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Buying a country estate in France seemed such a simple thing to accomplish. But when Beth, her irascible husband Jack, and their two fat dogs set off, little did they know that it would become such an extraordinary journey.

Surviving near-death experiences, they drove thousands of kilometres visiting French estates steeped in both history and eccentric owners.

Buying a country estate in France seemed such a simple thing to accomplish. But when Beth, her irascible husband Jack, and their two fat dogs set off, little did they know that it would become such an extraordinary journey.

Surviving near-death experiences, they drove thousands of kilometres visiting French estates steeped in both history and eccentric owners.

Fat Dogs and French Estates - 1

As retirement beckons, Beth, and her husband Jack, start planning their future. With most of their leisure activities spent outdoors, they decide to buy a second home with land of their own.

A comfortable lifestyle, affordable property prices and warm weather eventually draw them to the South of France; which seems to be the ideal location.

After weeks of planning, which severely test her language skills, Beth ends up with a shortlist of 13 estates; any one of which she is convinced will be perfect.

The day finally arrives for the beginning of their great adventure. As they set off with their two fat dogs, little do Beth and Jack know what lies in store. It’s probably just as well, because this hilarious, action-packed adventure might otherwise never have taken place.

What readers think Fat Dogs and French Estates I

Very well written

Really funny story, great characters and very well written. I wanted to read more when I got to the end and am very much looking forward to volume 2.
I read the book in 2 days which is unheard of for me so I would highly recommend it to anyone, even if they’re not a big reader

Mike

I think this is one of my favorites

What can I say? I love all Beth’s Fat Dogs books, and this one is superb. Madness, mayhem and fun. Anyone who follows Beth’s monthly blogs will be happy to see some of their favorite animal characters introduced into this series, and will laugh at many of the situations they get into. But life isn’t all fun; there’s a lot of hard work involved in running a domaine and much animal husbandry. But Beth manages to see the humorous side of most situations, and you will chuckle along with her. I enjoyed catching up with old friends from previous books, especially the irascible but lovable Jack; and meeting more fascinating characters. All in all, a most enjoyable read and a great addition to the series. I think this is one of my favorites. I hope Beth finds time in her busy life to start on book 6. Who said retirement would be restful?

FabulousChrissie

An absolute must-read

Beth Haslam is an absolute gem, who’s personable style of writing takes the reader along with her, her husband and 2 dogs, in search of their perfect French estate. Beth has an outstanding gift for writing; her vivid descriptions of the characters they meet, the antics of the dogs and the escapades they have along the way are so well described, I truly felt I was sharing the journey with them.

Of course, things don’t always go to plan, and Beth’s approach to the challenges she faces and the way she portrays them in her writing, had me hoping that each new estate would be the perfect property for them.

An absolute must-read for fans of light-hearted memoirs, especially those involving moving abroad and animals.

Dilma

I guffawed

As a back seat driver, I guffawed as I shared Beth and Jack’s unique search for the perfect French property. I delighted in the eccentric aristocrats we met along the way and even picked up some fascinating historical facts…’

Victoria Twead, New York Times bestselling author of ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’

An exceptional blend of memoir, history, and animals

The book equivalent of comfort food-with no calories!

I love Beth Haslam’s style of writing; her choice of words, and how she says things. This is her 5th book, and it was certainly well worth the wait. Intelligent, her meticulous selection of words makes it so beautifully descriptive. Her word and phrase choices are second to none. I like the chapter titles-they intrigue, yet they don’t give anything away, and it all makes sense as you read the chapter.

This is definitely up to standard-I was in right from the beginning. The quality of the writing; just what we’ve come to expect from Beth Haslam. She just does it every time, and gets better and better.

This has all the right ingredients for me: memoir, moving to a new life abroad, animals, mishaps, hurdles, renovations, French country life, growing their own etc. Beth has become so expert at holding the reader’s attention, and the timing of events. The book often made me chuckle and smile.

There are so many vet visits and dramas, you lose count. And you don’t see them coming. This is an exceptional blend of memoir, history, and animals. Concludes for now, but tempts you to know what’s in store for them next.

A simply scrumptious book.

Julie Haigh

Rich in real-life hilarity

I do the majority of my reading when I go to bed – usually quite late. But this book has caused me to go to bed before 9 pm for the past 3 nights.
I’m not normally a travel book reader but I’d heard such good reports about this book that I had to get hold of a copy.
And, of course, its enjoyment is not just about the excellent travel story. It’s so rich in real-life hilarity that I struggled to put it down.
My only complaint is that the follow-up book is not yet out.
Well done to Beth Haslam. Please get the next one out as soon as possible and then keep on writing, because you’ve got a convert here.

James Abley

Why did I wait so long?!

I’ve known Beth for a little while now – but hadn’t read her books. She very kindly sent me a copy of the new box set (which covers the first 3 books her “Fat Dogs and French Estates” series) and I got stuck right in! “Lockdown” has certainly come with its own stresses… and this book set has helped me cope with my insomnia no end because it kept me sane while sleep was eluding me!

Just “wow!” Beth has a beautiful writing style – ever so “frightfully English” (which makes me smile and think of my former “home”). The way she describes characters is something that most other memoir authors could learn from! Each and every character is described so intricately that you feel that you know them personally.

Beth and Jack pack their two dogs into their car… and head into rural France to find the perfect second home – somewhere that they can escape to and relax… away from daily grind of the UK. However – colourful adventures are afoot, and this book has you cringing, smiling and crying in equal measures because of course these things rarely go smoothly. I frequently found myself asking how they could bear some of the things they went through – I’m not sure I’d have still been smiling as much as Beth does.

I’m an absolute convert to Beth’s books now and can’t wait to get stuck into Book four!

Elle Draper

Told with great wit and style

I don’t read memoirs usually but the cover of this caught my eye, it looked fun. It is fun.
Once the reader becomes acquainted with the characters and the reasons for a move to France the story rattles along at a fair pace. To find a home proves to be a challenging, unbelievable and often hilarious journey, all told with great wit and style. I need to read volume 2 just to find out what happens next and indeed was the grumpy Jack ever happy!

MC

Loved it

The first in this series (2nd due out soon) deals with Beth’s hunt in rural France for the perfect ‘estate’ to purchase in order to satisfy her and her husband’s love of outdoor pursuits! Sounds simple…right? No we travel the countryside with them at a breathless rate and breakneck speed to view some downright strange places which are owned by even stranger folk! Loved it, laughed out loud and I adored her irascible husband. A very well written book, this author has a way of involving the reader to the extent that few manage. I am very much looking forward to the 2nd book.

Jennifer Herrick-Weatherstone

Showed the strength in their relationship

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.

French Village Diaries

At last!

At last! We can now all binge on Books 1-3 of Beth Haslam’s fabulous Fat Dogs and French Estates series. And they are available on Amazon at a crazy price for all three.

A. Reader

Couldn’t put it down, loved every word

Just finished #5. Couldn’t put it down, loved every word. Beth of bringing everything to life, you are there in the moment with her. Jack is very patient, and a secret softy with the animals. Loved her visits to markets, you really get a feel of them. Max brought a smile and a giggle with his antics. Aby is a lady, or at least thinks she is.
It was wonderful to visit old friends and to be introduced to new friends, Aby, Max and Tripod. Beth’s vivid description is wonderful, she really has a way with words. I am friends on Facebook and she is always responding to posts etc. Waiting for #6, no pressure Beth.

Jennifer

Thoroughly enjoyed every page

From the front cover, to the charming little pencil drawings at the beginning of each chapter and on to the talented writing style of the author, I thoroughly enjoyed every page of ‘Fat Dogs and French Estates’.
The story takes us through France on a property hunting expedition along with Beth, her adorably grumpy husband (Jack) and their two dogs.
Travelling abroad with pets is always an interesting experience and this book provides many a chuckle out loud moment as Beth describes the antics of Sam (a lovable but deaf Australian Shepherd), and Biff (a feisty little Norfolk terrier with a heart murmur). I could imagine the smell in the car after Sam has taken an unscheduled dip in the hotel swimming pool and Biff has delightedly rolled in wild boor poo. Of course, when such things happen ‘their’ dogs become Beth’s dogs. I had however ceased to worry about Jack’s apparent grumpiness when, early on in the book, Beth tells her engineer husband to ‘go and sort out his nuts and bolts’, which he does as meek as a lamb.

Charlotte

I read it in one sitting

Book 5 in a wonderful series. No spoilers but highlights and lowlights – lots of both. Let’s see… new members of the household, a potager (veggie garden), pheasant midwifery, fascinating archeology, a grape harvest, Christmas celebrations and tapas in the middle of country France. Add the predictable tussles with machinery, fencing, invasive critters, weather, mud, escaping poultry and of course, Jack (grumpy softie), and you can see why I read it in one sitting.

Elizabeth Moore