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The title says it all: what we have and where we are. This book, the sequel to Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure, follows our French exploits as we endeavour to rebuild our lives in another new country, after spending four and half years in Australia. Our goal, or hope for the immediate future, is to focus positively on the present, so that we can start a new, optiThe title says it all: what we have and where we are. This book, the sequel to Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure, follows our French exploits as we endeavour to rebuild our lives in another new country, after spending four and half years in Australia. Our goal, or hope for the immediate future, is to focus positively on the present, so that we can start a new, optimistic future back in Europe. Our main aim is to be nearer to the children, leaving the dark clouds of the challenges we faced in Australia as a distant memory. Journey with us as we arrive in rural South West France; enjoy my reflections, thoughts, and observations about my family, our new surroundings, and our lifestyle. Follow the journey of my writing career and how we start our renovation project while managing our convoluted family life. Once again, we will laugh, cry, and enjoy life to the fullest with a generous helping of positive spin thrown in for good measure....

Title : two dogs and a suitcase clueless in charente
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 22397972
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 316 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

two dogs and a suitcase clueless in charente Reviews

  • Brenda Perlin
    2019-05-25 20:40

    "The truth is that there is often no one particular solution to life's challenges, sometimes there is no solution just resolution."Two Dogs and a Suitcase: Clueless in Charente by Sarah Jane Butfield is a perky escape. Insightful, telling and full of real life emotion. An honest memoir that at times was emotional and yet entertaining.This is an uplifting tale that I loved cozying into. This book took me to an entirely different place and I felt I could see the beautiful landscape all around me. Inspired me and made me yearn to travel to that part of the world. The exhaustible task of starting over in a new county is a daunting thought. These people took on their projects with passion and great ambition. They make this quite brutal renovation work with each other and their two dogs with great love and fortitude. I am in awe of their commitment and strength. Beautiful story!

  • Ruth Burns
    2019-05-23 02:02

    Interesting. I wish that the author had continued on the story based around the renovation and the involvement into French life. The story starts with the new adventure/choice of Sarah and her husband to buy a home, renovate and integrate into French life in a small village. The trials of doing this on a small, disappearing budget, no French skills........ started as an interesting tale. However, as the book progressed and got into the famiy stuff...... I got confused and I must admit a bit less interested. I haven't read her first book Glass Half Full, so perhaps that is why. Sarah writes well.. just wanted more of what the book started with.

  • Lynn Cooper
    2019-05-10 20:35

    I have never been to France, but like most people, I’ve always wanted to live there. In my dreams, I am always sitting out on a balcony, relaxing, overlooking a gorgeous vineyard and sipping a glass of fine wine. After reading Two Dogs and a Suitcase, I now have a new dream. One of substance and adventure like the one this author and her family experienced. This book is not a glamorous, glittery tale. It’s way better than that. As with all of Sarah Jane’s books, after I read them, I am left feeling inspired and somewhat invincible. Traveling and subsisting vicariously through her trials, struggles, unrelenting determination, triumphs and victories, I am renewed. Much like the cottage in Charente, I have been renovated from the inside out by the flowing, poetic prose of this author.

  • Frank Kusy
    2019-05-12 21:00

    Thoroughly absorbing and uplifting sequel to Sarah Jane's first book, 'Glass Half Full', which I also enjoyed immensely. Having lost her home in Australia to the Brisbane floods, Sarah Jane and hubby and kids relocate to the broken down cottage in Charente, France, with which she senses a "spiritual connection" and sets about renovating it in typical Butfield no-nonsense and determined style. The writing is clear and entertaining, the style compelling, and the whole book quite un-putdownable. Thank you, Sarah Jane, another winner!

  • Samantha Parker
    2019-05-19 22:48

    A fantastic sequel, couldn't put it down (again), very well written, you should be very proud

  • Julie Haigh
    2019-04-26 21:56

    A very enjoyable addition to this memoir series.I enjoyed Sarah Jane Butfield's first travel memoir, 'Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure' so was pleased there was a follow-up already written and I didn't have to wait. This time they are hoping to buy a property in France to 'do up'/renovate. Sarah and her husband Nigel are hoping to buy something cheap so they will be mortgage free. So they throw themselves into cleaning, painting, buying items, encountering language barrier problems along the way. There's a bit of intrigue-I was wondering what was going to be in that box!. This book is about starting again, lack of money and doing up their new abode bit by bit depending on when any spare money is around. This quote in the book expresses it really well: "As each small piece of the renovation puzzle falls into place". I loved to read about the self-sufficiency. It all sounded wonderful-all those things they grow, gather, cook etc. They make Blackberry cordial, jams, homemade cider, it all sounds absolutely lovely as described here. (There is more of this in Sarah Jane's follow-up book 'Our Frugal Summer in Charente: An Expat's Kitchen Garden Journal'-I read this straight after and really enjoyed it!). There were some recipes included-these were within the book (not in a separate section). I love these bits-talking about life in a quiet little village in France, growing vegetables, making foods with them, it all sounds so cosy and the foods sound so tasty as you read. I thought the book seemed to flow more on the latter third, there were more happenings and ups and downs. You learn things about the different areas they visit in France, the history behind them etc-all very interesting. There are some terrible stories of what happened to these villagers in wartime, you can't help but be affected by this. I loved this part-where she was writing about the places they were visiting, staying, the foods they ate, markets, it was all good descriptive detail. She did a good job of writing about and making the outing sound interesting, some good word choices, a very entertaining chapter. There are parts included about her publishing journey for her Glass Half Full book-these will be interesting to both general readers and would-be authors alike. The book rounds off nicely with some good conclusions. I found it enjoyable and went straight on to read Sarah Jane's third book which I also recommend. I read this book a little while ago but I have hung on a bit before doing my review: I found there were quite a few issues with commas-lack of and extra ones-also quite a bit of repetition-eg Sarah Jane calls her dogs 'our boys' lots of times. What is so nice about this author is that she is always looking at ways to improve and make things better and I saw that she had brought out a new edited edition. That's why I delayed writing my review: Now I see that Sarah Jane has addressed many of these bits and bobs I found in my original copy and it is much better. This improvement has been reflected further in her 'Our Frugal Summer'-I gave five stars to this one-well done and fair play to the author for continuing to strive to be the best that she can be.

  • Rebecca Hislop
    2019-05-01 22:47

    Having read Sarah Jane’s previous book I was very interested to see how she and Nigel would cope after moving to France. They managed to buy a ramshackle old property in Charente with a view to renovating it. However they faced a huge challenge as they were on a limited budget and the house was barely habitable. You cannot fail to be impressed at the way they set about creating a home fit to live in and also creating a garden where they plan to grow enough produce to live on. Sarah Jane is certainly an optimist and her determination, courage and belief that things will turn out for the best sustain them through some tough times. ‘We only talk about positive things when we work on the house to give it good karma’ this must have been incredibly difficult at times for them! They have very little money yet somehow the house begins to take shape and Sarah Jane becomes adept at creating meals from very little. The couple deal with ongoing family problems too while Sarah Jane has a dream of being a published author. Fortunately for us she managed to achieve that goal. Sarah Jane writes very openly and honestly about their struggles and her own feelings. It’s certainly not always a comfortable or cosy read. I’ve also read her book Frugal Summer in Charente alongside this which I would highly recommend as well.

  • Cynthia Ulmer
    2019-05-03 23:00

    As much as I enjoyed Sarah's first book, "Glass Half Full," I liked this one even more. Honestly, it deserves more than five stars. There is so much I can relate to in this book. I never moved to a far away country as she did in "Glass Half Full," but I have moved and dealt with the transitions that must take place. As a child, my family moved a total of six times before I turned ten. So I can relate to Sarah and Nigel's settling in process in France. I can recall vividly painting rooms in various houses, eating sandwiches while sitting on the floor, packing, unpacking, meeting new neighbors. It's something many have experienced. This book is written in such a captivating way that even if you have never experienced moving to a new place you will enjoy it. I am looking forward to Sarah's cookbook. As I was reading, I kept thinking, "She should write a cookbook." Needless to say, I was happy to read at the end that her next book will be a cookbook. Sarah is a very talented author and I hope that there are more books to come.

  • Christoph Fischer
    2019-04-26 01:55

    "Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente (Sarah Jane's Travel Memoir Series Book 2)" by Sarah Jane Butfield is a beautifully written book. Many of us have dreams to live abroad and the author not only did it, but she shared her memories and experiences in a very enjoyable way.I haven't read the first part of her travel memoir series but that isn't essential. If you wonder what it is like to live and renovate a house in France then this is the book for you. Plenty of fascinating anecdotes and a very reflective and at times philosophical perspective made this so much more than just a re-telling of what has happened to her and her family.Combining popular themes, such as house design and travelling, this book hit the right spot for me.Very recommendable.

  • Mystica
    2019-05-26 20:49

    This travel memoir includes a renovation of a derelict, almost abandoned house and making it habitable and safe for people and of course the dogs to live in. Moving away from children as well seems to have been a huge step so it also has to be a haven for returning family.Leaving some dark memories behind in far off Australia, moving to South West France seems an alternative that would suit all. A rather large family means that it should be accessible to all and from the memoir there are a lot of family ties that have been strained and need to get mendedApart from the travelogue part the family story was also sensitively dealt with.

  • Sandra Olson
    2019-05-08 23:44

    Inspiring storyHaving lived in France for a few years, this story brought back many memories. I especially liked thinking of the fresh loaves of crusty French bread delivered to our door which we coated with butter and pate. Yum! Sarah has a talent for making you see, smell and feel her stories.

  • Pat Ellis
    2019-05-04 19:36

    I enjoyed catching-up with Sarah Jane Butfield, her husband Nigel and their 'boys' with their move to France - an achievement after what they went through in Austrailia - it's a down-to-earth read with some funny & heartwarming words - I am bias as I love travel memoirs - I will look forward to reading more from this Author.

  • Cathy
    2019-04-28 22:43


  • Judy
    2019-05-15 19:47

    It was good. Some people are so brave, to buy a house that needs years of fixing up in a country were you don't speak the language..

  • Liz Wood
    2019-04-27 21:38

    StunningI loved the easy flow of the language. I also appreciate the courage to try new things & places, and even the desire to become a published author.

  • Jane
    2019-05-21 01:35

    As I read this book, I think I glimpsed more of MYSELF! I guess that's fitting because Ms. Butfield states in the last chapters of her memoir that she is ever-searching, and that she hopes by her writing to inspire and help others who are searching. This memoir is engaging and I like it. Although, for about half the chapters, I didn't want to like it! As I read, I caught myself being judgmental and critical of Sarah and Nigel and of her writing. I have a chip on my shoulder, apparently, about self-published works. I suppose I believe that "real" writers are published by commercial publishing houses, that their work, if it has merit, would not need to be self-published! Incidentally, Ms. Butfield reveals that she shared these very thoughts. In the last two chapters, she shares her journey as a debut author, and her struggle with the decision to self-publish. She is knowledgeable about the process, though she is humble about this. I learned a lot about publishing from her. It was also good to see that someone who's had some success had the same feelings of inadequacy and ignorance that I battle when it comes to my writing. She was also a procrastinator early on. Boy, does she have my number! I am not much of a fan of her decisions to move to foreign countries to try new things, but I felt connected with her in her writing journey.

  • Hilary
    2019-05-04 01:37

    I did not like this book at all. It felt like I was reading somebody's journal, with the exception that the story seemed to skip around as far as the timeline was concerned. The author suddenly mentioned people that you had no idea who they were - sometimes you found out much later, sometimes not. She plugged her previous book several times and even her next one. Recipes were included - filler!!! In the end I came to the conclusion that she must have sat down each day and just wrote what occurred to her, rather than having a plan to follow and give the storytelling logic and flow.

  • Sandra McKenna
    2019-05-25 01:51

    After spending 4 and a half years in Australia, Sarah, Nigel and their two dogs head to France to find an old house to renovate. Here they face yet another series of challenges; missing their children and family in the U.K., learning the language and customs of their adopted country.An entertaining read, with Sarah's marvelous sense of humour thrown in.This is the second book in Sarah Jane's Travel Memoirs, and I can thoroughly recommend the series.

  • Whistlers Mom
    2019-05-13 22:33

    This is an engaging, warts-and-all memoir by a wonderfully likable writer. As is my wont, I approached it "bass-ackward." A sane reader would start with Ms. Butfield's first (and very successful) GLASS HALF FULL (which tells of her decision to immigrate from England to Australia) and then read this book (which tells of her decision to leave Australia and settle in France) and then read her third book THE ACCIDENTAL AUTHOR (which relates the development of her career as a writer.)Not me! I started with THE ACCIDENTAL AUTHOR, which I enjoyed very much for its humor and its insights into the world of self-publishing. I'm not a writer, but I read so many indie books that I'm fascinated by the process. Then I realized that I had picked up a copy of TWO DOGS AND A SUITCASE because it sounded interesting and it was on sale. I STILL haven't read her first book, but I will.The main thing that strikes me about this book is that the French should absolutely ADORE the English and Americans. Who else would buy all of the ancient, gonna-cost-a-kazillion-euros-to-make-it-livable piles that no Frenchman or Frenchwoman would spend a night it? This intrepid (i.e. crazy) couple landed in France with two Australian Sheep Dogs, one suitcase, and practically no knowledge of France or the French language (which is notoriously difficult to learn.) Being cash-strapped, they bought an uninhabitable old house and moved in. Dear God.And this isn't a childless couple who have nothing else to worry about, either. There are children and step-children and in-laws and ex's. To be honest, I never really got them all straightened out and the author sort of explains things as she goes along and some things are only hinted at. I would have enjoyed the book more if she had started with a brief history of her family and identified the players in advanced. As it was, I was lost much of the time.But she's a charming writer and her love of life comes through and pulls you into the story, almost against your better judgement. And she loves France and the French, which is more than can be said for many English ex-pats there. She and her husband have frequent contact with other ex-pats, but they actually get to know and love many of their neighbors. French bureaucracy and French bureaucrats are justly feared and hated, but French country people are usually kind and open-hearted.Sometimes I thought they should both be committed to a mental institution, but I was never tempted to stop reading. This lady can tell a story.

  • Bryan D.
    2019-04-26 02:37

    73 of 75 for 2015. How do we categorize this work? Memoir? yes, certainly. Travel? That too. How to guide? Perhaps. And the question at the bottom of all is are the Butfields gypsies? The author poses that very question toward the end of her account of the family's first few years renovating a delapidated farm house in rural France. In her first book, Butfield tells the story of how this British family emigrated to Australia and their triumphs and tribulations down under. Two Dogs relates how the couple moved from Australia to rural France, and what they faced there. The title refers to the way they arrived in France with two Australian cattle dogs and one suitcase full of those belongings they felt necessary until their household goods could be shipped from Australia--a process that should have taken four months or so. The subtitle refers to the fact that we have two anglophones trying to survive in rural France where they neither speak, read nor understand the language. If you've ever had the dream of moving to a foreign country and reinventing your life--especially if that involves renovating a dilapidated piece of property, you need to read this book. It gets only four stars from me because the author's narrative style, while largely linear, skips back and forth in time enough that I was not able to tell how much time the story actually covers. Also the book is full of spelling and grammatical mistakes that should have been caught before the book was published, the kinds of errors that make me stumble in my reading. That said, given the situation Ms. Butfield faced, I can't say that I would have done any better, if as well. The reader does get the feeling that he's right there in the heart of the matter, and the local color is excellent--especially for any of us who have dealt with being in rural France, or had to deal with French bureaucracy. (It's hard enough if you speak the language. I can't imagine fighting it with no French language skills.)

  • Helen
    2019-05-04 02:59

    I enjoyed this book, as far as it went. As a person who has also moved to a country that I wasn't born in, I found some similarities with my life and found myself nodding along with some of the author's observations.I did think that the last 4 or so chapters had a "tacked on" feel to them. I felt that the author was filling space, rather than continuing the story. I wanted to know what happens, and to find out more information about the house they are renovating.A few more passes by a good editor would have helped as there were a few occasions where the wrong word was used (i.e., site vs. sight), or words were misspelled. However, overall, I did enjoy the book and would be interested in finding out how her life in France continues.

  • Gail
    2019-04-27 18:51

    It soon became apparent to me that this book was self published, as there was a distracting amount of repetition ( sometimes of words, but also of whole phrases) and there were the inevitable ( if you self publish and don't use a professional proof reader) typos. That's a shame because this book had real potential. It started well, the story of the renovation was hugely interesting, but this facet decreased as the writing progressed, and it became much more about the family dynamics.Although my curiosity is aroused regarding the family's time in Australia, I am undecided as to whether I shall buy and read that earlier book.

  • Chris Gregory
    2019-05-19 01:40

    Hire a professional copyeditor!I usually enjoy these types of adventures. I haven't done much traveling myself and live vicariously through this genre. However, I can't really recommend Two Dogs and a Suitcase.First of all, I didn't read her first book and that left me confused as there were references to events and people from that initial offering. Another problem with this story is it's jumpiness - it's disjointed and somewhat unorganized. But the most glaring problem was the lack of copyediting. It's an okay story of adventure, but I must recommend a serious rewrite with professional copyediting.

  • Patricia Ruiz
    2019-05-16 19:35

    A gutsy woman offers plenty of inspirationThis is the first book I've read by this author and she tugged me into her life and held me there as she showed me her perseverance and strength. There have been times in my life when money was scarce and reading her experiences and how she fought back was a marvel. Being so far from family is something else I am attuned to and reading her maternal thoughts in the midst of her burning desire to become a published author was especially touching. I will read her first book soon...and I have her gardeners cookbook already. I applaud her writing because it is real.

  • Joan Kempiak
    2019-05-21 19:38

    A fun interesting insight into a couples brave decision to move to a new country and start from "scratch" to build a new lifeI so enjoyed peeking into their adventures and wishing I could be so brave to just pick up and go. By the time I really got into this story I feel I'm invited to sit , have tea and visit like a close friend. I guess I need to go back now and read her first book. Glass half full. I'm searching for it right away. Can't wait to read more about their family and life. Like a mini vacation.

  • JT
    2019-05-04 01:55

    Kudos to this brave DYIerThe title got me off to a good start....Anyone willing to pick up roots to set them down on the other side of the earth has got to have a story worth telling , right! The author writes in an easy conversational style. There's a sprinkling of recipes or advice here and there which I find endearing. If you've ever felt overwhelmed this book's for you. It puts life back into perspective with humor. It's just one of those books that makes me want to settle in with a nice cuppa tea on the couch and get lost for a couple of relaxing hours.

  • Samantha Gliwa
    2019-05-14 00:32

    FamilySarah writes about seeking your dreams and the hardships of life. It could be anyone wrong this just different details. She speaks about the live of her family and where you live is not relevant as long as you have a strong family unit and at this time I believe she feels this way. However I don't think this was always the truth and what I would like for her to write about is how it came that her children were not always in her life. She seems to side step this question.

  • Carol Wakefield
    2019-05-18 20:36

    Not a cheerful book. Author and husband leave UK for Australia, a questionable decision, need to leave Australia and decide on France. They move with very little money, no language skills, no jobs and some dysfunctional family interactions back in UK. to a place with high unemployment. Well it could have produced some chuckles I suppose. But it did not. Ms Butfield repeats herself reviewing experiences again and again. Maybe she will be able to find an editor or proofreader someday. Generally depressing .

  • Martine
    2019-05-15 21:58

    Sarah Jane Butfield is living a full life with many drastic changes. I applaud her in finding ways in dealing with these issues which I find incredible. My sister's trek around Europe and the United States with her four children and her husband is boring in comparison as she always had enough money to live well. Before reading her memoirs, I could not comprehend what makes people pick themselves up and start anew in spite of hardship and drama.

  • Snufkin
    2019-05-25 18:32

    A really lovely heartfelt memoir which I enjoyed very much! The first half was wonderful, and sucked the reader into the leaking house in France. What was tricky in the second half was the constant jumping in time, and then quite a lot towards the end on overall reflections about previous books which could perhaps all have been an epilogue? In any case I would have loved to read more about the life in France!