Tuesday 10 July 2012

Book review : French Lessons - Ellen Sussman

*** The French Lessons blog tour is stopping by at The Madhouse today. Check out the list of other participating blogs at the end of this review. ***

Paris represents a lot of things to different people, especially from foreign countries. It is the City of Lights, the city of culture with its world-famous museums and monuments, the city of luxurious shopping and haute couture, a city of romantic getaways but also sleazy debauchery, with Pigalle, the Moulin Rouge and secret lovers' trysts in seedy Parisian hotels ...

For each of the characters in French Lessons, it represents something completely different. For young school teacher Josie, nursing a broken heart, it represents what could have been. For lonely ex-pat housewife Riley, it's a soul-destroying emotional wasteland that imprisons her. And for Jeremy, discreet husband to a famous actress, it is a window into the other worldly life of his wife, as well as a way to exist in his own right, rather than constantly fading into the background unnoticed.

The three Americans all sign up for one-to-one French lessons with a young French tutor. Josie is teamed with Nico, a sensitive poet, Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt, and Jeremy with the beautiful Chantal. As the tutors lead their charges around Paris, the city works its magic, leading them to passion and intimacy, adventure and self-discovery. They all learn as much about themselves as they do the French language, and the tutors - themselves embroiled in a very French ménage-à-trois situation - end up learning just as much as the students.

It's chicklit with a harder edge, a more fiery passion and a greater insight into the characters' psyches. Although it would be a great poolside read for the summer, the story will also stay with you long after you have turned the final page and still keep thinking about the characters' predicaments and what they learned about each other.

The film rights have been sold and, if it is treated with sensitivity and emotional depth, I can see this being a really powerful adaptation.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £6.99

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Canvas (5 July 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1780333846
ISBN-13: 978-1780333847

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds fantastic! Must add to my Goodreads list.


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