• My Good Life in France

  • In Pursuit of the Rural Dream
  • By: Janine Marsh
  • Narrated by: Esther Wane
  • Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (117 ratings)

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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 listeners say about My Good Life in France

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!

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fun listen!

Great listen, even if you aren't planning the expat life. Getting ready for our first trip to France and found this both enjoyable and educational! love Janine's website too!

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

Excellent writing style. The narrator was fantastic. I loved the book. I have bought the next book as well.

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Beginning was interesting but then becomes boring

This started out well but ended up like more of a travelogue. Would have liked to hear more about the renovation and construction of the new house.

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Wonderful Study of French Country Life

I really enjoyed reading about the evolution of Janine Marsh's transition from a London-based professional to a permanent resident of the French countryside.

The cautionary tales were also much appts as I am.In the process of purchasing my own house in a country village!

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Lovely travel story and new life

I love stories where people are looking to move to a new place and start a new life. I really enjoyed reading/listening about Janine Marsh taking her husband and father through the countryside of France looking for a house where they can make it their own. They land up burning a rundown house in Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais. Janine takes us on her journey of living in the countryside of France. This is a true story, Janine got the idea of starting a Facebook blog page about her life in France and then this book was born.

If you are planning a trip to France or thinking about moving there. I would highly recommend this book. It’s a travel story, not a travel book which I love. Janine covers pretty much everything. She takes us from the beginning of looking for a house, to figuring out the system of getting a building permit, funny stories of going to a dinner party ( don’t bring wine to your Host, it's rude), how babies are named (yes, there is a story about that), rescuing old dogs, raising chickens, how to drive etc. The stories are funny, in depth, and totally fascinating!

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Great road trip listen

An easy, entertaining audiobook for a road trip or vacation. Author is witty, and the reader pleasant to listen to.

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Very entertaining and inspiring story

The story is very entertaining and inspiring and brings back a lot of good memories of cycling through that region. It’s wonderful that there’s a book describing this overlooked region of France. But why couldn’t the writer have read this herself? Her jokes are funny, but they lose their punch by the way the narrator reads them. Also the narrator keeps stressing the wrong syllable when pronouncing the French words, really annoying! (Especially if you know that, according to a story towards the end of the book, the writer sometimes gets mistaken for a native speaker.)

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  • JohnJenner
  • 10-28-20

loved it

loved being immersed in rural France, lots of newances I recognised as a frequent visitor of France an even more newances I was unaware of

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cheezeunoatcakes
  • 04-14-22

As it is.....

Cannot believe how closely this mirrors our experiences in a our longere in our part of Brittany. Its the truth!

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  • Aoife Adams
  • 09-18-21

Entertaining and informative

Just what I needed as an escapist listen. Well-written and amusing. Esther Vane, the reader, seemed so in tune with the words that I had to remind myself she was not the author. Very helpful if you are considering buying a property in France.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-02-21

Loved it!!

This is a delightful listen often funny and at times emotional. My wife and I love France and dream of having a second home there eventually. Whether this is a goal of yours or if you simply love France and country living, you must listen!

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  • IoW Sparky
  • 06-19-21

Loved The Good Life

I enjoyed this so much - and privileged to meet Janine a couple of times too.
There is a follow up book as well, which I also enjoyed

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  • Eucalypt
  • 05-11-21

Like reading soneones facebook posts-no story flow....

Written as though it’s simply a diary of unrelated facts strung together, it was disappointing.
The story of her dad and his character kept me engaged, but once the house was bought......
I realise it’s a reflection of real life, but this not a book I will ever listen to twice, or recommend

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  • RUSSELL FORRESTER
  • 05-09-20

Very Enjoyable

A well read book I really enjoyed listening to the author’s adventures of her early life in France. Interesting facts backed with great experiences

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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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  • 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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  • Alistar 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.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-22

Loved this!

loved the humour in the book it was very entertaining , I read this within 3 days I enjoyed it so much

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  • Louise Roetman
  • 10-09-19

Loooved it!!!

I have read the book and loved it, so when I saw the audiobook as I was browsing I just had to listen to it! It totally lived up to my hopes of what it would be! Beautifully narrated, and as lovely a story as I remember. Highly recommend!!!