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The worst thing of, "Seven Letters From Paris," is that it ended! I was desperate to know more, and luckily, "How to Make a French Family," picks up where "Seven Letters" left off. I agree with the other reviews say this book works as a standalone book, but I really do think it's a great companion and follow up to the first, so if you haven't bought "Seven Letters" yet, get to it!
I love Samantha's writing style - the paragraphs and pages flow so effortlessly. It's wonderfully charming, bittersweet, and oh so funny! If you don't find yourself laughing out loud on multiple occasions, I think you should go see a doctor. Though definitely not a French one.
Of course I did having gone through almost identical emotions from my emigration to France with no family there for support and only two girlfriends who invested I got there decided our friendships were a done thing so I progressed on my own with one girlfriend who was older and wiser whom I’d known before from a meeting in the south western part of France many years before at a wedding we’d all attended and to this day are still my friends
Admit it, I love memoirs. I especially love stories about settling in a new country. If it's France, even better and if there's romance involved then that's a perfect recipe for me. However this book adds a splash of potential step-mother issues, several ounces of foreign country blues, a small, sad measure of loss and grief, some heaped spoons of new friendships and a generous cup of family love. Yes it's a book on how to make a French family, but the delightful bonus is that the author is more than generous with her inclusion of some of her delicious recipes. I loved every page!
Loved every minute of this memoir. Definitely going to find more of her other works. Samantha's frustrations with the language and the culture and her linguistic faux pas were related with sensitivity and humour and made this book so much more that a love story.
A charming and heartwarming read about love - romantic love, familial love, love of place and a definite love of food! Beautifully written in such an upbeat way, full of wonderful descriptions of the stunning French countryside and amazing food, recipes included..... it transports the reader to Southern France and makes you fall in love all over again.... simply wonderful!
I just finished reading Samantha Vérant’s “How to Make a French Family” and enjoyed it even more than I did her first book, “Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir.” She is an excellent writer and shares her experiences with humor and with insight. The warmth of her personality comes through even better in this sequel, and her descriptions of her new life in France with her French husband and his two children are fascinating; they answered the questions I had been left with after closing the covers of her first book. Vérant is frank in her discussions of the major adjustments she had to make: new husband, new adolescent children, new country, and a new language. Although she had taken French in school many years prior, it didn’t prepare her for the challenges of speaking it every day in all of her interactions with friends, neighbors, tradespeople, and new family members. Her learning curve was steep, but she persevered and won through.
Equally the cultural differences were a hurdle, and for a while she felt isolated despite the support of her children and her husband. The turning point happened when she reached out and developed a small group of fellow expats, several of whom also had French spouses. Together they were able to compare experiences and to recognize that what they were feeling was totally normal, and to move forward with each other’s help.
I very much admired Vérant’s ability to cope, to see situations from all angles, to reach out to her step-children and empathize with them, and to rise to the challenges she faced as she came to feel fully comfortable and at home with her new family.
Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Beautiful, heartwarming story that shows both sides of the coin: Samantha had a second chance at life and love when she reconnected with sexy man extraordinaire (and rocket scientist to boot!) Jean Luc, 20 years after first meeting him in Paris when she was a college student in the late 1980's. Most romance stories are wrapped up with an "And they lived happily ever after" ending, which, although mostly satisfying, can also feel very incomplete.
In How To Make a French Family, Samantha tells us about her trials and tribulations as she dealt with culture shock when she moved from Los Angeles to rural France; the frustrations that came with having to learn a new language, dealing with immigration paperwork, being so far away from her family, becoming an instant stepmother (including to a moody teenager), making new friends on the other side of the world, and dealing with heartbreak within the confines of an otherwise happy life (spoiler alert: she had several miscarriages. And I'm not stating so here to ruin the story for you; but because it has happened to many women who might find solace and comfort reading about somebody else who've also experienced it).
The road to happiness is seldom a straight line. Sam shows us how she took each sudden turn and rocky patch with grace; and how, even when things got tough, being surrounded by love made everything better.
With this book, you will laugh out loud, you will cry, you will learn about southwestern France, and you will get a long list of amazing recipes. I highly recommend this book to any francophile, or to anyone who loves chick lit or memoirs; and definitely to anyone who loves to cook fancy dishes.
I was sent an ARC by Net Galley in advance of Samantha Vérant's new memoir launch in April 2017.
Loved this so much I bought my own copy. It's beautifully honest and makes you want to track down the author and give her a big hug. Samantha Vérant's first memoir, SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS left us feeling a teensy bit envious of her new-found love in France with the guy of her dreams... well the dream gets real real quick in this sequel. Yet it is a story chock full of warmth, humor, love, light as well as some extremely sad moments... and I didn't want it to end. It brought me to tears yet left me with tons of delicious-sounding recipes. There were family parties and some family devastation... and a lot of fleas.
A wonderful gift of a book that is both life-affirming and down-to-earth.
Please keep writing what is in your heart because it's as bitter-yet-sweet as cherry clafoutis and as warming as boeuf bourguignon.
I read Samantha's first book and truly loved it. It was fun and often funny, very uplifting and inspiring. At times, I felt like I was reading the letters of a good friend, the writing was that personal. But this second book is stunning. Samantha has revealed to her readers even more of not only herself, but also her struggles in adjusting to life in a new country with an instant family and learning the language. There were times that my eyes filled with tears (no spoilers from me though!) for them. The book was great, I didn't want it to end. Now we just have to wait for the next installment!