Nancy & PJ Learn French

Twenty years
Two proposals
Three countries

Two sides of one love story

Nancy & PJ Learn French is a 75,000-word lived experience, nonfiction and not-so-common love story between two Canadians who met learning French. They had no choice but to be together despite continually making a muck of their relationship across twenty years, two marriage proposals, 24 cities and three different countries. For seven of those years they stopped speaking to each other and in the days before Facebook and mobile phones, they had no way to find each other. It is a “she said-he said” true tale, ending in the South of France with a nod to romance and the reality of heartache. Their fated journey—from the gift of hope from Santa Claus in Lapland to appearing on a television episode of Sex And The City—is narrated separately in a fast-paced and engagingly-quirky approach, although neither of the two authors knew what the other was writing.

International Praise From Other People About This Book  

“Like most idle readers, I can’t resist being jump-started by a plot powered with characters at once extraordinary and believable. Let the Ironman and the Woman of Steel take you by the hands and lead you on a journey towards love at its strangest. On the way, be prepared for your companions to morph into Wuss and Puss, into the Broken People, into something near insanity. This is a vivid and unforgettable tale, and I hope you will conclude as I did that when it comes to creating a brilliant narrative, two hearts are better than one, like The Boss says.” 
Nick Kent , MD/CEO, Peter Owen Publishers, Saxmundham, UK

Nancy and PJ Learn French is an enlightening tale of how two people meant to be together can work their hardest “not to be together” but can’t stop the inevitable magnetism they have. It’s tough, hard and sad. But it also shows you how love happens when life gets in the way.”
Noah Segal, Co-President, Elevation Films, Toronto, Canada

Nancy & PJ Learn French shines a light on the unique, complex ways in which “we humans” navigate relationships and serves as a reminder that hope, love and honesty are vital. The candid thoughts and truths shared by both Nancy & PJ in their respective versions of their love story are refreshing and authentic. The back and forth, he said-she said storytelling method is captivating and works wonderfully. I laughed, I cried, and fell in love with their love story as I followed their rocky journey to finally choosing one another.”
Lacey Tu, Documentary Film Producer and IEFTA Board President, Monaco

“An engaging and punchy love story of crossed paths and crossed lines, of missed chances and miscommunication.” 
Sian Jones, English Language Consultant, Nice, France

“How long would you wait for the love of your life? A thoroughly modern love story. First love, lost love, forever love. The messes we make and the possibilities that open when we learn to finally love ourselves.” 
Rebecca McVeigh, Producer, Writer, Nice, France


Following a hiccup of a marriage in Canada, Nancy Heslin set out for a fresh start in the South of France in 2001. After turbulent life-challenges, she eventually entered the world of billionaires, as the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco. She became a naturalised French citizen and established herself as a media personality in the region, including: taking the TGV train with Tom Cruise to Marseille for People Magazine; and talking about women’s issues with Cherie Blair on Riviera Radio. A well-known figure in the world of ÖTILLÖ swimrun, Nancy also won the 2022 French Coastal Rowing Masters Championship title representing Monaco. Nancy and PJ Learn French is based on true accounts documented during twenty years of journal writing.

Photo: Ed Wright
Photo: Ed Wright

PJ Heslin’s career in academia was derailed by a need for a laugh. After graduate school in Montreal, he jumped into standup comedy with the hope of landing a role in the Saturday Night Live television show in New York. He ended up working in Los Angeles on red carpet events, including: the Oscars and Emmys for HBO; and interviewing the biggest names in music and film, from Mick Jagger to Tom Hanks. For years, he was a bouncer at a well-known music and comedy club, which is how he ended up in a Lincoln Town Car with Matthew McConaughey. He eventually made a sharp turn as the head of IT for various entertainment companies. Throughout it all, he competed in Ironman and ultra races and he is an avid cyclist.

Photo: Ed Wright

NANCY: Without my brother Dave and sister-in-law Nancy, my adventures in France and this story would simply not be. They unconditionally opened their home in Valbonne to me when life shattered in Canada. Matt, Diana and Brady welcomed me like a big sister and filled my lonely heart with a different kind of love

Thanks to Mike Meade at the Riviera Reporter who took a chance on me when I arrived in France some twenty years ago and gave me my first byline; to Amanda Sadlowski at Fodor’s Travel for the opportunity to develop as travel writer; to ÖTILLÖ’s Michael Lemmel for teaching me how to live outside my comfort zone and paving the way to sports writing; to Luiz F Costa Macambira of Forbes Monaco for having faith in me; and to Saïd, the ultimate storyteller.

A round of applause to our gifted editor Wendy Yorke for transforming me from a news writer to an author, my sincerest gratitude for this journey together.

To my family – a thousand splendid thank yous to my mom, whom I absolutely adore, for her love and for encouraging me every day to write this, and to Lynn and Chris. Sian Jones, Susan Feaster and Lacey Tu: your friendships outshine all the bling in Monaco.

I am appreciative for each moment and each person mentioned in this book for it all led me – enfin – to PJ. Everyone should have a PJ in their corner; I count my blessings that he wanted to learn French.

PJ: I would like to thank my family who were my first audience but were also supportive in any creative endeavour I undertook. In particular, I want to thank my sister Lisa. She was there on that pivotal weekend in England to run her first marathon when I decided that my entire life had to change. She supported me in that decision and months later drove with me from Los Angeles to Florida after my separation providing lots of laughs on the way as opposed to lots of tears.

I also want to thank my friend Noah, who in addition to being one of the best human beings I know, has also supported me in my creative endeavors by laughing at my dumb jokes and hiring me for one of my first writing jobs. Karen, my first manager; who took me on as a client and convinced me that I was funny enough and good enough as a comic to move to New York and to this day, still asks if she can submit me for something she sees “you’d be perfect for”. Also to Wendy whose editing and enthusiasm for this book was infectious.

Most of all – Nancy. In addition to being the love of my life, her drive and discipline are inspiring. She pushes me to swim that extra kilometer, run that little bit faster, write just one more page, punch up another funny line. Without her, this wouldn’t be a book, it’d just be stories we tell one another.

Nancy & PJ Finally Get Together
Nancy & PJ 1990

How many times have you chalked up a relationship ending to bad timing? For hosts Nancy and PJ Heslin, it took two marriage proposals, three countries and 20 years of fate kicking them in the butt before they were on the same page. If you are holding out for that certain someone, listen as couples share how they tried to make it work but ultimately the universe decided when they would finally get together.

Episode One: Nancy and PJ have different versions of how the 20 years leading up to their marriage went down. In this episode, they recount a few standout moments, starting with how they met at a six-week French immersion program in 1990.

Contact our Literary Agent, Wendy Yorke of WRITE. EDIT. PUBLISH, who is actively seeking the right publisher for Nancy and PJ Learn