an eye on the enemy as well as to show off the status of the lord. 


 

French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The spy hole by the gateway


The embrasure located by the gateway to watch for visitors and shoot attackers if necessary. 



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The mullioned windows

 

The mullioned window frames decorated with typical Renaissance elements that also decorate the doorways and tops of the turrets. 



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The cobbles of the entrance arch

 

Some of the stones show signs of their life over the years, like the grooves in the cobbles under the arch where carriage wheels have left their mark. 

 

There are also the narrow openings in the stone where the drawbridge would have dropped and above the arch what is left of the coat of arms. This, along with ten of the original twelve towers were destroyed to protect the remaining building (and no doubt the owners) as the French Revolution kicked off. 


 

French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
The faces of the Chateau de Javarzay


It is the faces and features that you have to crane your neck to see that I love the most. With them watching down on me, I never feel alone when I’m there. 

 

There is so much more to see, so if you are in the area this weekend, come and let yourself be carried away to a place where history comes to life. I’d love to know what catches your eye.



French Village Diaries stonework of the chateau de Javarzay Cinderella shoes
Chateau de Javarzay, Chef-Boutonne


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Our last half dozen

French Village Diaries Our last half dozen RIP Brucie the goose
Our last half dozen - RIP Brucie the goose


Our last half dozen – RIP Brucie the goose.

I was reading something the other day that said geese could live until they were 25 and as our Brucie had just started laying again, at the ripe old age of thirteen, I guessed she’d be roaming our orchard for a while yet. I was wrong. While we were out yesterday, a dog or a fox got into the garden and attacked and killed Brucie. I will spare you the details, but what was left was a gruesome sight. 

 

An orchard full of feathered friends was never in our French life plan, but sometimes in life it’s good to go with the flow. When a male Muscovy duck settled himself into our orchard in 2005, we bought him some female company. The ducks were joined by chickens, home-hatched ducklings had a habit of happening no matter how good I thought I was at collecting eggs, and then in May 2009, a mysterious bearded visitor left us a gosling. We named him Bruce and still have no idea who left him, or why, but we were very glad he did. Bruce spent the year thinking he was a duck, blissfully unaware of our plan to serve him as Christmas dinner. His saving grace was when ‘he’ began laying eggs, big and beautiful eggs - and we began to call her Brucie. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a goose egg, but they are roughly the size of three hen eggs, with a huge golden yolk and make the most amazing cakes, omelettes or rather indulgent dippy boiled eggs with soldiers.

 

We made the decision a while ago to downsize our farmyard family, so although all remaining birds would live out their years with us, when they were gone, we wouldn’t replace them. Brucie has now been living a quiet and solitary life for almost two years, but unlike the last of the ducks and chickens who died a peaceful death in old age, Brucie wasn’t ready to go. She had begun her spring laying and was happy and healthy. 

 

All of the birds were great characters and I never got tired of watching them scratching the soil, chasing a bug (or bigger), picking cherries from the low branches or just strutting around the garden. Only this week we smiled as we watched Brucie sitting in her water bowl, playing with a stick that was far too big to fit in with her. The garden seems rather empty and quiet out there today. She was a real chatterbox, always honking her accompaniment to the eight o’clock morning church bells and with one beady eye on the back door, ready to shout at me as I put my boots on. Today marks the first time we have been bird free since 2005 and it's going to take a bit of getting used to.

 

RIP Brucie and thank you for thirteen years of fun and delicious eggs. 


French Village Diaries Our last half dozen RIP Brucie the goose
Brucie the goose 2009 - 2022