15 December 2023

Francophile Friday: a good life in France


The book that started it all.

Recommended holiday reading

Into the weekend with 4 great reads by Janine Marsh, guaranteed to make any Christmas bright 


Besides photography enthusiasts my stats show that visitors to this blog include not only the curious but regulars, many of whom have followed me here from my USA Today writing days. Most are Francophiles, those ardent admirers of France and everything French. And while some reside in France, of those who don't some have confessed that they envision themselves pulling up stakes and settling in The Land of The Gauls.

 Well that is exactly what author Janine Marsh, creator/editor of popular online magazine The Good Life France, where I am a contributor, did, not all that long ago, now detailed in a first book, My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream that shot up to #1 on Amazon shortly after its release, beating out J. K. Rowling at the time.

 It all started on a dreary day with zero expectations - except to find some cheap French wine on a trip to northern France with her husband and father. That trip turned into a true life adventure, and Janine found herself returning 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.”

Eventually leaving behind both life and livelihood in London, she leapt into unknown territory of what was to become a completely new lifestyle in the French countryside that included a plethora of animals (another revelation), local characters and many other, sometimes perplexing, discoveries.  

The writing is light and keeps the reader turning pages. If you are expecting a "how-we-fixed-up-an-old-barn-and-made-it-liveable" manual, you will be disappointed. It is a story of survival in a culture that turns out to be surprisingly different than anything she knew, often bemusing. This book is evergreen that is, it won’t grow old, especially now, post Covid, as the world has changed and such forays have become the food of fantasy.

Since then three other books, the second two, sequels of sort and equally delightful, have followed:

Toujours La France!: Living The Dream In Rural France 

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

Her fourth and quite recent (October 31, 2023) How To Be French: Eat Drink Dress Travel Love, is a toast to French l'art de vivre and what it means to be French, filled with useful advice, insight and tips à la française. - BPJ 


Janine Marsh is a British writer "living in the middle of nowhere rural France, with 72 animals and a husband." - From her Amazon page


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