If a trip to France isn’t in your near future, transport yourself there by reading one of these terrific books!
The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah – Kate has qualified to take the elite Master of Wine Examination, and, in preparation, has decided to travel to Burgundy to visit her extended family’s centuries’ old home and vineyard so she can study and learn the intricacies of the Burgundy wine vintage. While doing research on the estate, she uncovers the possibility that there may have been family members who were part of the French Resistance during WWII, or were they Nazi collaborators? Why won’t anyone talk about this part of her family history?
Monsieur Mediocre by John von Sothen – After marrying a French woman, journalist von Sothen moved to Paris and wrote a memoir in the vein of the beloved Peter Mayle. Sothen’s love of France was passed on from his mother who had studied Art in Paris decades before. He speaks self deprecatingly of the problems his French language difficulties cause him with his children, their friends, parents, and shopkeepers when he hilariously uses the wrong syllables or intonations in seemingly innocent ways, making him appear to be a dirty old man. The slices of French life experienced through an expat’s eyes highlight the enormous differences between the US and France in many ways; our political climates, our healthcare and educational systems, our attitudes about global warming, and France’s easier acceptance of immigrants. A candid and entertaining account of life in France told from an outsider’s point of view.
The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr – At first glance, this well crafted woman’s fiction title may seem less than it is. While celebrating her birthday at a Chicago restaurant with her husband and their best friends, Sophie Bloom is unexpectedly presented with incontrovertible evidence that her surgeon husband has been outed on a local online list of married cheaters who used the Ashley Madison dating service. As she deals with her shock, she receives a call from her daughter who is studying in Paris and needs her mother to fly there immediately. Sophie rushes to her daughter’s side and is slowly enchanted by France while helping her daughter through some difficult situations and trying to figure out the future path of her own life. The sights, art world, history, architecture, sounds, food, and people beguile Sophie as they will the reader. Be prepared to fall in love with the Provence region and also to be surprised by the erotic journey that Sophie embarks on.
Let’s Eat France by Francois Regis-Gaudry – Pick a page, any page, and read bios of great French chefs, see beautifully described recipes, come upon guides to French bread, cheese, wine, dessert, and fill your senses with all things French. Named a Best Food Book of the Year by the New York Times. A gastronomic delight!
The French Girl by Lexie Elliott – There’s murder in a French farmhouse where 6 university friends are enjoying their holiday in this evocative psychological mystery, but that murder isn’t discovered for many years. The characters are well drawn and you may doubt your conclusion as to who may have caused a young girl’s death, but will you be satisfied with the ending?
The Seine: the river that made Paris by Ellen Sciolino – Travel the Seine in this much anticipated oral history by the New York Times French Foreign Correspondent as she digs deep, finding charming anecdotes about the Seine that only a journalist could uncover and weave together in such a total package. She follows the Seine from its mouth, through the countryside to Paris, stopping in small towns and villages bringing to life the history and importance of this body of water and the unforgettable people who depend on the river, as the author meanders with the reader on side trips to a Champagne vineyard and some other little known places. For another splendid book by Sciolino, I encourage you to enjoy The Only Street in Paris:life on the Rue de Martyrs and read my previous blog post: https://heightslibrary.org/joie-de-vivre-alive-and-well-on-paris-street/