Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book review of Fat Dogs and French Estates by Beth Haslam


French Village Diaries book review Fat Dogs and French Estates Beth Haslam memoir France
Book review Fat Dogs and French Estates

My review today is for Fat Dogs and French Estates - Part 1 by Beth Haslan, a newly released memoir about a journey to France with a difference. Beth, her husband Jack and their two tubby dogs Sam and Biff are in France to begin the search for their dream property like many have done before, but theirs is not quite a run of the mill wish list. Beth and Jack are keen on the great outdoors, so are looking to buy an estate with land, wildlife and a habitable but modest property, certainly not one with lots of bedrooms or a swimming pool. How hard can it be?

This book launches the reader straight into the not so unusual husband and wife bickering that a long car journey invariably creates. Beth has an amusing style and is very tongue in cheek ‘moaning’ about her grumpy husband and his antics. By the halfway point I’d decided that this good-natured grumpiness (mainly on Jack’s part), rather than being a domestic disaster actually showed the strength in their relationship, as without a solid foundation Beth wouldn’t have been able to entertain us with such honesty. I always looked forward to seeing how Jack would react when yet another viewing didn't quite live up to expectations.

The book moved at a good pace, with lots of interesting facts about the areas they visited (I felt I was a more appreciative ear to these snippets of information than Jack was) and lots of humour too. Beth is a great storyteller, especially when describing the characters they meet on their search and the somewhat bizarre (and dangerous) situations they often found themselves in. All too soon I had reached the end and was left wanting to know more as Beth and Jack were still on their journey and still searching for and viewing domaines. Thankfully I have insider knowledge and know that part two is well on its way, so the rest of their journey will be told very soon, phew!

I can recommend this book to any memoir lovers wanting a good chuckle, especially if the house hunting process in rural France and the quirky characters you are likely to come across interests you.

Fat Dogs and French Estates Part 1 is available in paperback and ebook format. Links to Amazon can be found below.