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The Exmoor Files: How I Lost A Husband And Found Rural Bliss [Hardcover]

Liz Jones
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Aug 2009
Liz Jones lived the perfect urban life. The immaculate Georgian townhouse in a leafy London square. The glamorous career where she would hob nob (not the right word: these people don't eat biscuits) with models and movie stars and fashion designers. The Italian wardrobe stuffed with designer bags and shoes. The much younger novelist husband. But then it all goes horribly wrong. She discovers her husband has been having numerous affairs (with women who are younger, dimmer, slimmer) and realises that her pursuit of perfection has never made her happy, and probably never will. And so she decides to start all over again, burying herself alive in the middle of the bleak, unforgiving wilderness that is Exmoor National Park. She buys a wreck of a farmhouse, with an original stable block, 46 acres, an ancient wood and a lake. She rescues a nervous and abused but breathtakingly beautiful racehorse, nursing the dream that she will be able to ride her thoroughbred bareback on the beach, spend her days wafting through flower-filled meadows, harvest her own organic produce and generally live out the rural dream. The reality, of course, is much, much harder. 'The Exmoor Files' is a funny, honest, often brutal real-life account of what it is like to start all over again in an alien environment. It is about discovering that you cannot find peace just by moving somewhere peaceful. It is about mourning for a relationship and letting go of the life you thought you deserved. And most of all it is about how Liz and her racehorse finally learn to trust, and to love, and to live, again.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; Reprint edition (6 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297854437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297854432
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"As an example of 'the truth about country life' genre, her book is brightly written and often funny" (Christopher Hart THE SUNDAY TIMES)

"Jones is a brilliant, witty writer" (Amber Cowan LONDON LITE)

"there lies a sort of steely courage: of a woman facing the process of ageing and mortality on her own, as best she can" (Jane Shilling DAILY MAIL)

"squirm-inducing, savagely funny.. you end up admiring her determined efforts to be happy, despite everything" (Claire Allfree METRO)

"Finding new friends, ruminating on her mistakes, looking back on a life of shopping and media-hugging, Jones finds a kind of solace in the bleak moors of Somerset" (Marla Jones CATHOLIC HERALD)

"a great tale and so very well told" (Paul Blezard THE LADY)

Book Description

Moving from Islington to Exmoor; one small step for mankind but a very large one for MAIL ON SUNDAY columnist Liz Jones.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Surprises! 5 Jun 2010
Far too much name dropping and information about expensive alternative horse care.

Having read Liz's column in The Mail On Sunday over the past few years, I did not feel this book contained a great deal of new material, and yes, the ex husband does get mentioned a lot (he is in the book's title after all).

Not a 'feel good' book, in fact towards the end I was desperately hoping to read that she had decided to move back to London, as her constant negativity and mounting financial problems became quite depressing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing 18 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like Liz Jones. I read her columns and enjoyed her previous book ("How One Single Girl..."). This book, on the other hand, I found padded out and depressing in equal measure.

I read for enjoyment and relaxation not to be ranted at about the injustice of a world that uses animals instead of befriending them. Liz tells us about the plight of horses, which is very sad, and then gives us a list of charities where we can adopt a horse (this is funny since a lot of the book is taken up by how difficult/expensive/prone to keel over dead rescue horses are). It's very preachy and got on my nerves.

Here's a woman who lives in a beautiful (in reality, it is not a run down dump - it is a gorgeous manor) house in one of the most spectacularly scenic parts of England where she rescues animals. For many people, this would be fulfilling but not Liz. Suddenly, after leaving London she wants to go back and slot back into her old life. Then on her trips back into London, she wants to be in Exmoor again.

I know she's a bit eccentric and I enjoy a good moan now and again but this was just a depressing collection of "sketches" that all have a tone of "woe is me". The tone of the book would be easier to believe if she wasn't sitting wrapped in designer cashmire on her designer couch typing it on her expensive laptop while her gardener and friend Nic took care of the animals, house and garden.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a Moaner!!!! 21 Nov 2010
I bought this book as I like Exmoor,dogs,cats,horses and country life.Have to say Liz Jones is probably the most annoying author I have ever read!!! She moans constantly about everything and everyone. I cant believe that someone so anti the ways of the country moves to the heart of hunting and farming country.Her frequent name dropping whether it be celebrities or clothing brands really are unbelievable, who cares what designer label jumper she is wearing or her cats are sleeping on.Equally annoying is the way she cannot just mention her car I dont think anyone is impressed that its a BMW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Liz then seems amazed that she has earned her self the title of most hated woman on Exmoor after being unpleasant to and about the locals and their way of life. Far too many ridiculous references to amimal "cruelty" like shoeing horses is cruel as are bits in thier mouths,feeding hay from haynets,saddles,picking cats up etc etc.The best thing she can do is move back to London
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 'Curates Egg' - good in parts, 4 April 2011
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This has been on my shelf for a while since receiving it for Christmas. I really didn't think I wanted to read it but on getting stuck in a began to feel the budding of a creeping respect for Liz Jones. I'd read her whacky articles when I come across them, feeling a little stunned by her apparent lack of delicacy, barefaced confessions of financial muddles, expensive tastes and the history of her unhappy love life.

However, she is what she is and good on her for trying to make sense of her predicaments and actions. What gets missed by people writing furiously about her in the ranti -anti reviews is her real appreciation of life in general, the view from her home, the triumphs she works hard for in her rehabilitation of her broken down animals and the laugh out loud wit of her self depreciating remarks. I just love 'Michael and I are now engaged' at the end.

The information she carefully details is useful and will bring any dreamers back down to earth with a bang when they see the real cost both physical and financial of rescuing any kind of abandoned, damaged and frightened creature.

Liz Jones had good arguments for her intense fads and hobbies when opposed to the raising of families and her poignant asides regarding loneliness reveal a tortured soul with a very sharp, high level continual fear running alongside her apparent bravado.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious in the Extreme 7 Oct 2009
When I picked this book up I thought it might be an amusing rural equivalent of Bridget Jones' Diary, instead it is pages of her whinging about her ex-husband and how awful life in the countryside is. This tedium would be hard enough to endure, without the trotting out of dated rural stereotypes - if Ms Jones had written about any other minority group in such an unfair and untruthful manner then it wouldn't have been published. Rural folk obviously don't get the same courtesy.

If it were possible I wouldn't have awarded this any stars at all. This book is one to avoid at all costs, tedious moaning and blatant untruths about modern rural life.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just don't go. 6 July 2010
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
If you are going to move to the country and find nothing better to do than to skit everyone in a weekly newspaper column, caring for cute kittens and not so cute horses with an absolute idiot of a husband (ex-husband) somewhere in the vicinity so that you run up immense debts on hotels and shopping in London, because there are no decent shops in the country, then ask your self, What kind of an idiot am I? Probably just as much of an idiot as the person who buys this book. With respect, Liz Jones bores me. She has this book out to help make money when she keeps whining on about her life and debts ad nauseum in the Mail on Sunday. If Ms Jones isn't happy in the country, then why can't she move back to the Big City and leave another building free for a local who can't find a situation. Oh, I forgot; the debts. I didn't buy this book, Ms Jones, I dislike the way you have talked about your neighbours and your life for ages. Please, do me a favour, find a proper job that pays something, like a shop assistant or the nice Chanel make up lady and let the countryside go on in its own sweet way without you. My money will be better spent on a better cause. I may just give it to the NSPCC.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much about the author
A great book destroyed by repetitive 'oh dear me' comments throughout, a pity, the author really needs to move on like the rest of us.
Published 1 day ago by Suzanne
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
LOVE liz jones. crazy cat lady. Just like myself, you need to be one to understand. If you liked this one Fur Babies is a must.
Published 2 months ago by majella mc cann
5.0 out of 5 stars What a life
I have just read the Exmoor Files and Girl Least Likely To by Liz Jones in 2days . I have enjoyed every page . Liz can't wait for the next one .
Published 3 months ago by rosina
5.0 out of 5 stars Gosh people can be nasty
So many bitter and insensitive reviews. This woman tried her damnedest to bring some comfort to the lives of our fellow sentient brings. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Diana Pritchard Witts
4.0 out of 5 stars Woe! Woe! And thrice Woe!
I read the negative comments about this book before I bought it, but bought it anyway. I have read all three of Liz Jones' books and I think despite the relentless, self pitying... Read more
Published 3 months ago by DV8 Diva
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I enjoyed every moment of this book, liz I really respect and admire your love for animals, I have lots of rescues and its rare to find someone the same! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Loubyjane
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Liz Jones at her best one awesome writer I have read Liz Jones since she startedwriting compulsive reading love it.
Published 5 months ago by Janet Mahoney
5.0 out of 5 stars The Exmoor Files: How I lost A Husband and found Rural Bliss
Liz Jones really holds nothing back and at times you wish you could say" believe more in yourself". Read more
Published 5 months ago by Unknown
5.0 out of 5 stars Liz jones
I really enjoyed this book. Was really funny informative and great escapism. I do tho love dogs and horses and I think if you don't you will find the book a bit boring
Published 5 months ago by tracy
1.0 out of 5 stars Read after CBB appearance
Thought I'd find hidden depths in the book of her life move to the countryside. Nope I was wrong. Much of the contents can be found in her re-hashed pieces on the Mail online... Read more
Published 5 months ago by S Winspur
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