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Almost French  By  cover art

Almost French

By: Sarah Turnbull
Narrated by: Caroline Lee
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Publisher's Summary

After backpacking her way around Europe, journalist Sarah Turnbull is ready to embark on one last adventure before heading home to Sydney. A chance meeting with a charming Frenchman in Bucharest changes her travel plans forever. Acting on impulse, she agrees to visit Fredric in Paris for a week. Put a very French Frenchman together with a strong-willed Australian girl and the result is some spectacular - and often hilarious - cultural clashes. Language is a minefield of misunderstanding and the simple act of buying a baguette is fraught with social danger.

But as she navigates the highs and lows of this strange new world, from the sophisticated cafes and haute couture fashion houses to the picture postcard French countryside, little by little Sarah falls under its spell: passionate, mysterious, infuriating, and charged with that French specialty - seduction. And it becomes her home.

©2004 Sarah Turnbull (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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What listeners say about Almost French

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Almost Terrific

In contrast to some reviewers of this book who compared it negatively to Mayles, etc., I found it authentic, well-written, and rich in cutural details about Parisians and life in Paris. While similar "memoirs" of Paris supplement their meager content with recipes and cooking instructions, Turnbull attempts to offer readers a dimensional portrait of the city and its people, including, for instance, details about French antipathy toward "Anglo-Saxon" feminism, the City of Light's love affair with dogs, and the extended time required to befriend Parisians. My ONLY issue with the audio version is the reader's strange combination of annoying accent and knowing attitude. With another reader this book might have earned five stars all around.

7 people found this helpful

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New Slant on the mysterious French

Where does Almost French rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Rankings are hard, let's see. I am pretty sure I will listen to it again even if just to listen to Caroline Lee. This is my favorite book about Paris and actually living there. I have bought several and found them trite, boring or ridiculous. Somewhere in the top 100, for now.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Almost French?

The 40th birthday party for Frederic. Vacationing with him in Australia...hilarious. The job covering fashion week. Her interview with the designer. The party where she gave up on the hosts and served the champagne.

What does Caroline Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Caroline Lee is among my top 5 narrators. She elevates everything she reads. I absolutely love her voice. She is able to bring a story to life.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I believe the total work from her struggle to decide to move there, and everything she endured and grew from each experience she found herself. I admired her tenacity I know I would have left. I am certain it was her love for Frederic but she didn't really talk about that very much.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book, I measure that by whether I am able to listen straight through or I stop it often. I listened to this pretty much straight thru, I asked myself if it was the narration or the story. I enjoyed it and it doesn't really matter. It was memorable, I will listen to it again. Worth the credit. Thank you.

5 people found this helpful

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Just okay

What would have made Almost French better?

The paperback was good just does not do it for me as an audio book.

What was most disappointing about Sarah Turnbull’s story?

I just found this book did not keep me interested. I did read the hard copy some years ago which was much better and I enjoyed it, however I have not been able to listen to the audio version. Have tried several times but given up on it.

Any additional comments?

I wasted my credit. I love Caroline Lee she is terrific.

4 people found this helpful

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Loved It Loved It!!!!

Would you listen to Almost French again? Why?

Yes, just loved it all

What did you like best about this story?

the strength of Sarah

What does Caroline Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice, makes you feel like you are actually listening to Sarah herself as the aussie voice clinched it for me.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did cry a little, but laughed heaps too.

Any additional comments?

Just loved all of it.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed this book!

Another great story. I laughed and wondered as I listened to this audio book. I love France and dream of being almost French some day. So I appreciated Sarah's honest writing and sharing her insights as she navigated living in France and coming to realize how culture, language can clash but also come together in an imperfect perfect way. Caroline Lee is one of my favorite narrators and I always prefer books she reads! Great performance.

1 person found this helpful

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Informative and Entertaining

Now I realize my views on Parisians were not fair. As the book proves, you shouldn't judge people until you've lived amongst them. Enjoyed the book very much and loved the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Tres Agreable! Loved it!

This novel is bursting with funny anecdotes and intelligent observations. Unlike other, fluffier books of this type, you feel the author is not embellishing the story to make it funnier. You believe what she depicts is the real France - she understands the country and its people so well. I've found that the narrator can make or break an audiobook and, luckily, this one is charming. I could listen to her warm Aussie accent all day. Enjoy!

1 person found this helpful

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  • DN
  • 01-03-15

Interesting and funny but a limited view of France

Any additional comments?

I listened to this soon after moving to France from the U.S. (Based on a recommendation from a friend). While I found it to be entertaining and it certainly contains some interesting insights into French culture, I also found it to be a rather narrow vision of France -- one that is restricted to rather privileged/wealthy people living in Paris and maybe slightly outdated (or at least very traditional). I found myself walking around anticipating rudeness and judgement from the French based on this book that never really came. So I'd say this is an interesting read but maybe not a good taste of what life in France will hold for anyone else.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful book/ lousy French pronunciation

I enjoyed everything about this memoir and highly recommend it. The author is spot on in her description and assessment of Parisians, and her anecdotes range from moving and insightful to laugh out loud funny. I also enjoyed the reader, as long as she was not speaking French. Her mispronouncing "femme", "Marseillaise", "Jeanne d'Arc", "Hermes", "Bastille", etc. etc. etc. made me cringe. If French is Greek to you, it won't matter, but if you speak the language, you may want to consider going to the library and checking out the book.

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Delightful and charming

Bon Jour! I’ve been anticipating a two week visit to Paris and the Provence countryside this Fall. Naturally, I’m reading, watching and listening to everything I can find about France. This book is beautifully written and has many moments of charm, humor, and brilliant insight. I’m not nearly so worried about my faltering and grossly inadequate French language skills even with daily lessons s. I will simply shrug when I get it wrong. This book has made me excited about visiting the country and the author has given me many exact locations to discover and enjoy. The narration is lilting and although both are Australian, the French accent and pronunciation are quite good. This one will get a second listen.

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  • H. L. Mason
  • 09-08-14

PITCH PERFECT

Where does Almost French rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best.

What did you like best about this story?

A very engaging, light-hearted and enjoyable experience with which I found it very easy to relate.

Which character – as performed by Caroline Lee – was your favourite?

The only character of real interest is the author herself. The rest are only by way of background information.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Pomjour from gay Paree!

Any additional comments?

A supremely well read book, where it seems as though it's the author herself speaking, instead of someone just reading someone else's work. The author has all the charm one tends to associate with France, and at the same time captures all those irritating frustrations that living there as a foreigner inevitably entails. In its own genre, it's hard to beat. Good on yer, Sarah!

1 person found this helpful

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  • kate adamson
  • 08-31-22

A light hearted easy read

Enjoyed this book , as during lockdown , it provided a lovely escapism , also her view of some unfriendly Parisian Ladies , heard a renowned Doctor explain ( in his opinion) that their low mood and unfriendly demeanor was due to their v poor nutrional diet , which reflected in the low mood , which we interpret as unfriendliness 😏

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-21

Enjoyable and easy listening

Light and enjoyable listen especially for a francophile. I found some of the references to 'how the french do things' quite outdated, a lot of my friends are French and they are feminist, drink a lot and wear sweatpants to the shop :)

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  • Ina Petkova
  • 06-04-20

Relax and move to Paris!

listening to her story made me relive how I felt as an expat and still do. If you want to move to Paris without actually moving, read on!

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  • Linh
  • 04-15-17

Easy reading and entertaining

What made the experience of listening to Almost French the most enjoyable?

Vivid, lifelike narrative

What about Caroline Lee’s performance did you like?

Caroline Lee is always the best!

Any additional comments?

Simply an entertaining book, suitable for holiday read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dirk
  • 03-21-14

Absolutely loved it

Would you consider the audio edition of Almost French to be better than the print version?

Don't know only listened to audio version and it was fabulous

What did you like best about this story?

I felt like I was there

Which character – as performed by Caroline Lee – was your favourite?

None particularly

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

No

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rebekah Grant
  • 10-25-22

so boring

this book was so boring I was up to chapter 16 and nothing has really happened

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  • dale
  • 06-26-22

Enjoying the Adventure

Lively, entertaining, informative story. Learned a lot about France. Characters detailed, cute dogs. An enjoyable read.

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  • Louise Roetman
  • 11-07-19

Trés Bien!!

The story was delightful to listen to and the narrator was perfect! I loved every minute of this book - the personal reflections mixed with historical info was wonderfully done. I would highly recommend this book, especially to fellow Francophiles!!

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  • Merissa Puttock
  • 09-11-19

Travel or Romance?

I had to read this for my Travel Literature class. It was pretty good, very nice messages. However, I found that while listening to this memoir, I found it difficult to follow at times. At times, I forgot that the narrator and her partner were still together unless she pointed out the fact specifically.
It's good for travel and understanding how cultural differences work, but if you're looking for a romance novel: don't read this one.

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  • Frances
  • 05-29-18

Loved it

I’ve listened to it three times. Skillfully read. Funny, smart and relatable. I wish her second book was on audible.

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  • Karen Rogers
  • 02-27-18

A great book

What a wonderful story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narration was perfect too. Loved hearing about Paris through the eyes of an Australia.