My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This memoir is a charming story of American Samantha Verant falling in love with Jean-Luc, whom she met twenty years previously in Paris and whom she then tracked down thanks to the miracle of the internet to send him the link to a series of blog posts that she had written and a long overdue letter, with love ultimately developing between the two.
Half memoir, half cook book, Verant weaves a take of her first contacts with Jean-Luc, to their marriage and her relocating to south western France. Charmingly open and honest about all her experiences, both the good and the confusing, this story follows her life over the course of several years.
Taking its cue from the many books that have come before it, there is really very little innovative in this story. It is a stock standard book in which Francophiles can get swept away with wishing and dreaming for their own French prince and the perfect French fairy tale. Verant manages to make the people of France seem welcoming and open to her despite the many trip ups over pronunciation of the language which are often hilarious. She isn’t afraid to share her culture shock at moving to a culture so very different from her own and her rebellious spirit that dared to bring American culture to her staunchly French family.
Its impossible not to identify strongly with Verant as she shares both the joy of love and the heartbreak of infertility. She also gives a ringside seat to watching cross cultural step parenting up close and personal. She reveals the isolation an immigrant can feel in a new culture, as well as the excitement.
And is it possible that France doesn’t have bacon the way we do in North America? Her discussion of this reality makes me want to send a care package to France as soon as possible.