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Publisher's Summary

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 life in France. Or so she hoped. While getting to grips with the locals and la vie Française, and renovating her dilapidated new house, a building lacking the comforts of mains drainage, heating, or proper rooms, and with little money and less of a clue, she started to realize there was lot more to her new home than she could ever have imagined.

Ten years ago, Janine Marsh decided to leave her corporate life behind to fix up a run-down barn in northern France. This is the true story of her rollercoaster ride, in many ways a love story, with her sharp observations on the very different way of life, culture, and etiquette of France.

From her early struggles and homesickness through personal tragedy, to her attempts to become self-sufficient and to breed "the fattest chickens in the village", Janine learned that there was more to her new home than she could ever have imagined.

©2017 Janine Marsh (P)2018 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • mz
  • 10-02-18

Really funny, delightful, informative

I really enjoyed the book. Great sense of humor throughout. She talks about the process of moving there, life events, customs, local traditions, in a casual story-telling style that keeps my attention.

This is about living in and fixing up a several-hundred-year-old house with a small area of land in a small village in the north of France. The couple moved there from England on a normal budget, not the Peter Mayle well-off Provence type. So it is more realistic for a normal couple.

I read Peter Mayle's books on Provence a while ago and wanted to find similar books about country living. While there are plenty of books about France, most of them are about the big city and/or not so interesting. This book was the type I was after.

Check out her modern website with the same name, you'll find a ton of information for expats and travelers!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna mackay
  • 10-30-18

Loved it

Absolutely brilliant
Great writing and loved the narrative.
Made me laugh and cry almost makes me want to move to France

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  • Anne H.
  • 08-16-18

A little bit bland

I thought the narrator spoiled this book,she wasn’t very expressive and and a bit bland,the story of Janine’s life in France was a bit tedious and a wee bit boring,but I stuck with it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mayne Meals
  • 06-08-18

Francophile's Jackanory

Lovely story, you don't have to want to live in France or live there already, it's just a nice tale of a journey. Really enjoyed hearing how such a townie can be captured by the animal rescue bug and thumbs up for the way they both embraced this, great stories I can totally relate to!

If you are looking for a more in depth 'how to move to France and survive the bureaucracy' type of book, this isn't it. In fact the 'Allo 'Allo type narration is a little bit cringe worthy in places, I think i'd have preferred the author to actually narrate this herself but c'est la vie (see what I did there).

All in all, a lovely book, some sad parts with the loss of family members but on the whole, a lovely read, thank you.

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  • Alastair Davies
  • 04-12-18

This isn't my normal type of read and I loved it

Interesting, funny and inspiring are a few words that I can think of when listening to this story.