Thursday, May 26, 2011

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

French Lessons
Author: Ellen Sussman
Publisher: Random House
Expected Publication: July 12, 2011
Hardcover: 256 pages
Source: won from

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world. 

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

My Thoughts: This was a delightful book (yes, I realize I sound 80 when I say delightful), but that's what this book is. It was a nice, easy read through Paris. The premise of the book is that you follow three French tutors with their students. You then experience Paris through the eyes of the students while learning about their personal histories. All of them have come to Paris for different reasons, one to get over heartbreak, another an expat, and another their with his wife, a famous movie star. Being able to experience Paris through these three different characters was great because it's not always that picturesque city that we think of in movies and TV shows. Ellen Sussman does a great job of bringing you into the story, taking you to the streets of Paris with the characters, having you dine with them at the cafes, and experiencing all that a city like Paris has to offer.

If I have one complaint about the book, it would be this: there was just a bit too much sex (once again, I realize that I sound like an 80 year old). It was just too coincidental that all of these characters could be hooking up with one another, having such great sex. I understand that it's the City of Love, but really? I just found that too be a bit too unrealisitic. Overall though, this was a great summertime book and definitely got me back into the swing of reading. I read it in two days, not because it was incredibly riveting, but because it was just so charming. I really did feel like I was in Paris. If you aren't taking a vacation this summer, then check out this book. It's like taking a trip to Paris without all the expense.

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