A Lady in France : A Review

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Jennie Goutet is not only my friend, but also the author of a brand new memoir: A Lady in France. Her book appealed to me on multiple levels, and I’ve always been drawn to Jennie’s openness and honesty when it comes to addressing tough subjects. I have felt a kinship with her for several years now, and so I eagerly devoured each chapter, always yearning for more.

If I’m being completely up front, I was apprehensive about reviewing her book because I knew a big piece of it was about religion and Christianity. And I’m not a very religious person. I’m Jewish, but for me, it’s more about the culture, heritage, and the traditions, and less about the spirituality, prayer, and God. Jennie chronicles her journey to God in a way that didn’t feel preachy or condescending at all; in fact, if anything, it’s made me question the depth and breadth of my core religious values.

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Jennie’s book opens when she’s 19 years old, studying abroad during her junior year of college.

Why did I go to France in the first place if I was so fearful? 

And I am one of the most fearful people you can meet. I have been terrified of

everything outside of my small life, haunted by the “what ifs,” accosted by

worry and the fear of flying or of grief, ever since I can remember.”

Jennie is painfully honest throughout her book, and confessions like these bring us closer to her. The irony of it, however, is that time and time again, she comes up against something so scary and instead of running away, she confronts the very thing that terrifies her. It’s also inspiring to read about someone (whom I can so closely identify with) abandoning everything to chase after her dreams…literally, since Jennie dreamed at age 17 about meeting and marrying a French man. And she sets out to find him and do just that.

Jennie will hold your hand and bring you along with her as she comes up against loss (suicide and death), depression, and addiction. She’ll describe the cultures and scenery with such vivid detail that it seems as if you’re right there with her; you’ll feel the monsoon, curse the Celiac disease, weep for the dying baby in her arms. You’ll fight back tears when she loses her brother and her fourth child, Alistair. You’ll cheer when she marries Matthieu and they bring their babies into the world. And you’ll laugh with recognition as she appreciates the little things (Fanta and hot showers), schleps strollers up and down stairs, and deals with construction workers and their endless dust.

Jennie manages to woo us with her grace and her immense well of gratitude…that never runs dry despite the many miles she travels, the experiences she has, and the life lessons she learns along the way.

What are you waiting for? Buy your paperback copy of A Lady in France on Amazon! (you can also get it on Kindle there!)

Want to connect with the author, Jennie Goutet? Of course you do!

Follow her on Twitter: @aladyinFrance

Read Jennie’s blog.

“Like” Jennie on Facebook.

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Jennie Goutet

Jennie blogs at A Lady in France and is a contributing author to Sunshine After the Storm — A Survival Guide For the Grieving Mother. She was a BlogHer Voice of the Year pick two years running, and her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Queen Latifah’s website, and BlogHer, among other places. She lives just outside of Paris with her husband and three children.

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  • http://writingwishing.com/ Alison

    I love your review, Erin. Jennie and her memoir are amazing!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      You said it! I agree completely. I’m honored to count Jennie as a friend. To count BOTH OF YOU as friends.

      sending you love and anti-nausea meds.

  • http://aladyinfrance.com/ Lady Jennie

    (sniff) Erin, I can’t tell you how much I love your review, and how much it means to me.


    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I love you. You are amazing. You should be so proud for all that you have done and the roads you’ve traveled.

      I fully intended to put some of this review on Amazon & Goodreads and promptly forgot to do so. Adjusting my to-do list immediately!


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  • Jessica Smock

    I love this review too. I too was a bit anxious about the religious aspect, but ended up with a deeply personal (and not, as you say, preachy) understanding of Jennie’s journey to faith. A remarkable story!

  • http://auerfreelance.com/ Kerstin Auer

    I read the book a few months ago and you made me want to read it again – yes to everything you wrote!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I know!! I’m sure I’ll be reading it again, and I keep thinking that the second read I’ll end up marking and highlighting all different things on the way. ;-)

  • Julie Gardner

    Jennie is one of those people whom I feel fantastically lucky to have in my life.
    You are another.

    And this is a perfect review.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Far from perfect, seeing as I have virtually no experience writing formal reviews! But I just went with my gut and did the best I could. Jennie’s book was so inspiring…I read it at just the right time.

      And I am even more lucky to have YOU in my life.

  • http://www.facing40.com/ Poppy

    Had I not already read it twice, your review would totally make me want to. I felt the same way about the religious aspects of the book – I admired her faith.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I admire it, too and especially lately have been considering that I’d be better off if I had a little more faith in my life. I guess it’s never too late… to try.


  • http://www.jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.com/ Angela Youngblood

    What a beautiful review Erin! I can’t wait to read Jennie’s book.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I think you’ll enjoy it. I think it’s fascinating to read books by people I’ve actually met in real life. Jennie’s inspiring and she’s done SO much!

  • http://www.twocannoli.com/ Kristin S.

    I loved the book! I thought Jennie’s journey was fascinating, and she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. xo

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Agreed! Her journey is so inspiring. Makes me feel as if I’ve traveled nowhere and done nothing for much of my life. LOL!

  • http://www.misselaineouslife.com Elaine A.

    This book is really so good. Her journey is truly amazing to me. Great review, Erin!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thanks, Elaine! I am bummed I missed the Bon Bon chat the other night, the kids were not cooperating. :-(

  • http://www.about100percent.com/ Andrea

    What a great review, Erin! I just love Jennie’s story.