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A book that captured me from the start, not just for bringing forth my own memories of falling in love in Paris but because of the sheer romance of the tale. The letters themselves were stunning and it was amazing to read of such a profound love.Loved the style of writing. Thank you Sam x
Samantha Verant’s publisher calls her book a memoir. In fact, it’s a modern day fairy tale: too improbable to be true, too heartwarming to be real. Here’s the nutshell synopsis:
Samantha is a 19-year-old college student who, with her best friend, takes off one summer for a whirlwind two-week adventure in Europe. At dinner on their last night in Paris, a pair of dashing Frenchmen saunter over to their table, treat them to a bottle of wine, capture their hearts, and escort them on a Paris-by-night—all night—grand tour. At day’s end, they race to the station, barely catch the train and take off for the French Riviera, Geneva, Florence, and Greece—Paris now a fond memory never to be forgotten.
But Jean-Luc has been smitten. He writes to Samantha . . . seven times. She doesn’t answer. Summer adventure over. Life goes on.
Twenty years later—20 years—Samantha’s marriage is crumbling. Her job peters out. She moves in with her parents, takes up dog-walking to earn a bit of cash.
She digs out Jean-Luc’s 20-year-old letters. Searches him out on the Internet. Writes to apologize for not answering him. He writes back. Soon, letters are flying back and forth. Then phone calls, sometimes two or three a day. He invites her to France. She goes. And yep, that 20-year-old spark bursts into a bonfire. Eventually they marry. She moves to France.
That, dear readers, is a fairy tale. But it’s also an improbable, lovely, heart-warming love story, and so well told.
Read Seven Letters because it’s so impossibly true, but read it also to delight in a story told with humor, honesty, and not a bit of self-pity. The characters are charming. Like the story itself, you’ll never forget Jean-Luc or Samantha Verant.
Love this book! One thing I loved about this book in addition to the storyline is Samantha's wonderful sense of humor. She has a wonderful way of telling her story and sharing it with all of us. It took a lot of courage for her to take that leap of faith when she first contacted Jean-Luc after so many years have gone by and she had failed to answer his first beautiful seven letters
I have a male French pen pal from the time I was 17 which continued until I was in my 40s. It ended when I married an American man. 25 years past that point I am still in contact with his family in Bretagne. We had planned to marry when we were in our 20s but I did not have Samantha's courage. My Frenchman was always in my heart and still is however he and my American husband died within six months of each other when they were both still very young.
One sentence summary: When her marriage and job derail as she approaches 40, Sam seeks out the Frenchman who wrote her seven love letters twenty years before.
Charming is the word that comes to mind first when I think of Samantha Verant’s book Seven letters from Paris. I devoured this book over a weekend car trip with my family to Vermont. First, it’s a well written and laugh out loud funny memoir. Samantha infuses the entire text with humor and a light spirit.
But while humor is a big part of this memoir, the heart of the story is self-discovery and romance. Now, romance is something that generally I’m not too keen on. Wait—hang with me for a minute. Let me explain. I think “romance” as sold in America is usually anything but TRULY romantic. It seems to me that American culture glorifies these sort of over-the-top gestures as the pinnacle of “romance”. (I blame reality television). Think of the elaborate steps many people take to propose marriage in America. Sky-writing! Questions posed in front of hundreds of thousands of people on the jumbotron! Flash mobs!
To me, that is the very opposite of romance. Those kinds of gestures seem very American to me—all flash and show, without a lot of substance.
But this… this my friends is true romance. That it also happens to appear in the form of a handsome Frenchman is perhaps not a coincidence. It’s vulnerability. It’s passion. It’s taking a chance on someone. It’s trusting yourself when you’re scared. In a nutshell: it’s delightful.
I could not put this book down. You know when you find one of those mesmerizing books that you love so much that you can't stop reading it but at the same time you don't want it to end so you try to slow down? You know you are going to miss spending time with the people in the book so you try to savor it and make it last long? Well, this was one of those books for me. The author is funny, self-deprecating and adventurous. Even though I cheated and looked her up on the internet because I had to know what happened so I basically knew how it ended, it was still a page turner - mostly because of the fun way Samantha writes. I would love to meet her some time and have a glass of champagne together and toast our adventurous selves that led us to love and life in Europe!
The feeling I was left with was that the book and the author left the message that it is OK, and even sometimes a good idea, to break out of your comfort zone and take the fork in the road that will lead you to unpredictable adventures and a magical life!
Why do we keep old letters? And especially from someone we met only briefly just as we were leaving Paris?? Perhaps because they were so wishfully romantic? Would you take a chance and on a whim to answer a 20-year old letter and while married although unhappily? Does the writer still exist? Can the writer be found these long years past? Well Sam did just that and the result is a delightful love story that warms the heart and sets my memories churning. Would I? Could I dare? No, its beyond the realm of possibilities. But I thank her for sharing their love story even though the different ages, cultures, and really long distance (she in California and he in France) could so easily doomed the outcome. Small wonder we think of Frenchmen as romantics and American gals as adventurous!