Member Reviews

I have been loving French literature lately so was eager to pick up A Good Life. This is a story of two sisters, once close, who have become estranged. When they return to the Basque country to clear out their grandmother's home, memories return and we get a glimpse of their troubled childhood up to the present day. This story of sisterhood is also a story about what constitutes a good life.

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Thank you thank you to the publisher and netgalley! Our story centers around two distant sisters, who are brought back to their grandmother’s home and into their childhood memories that have been forgotten. I love a story about a siblings bond and this one did not disappoint.

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A poignant story about two sisters saying goodbye to their grandmother’s home, their happy place. Interlaced with reflective chapters that share the history of both sisters, it’s heartbreaking and totally relatable.
Emma struggles to find love and conceive while Agathe has a host of her own demons to slay.
Their mother was just reprehensible.
If you have a sister, this book should be on your list to read.

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I appreciate the idea here, but this writing style is just not for me. It was too choppy and hard to follow, what with the alternating narrators (sometimes it didn't alternate and I felt even more confused.) I read for escapism and this just wasn't to my taste.

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Oh my gosh this book 😭

This is absolutely one of the most beautiful, heart shattering, soul warming books I have ever read. I finished it in less than 48 hours, drinking in the pages whenever I got a chance.

I may be biased, seeing as I have 2 sisters who are my world, and a grandmother who I visited during the summer, just like Emma & Agatha. My grandmother was my person and her death shook me to my core.

I love this book so much and will not soon forget it.

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This is a first of this author for me - it's her American debut novel. I would say I was hooked on this story that definitely pulled at my heartstrings. The story centers around two sisters - Emma and Agathe - who have grown apart. They return to their grandmother's beloved home - where they need to mend whatever is broken. I don't have a sister, but I couldn't imagine not being close to my sibling 100% of the time and know that I would feel devastated if I had grown apart from a sibling. I was definitely drawn into this book, well written.

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This is an achingly sad story set in one of the most beautiful parts of the world - Basque Country in southwest France. The story of sisters Emma and Agathe will stay with you long after you read the novel's last beautiful words. Their story is not a happy one - and fair warning that the book addresses issues of mental illness, suicide, abuse and pregnancy loss. But for anyone who had a beloved grandmother in their lives - Mima to these girls growing up - you will recognize the abundant love that a grandmother can have for granddaughters and vice versa and how each can save each other. Thank you to Europa Editions and NetGalley for the e-arc.

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Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

I went into A Good Life pretty blind, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I enjoyed this one. A Good Life is told in a nonlinear, dual timeline in the past and the present and in a dual point of view through the eyes of Agathe and Emma. The past timeline is through various stages of their lives - giving detailed glimpses into what and who shaped them to be who they are in the present. I really enjoyed that in-depth look at the sisters' past and felt that I could understand their situation better having that past information.

This story is so much about overcoming a traumatizing childhood, sisterhood, the love you have for your family and overall healing. It was a beautiful journey as these two sisters reunited and relived their past and moved forward with their future. This is definitely more of a character driven book, really focusing on the growth of each of the characters. It's also a lot slower paced, which was fine for how deep of a story this one was.

I listened to this via audiobook through the Libro.fm influencer program while reading along on my Kindle. Liz Fodor was the narrator, and she was great. This was a very short book, so the audiobook is just around 7 hours which makes for a super quick read. Definitely recommend the audiobook if you are thinking of picking this one up.

Overall, I loved the themes, I enjoyed learning about the sisters' past and their reconciliation but I just wanted a bit more from it. It's good but not my favorite. I was very happy to have the audio to listen to. I think my contemporary lit fans will eat this one up. A Good Life will release on 5/28. Huge thank you to NetGalley, Virginie Grimaldi, and Europa Editions for the ALC and eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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3.5 stars rounded up
A Good Life is the story of two adult sisters, Emma (42) and Agathe (37), who haven't seen each other in five years but reunite to spend a week together in Basque Country after the death of their adored grandmother. The narrative alternates between the perspective of both women today and also from the past beginning when they were young children through the various stages of their lives thus far.

A Good Life is the North American debut by bestselling French author, Virginie Grimaldi (translated by Hildegarde Serle). This is a story about the deep love between two very different sisters who had a difficult childhood and who carried pain from their dysfunctional family into their adult lives. A touching, feel good story about healing from the past that requires a few kleenexes toward the end.

Thank you to NetGalley and Europa Editions for sending a digital ARC of this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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This book was amazing! I loved the characters and the plot was very well written. The writer is very talented and the story was very interesting.

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Wonderfully told story of two sisters reuniting for a week at their grandmother's home after her death. Through the diary entries of their younger selves and their narration of the current week, we learn their troubled family history and how their relationship has weathered their own struggles and life events. Beautifully told.

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“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Leo Tolstoy summed up the best about the dysfunctional basic tire of the social strata, i.e a maladjusted family.
A Good Life begins as two sisters- Emma and Agathe are visiting together the Basque Country. They were the best pals when they were young while they had different personalities. Emma, being the elder sister was mature and very protective of her sister Agathe who was a romantic and fiery girl.
They are seeing each other after a long time and meeting at the house of their adored grandmother who has died recently. The sisters were closer to their grandparents more than their parents, so the death of their Mima has been devastating to them.
Meanwhile a lot of water has passed under the bridge and tragedies entangled the family in various ways. The complex childhood had been a challenge to the sisters. And, this encounter at Mima's place is a chance for them to remember and to pour out what is in their hearts.
The writing alternates between Emma and Agathe's childhood and their present day, and readers get to see their lives as the days unfold. The story encompasses their whole lives along with the complexities. Meanwhile it shows how the scars of the past can be healed and in the end all matters is a good life.
Virginie Grimaldi is one of the top contemporary authors in France and A Good Life has been a bestseller since its French publication. Hildegarde Serle needs no more introductions for French literature. She is the best when it comes to translating beautiful emotionally charged prose.
I have a notion that it is not like we find a book but rather books find us at the right moment. This book has found me at a tender phase in my life and I can say I am much more strong now after reading this beautiful slice of life. It is a sensitive book but it heals.
Thank you @europaeditions @netgalley @virginiegrimaldi for this ARC.
This book will be published at the end of May 2024, just grab a copy and thank me later.

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I think my expectations were a little too high going in because the plot summary seemed so intriguing, but I just lost interest halfway through.

I don't like DNF'ing books so I pushed through to the end and was just let down. I've seen so many positive reviews for this book and so I'm sure this is a Me thing rather than placing blame on the author.

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Virginie Grimaldi's American debut novel, A Good Life, is a captivating and heartwarming tale that will leave readers laughing, crying, and reflecting on the transformative power of love. Grimaldi, acclaimed as one of France's top contemporary authors, delivers yet another emotionally compelling masterpiece that has quickly captivated millions of readers worldwide. The story revolves around the lives of two sisters, Emma and Agathe, whose childhood bond has gradually faded, leaving behind scars from a tragic event that transformed their once ordinary lives into something more complex. Agathe, the spirited and unpredictable younger sister, contrasts sharply with Emma, the responsible and protective older sister. Their journey takes them back to the Basque Country, their grandmother's beloved home, where they must confront their shared past, reconcile their differences, and mend the wounds that have kept them apart. Grimaldi skillfully weaves together the past and present, showcasing the sisters' lives from childhood to adulthood, shedding light on their struggles, growth, and the intricate dynamics of sisterhood. The story delves into the complexities of their individual lives as daughters, mothers, wives, and partners, while exploring profound questions about healing past wounds and defining what truly constitutes a good life. The author's exquisite storytelling and vivid descriptions paint a beautiful backdrop of the Basque Country, immersing readers in its striking natural beauty. Grimaldi's prose is both delicate and powerful, evoking a range of emotions as we witness the profound transformation of the characters. The novel's compelling narrative effortlessly draws readers into the lives of Emma and Agathe, making it nearly impossible to put the book down. A Good Life is a celebration of love, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit. Grimaldi expertly crafts a tale that reminds us of the enduring bond between sisters, the significance of forgiveness, and the importance of embracing life's unexpected twists and turns. This feel-good read leaves a lasting impression, inspiring readers to reflect on their own lives and what truly matters. In conclusion, Virginie Grimaldi's A Good Life is an enchanting and emotionally charged novel that showcases her exceptional storytelling prowess. With its blend of laughter, tears, and heartfelt revelations, this book is a must-read for anyone seeking a poignant and uplifting literary experience. Grimaldi's masterful exploration of the complexities of sisterhood and the pursuit of a meaningful life will resonate deeply with readers, leaving them with a renewed appreciation for the power of love and the beauty of human connections.

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